Picos Original Riders

Picos Original Riders
Highlights of 2010

Last of the Picos Riders - to Rome Alone!

Our first two charity rides were a huge success - raising over £20,000 for the South East Cancer Help Centre.

The Centre does a fantastic job of supporting patients and carers at the most difficult times of their lives. They make a real difference and you could help them in their work by contributing to our fundraising. Donations can be made via JustGiving.comhttps://www.justgiving.com/Tom-Vaz/ or directly into the Centre. For more details of the Centre and their work see their website at http://www.sechc.org.uk/

After 3 years of rest it seemed time to dust off the old muscles, bones and sinews and do one more spectacular ride in aid of this fabulous charity.

This time I will travel alone for 25 days, mainly following the ancient pilgrimage route to Rome, the Via Francigene, covering a distance of around 1,400 miles.

The route travels through Newhaven - Dieppe - Paris before I eventually reach the Via Francigene in Eastern France. From then on it is pretty simple apart from having to cross the Alps without an elephant!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Day 21 Santa Maria del Giuduce to San Gimignano

What an amazing end to a ride. San Gimignano is full of tourists but what a beautiful location. I have pedalled 1100 miles in the last 3 weeks and as I sit here smugly enjoying the amazing view of Tuscany and a cold Coke I think the last 5 miles was well worth it!

The short ride to Lucca was over pretty quickly and I was up and cycling around on the top of the Roman city wall in no time. Such a good place to pedal around with great views into the old city but very busy. It might be my eyes but all Italian towers appear to be leaning now!

Likewise the narrow lanes in town were heaving with tourists so I headed out of town and made my way along the SP3 towards Chianti country. This was also busy but at least no lorries as they seem to stay away on Sundays. Eventually at Fuchecchio I was on the quieter SR429 and could accelerate up to cruising speed of 15 mph and enjoy the countryside going by.

This was as near as I could get to tea and scone at Castelfiorentino. Cappuccino and some sort of pastry stuffed with creme. Very nice and kept me going until lunch in a very basic Pizza Restaurant where pizza was off the menu but I could get rabbit, pig, cow, sheep etc roasted in the wood oven. Luckily spaghetti pomodoro was available for the non-meat eater or else I could have been in for a couple of hours of starvation.

I'm not sure how this lady cycled with a cello on her back but I cannot imagine that it would be good for the cello!

At Certaldo I had a choice between a gentle climbing route or one with a 5 mile zigzag to San Gimignano. I of course took the zigzag - what cyclist wouldn't? This initially took me past a stunning view of Certaldo which has a fairy tale looking palace overlooking it. I wasted 20 minutes trying to find a good place to take a photo with my phone camera but no chance really.

Anyway the curly route was well and truly worthwhile because I was presented with view after view of classical Tuscany - olive trees, vineyards and blue skies. The blue skies came with a price as temperatures hit 35C.

Eventually the fortress town of San Gimignano came into view and the dreamy spires and crenellated towers completed the picture for me. With this view from my balcony a good day became a great one!
61 miles today.

1 comment:

  1. What stunning sceneries Tom! Those views must make all your efforts worth it. Enjoy & make the most of it while you're there....