Riding Along

Pisa Travel Blog

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My last post covered one of my favorite ride/runs that my buddy and I found in Tuscany.   A lot of the time our trips out of town did incorporate both running and riding and I’ll definitely share more of those routes later.  Today I want to share some of the rides that constituted our main bike days, the days we ran in town, and the days we just needed to spin.  I’m not implying that the rides are low quality in any way; they are all beautiful and fun, or beautiful and challenging.

Ride 1:  It took Josh and me awhile to find any ride around Florence that we considered “flat”.  Primarily, this was because we did all of our riding north, south, and east of Florence.  We avoided riding directly to the west because we assumed (correctly) that the area between us and the Mediterranean was urban and overdeveloped.

   In a feat of desperation, for flat riding, we decided to try to ride dead west.  We knew that this would be flat, downhill all the way to the sea in fact!

I have always wanted to see Pisa anyway.  My little French grandmother kept a postcard of the Leaning Tower under glass on a desk where I always did my homework when I was at her house as a child.  Being a first rate procrastinator I spent full days, for years, staring at the card.  I didn’t know where this thing was or who built it, I couldn’t even guarantee it was real.  I didn’t care; it wasn’t homework, and thus it was infinitely more interesting.

Collectively we decided that a downhill ride from Florence to Pisa would make for a good recovery ride.  We were right.  The way we got there was to ride north of the Arno to Signa (cool little town) ��" cross over the river to Lastra a Signa.

  Ride south of the river to Montelupo  - cross back over the river so that you end up on the north side.  Go through Empoli, Fucecchio, Castelfranco di Sotto, Cascina, Campo, and Mezzana.  The next town you hit is Pisa.  Part of this route follows the ‘06 Giro route, cool.

The way we would get home is to shell out 6 Euros and ride the regional train (they allow bikes) back to Florence.  No need to climb home!  The ride ends up being about 60 miles.  You do end up riding through a lot of urban areas.  I don’t remember it being that bad and I’m pretty sensitive to stressful riding.

When I first saw the Tower face to face is was surreal.  I stood there staring at it realizing that I had every brick, doorway, and level memorized.  It was like I created this thing in a dream and someone built it for me.  I couldn’t stop smiling; deep inside myself I thought it would be a disappointment when I finally got to see it.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I thought of my grandmother (she passed away a few years before this trip), her house, and that postcard as I stood there for the first time.

postaltiburon says:
Very interesting - you make your blogs fun to read. I'll be in Pisa in two months, and I like to read others' perspectives on where I'm going.
Posted on: Jan 24, 2008
scubagirl76 says:
very cool blog!
Posted on: Nov 29, 2007
rotorhead85 says:
Nice blog, great writing style! My seeds for travel were planted young too by small souvenirs in an uncles trunk. Contents long gone, I have the trunk.
Posted on: Nov 23, 2007
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159 km (99 miles) traveled
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photo by: asturjimmy