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!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Day 22 San Gimignano to Siena

Ah fabulous Siena, beautiful, bustling and full of bloody tourists shouting in the streets and getting in the way of the photographs that I'm taking in order to bore the pants off of the few friends I have left (and you of course if you haven't already found a better story on Facebook).

I left my comfy bed in San Gimignano with great reluctance this morning and after a decent breakfast I got on the bike and wandered into town to see what all the fuss is about.

San Gimignano is lost in the medieval past and the narrow streets and tall buildings make you want to duck everytime a window opens in anticipation of a chamberpot emptying on your head.

Fortunately the plumbing is modern and so are the prices so of course, being a cheap skate, I hopped it.

A short trip to Siena a mere 29 miles across scenic country, grapes, olives, churches, castles you get the picture. Unfortunately the road went up to the gates of the castles instead of giving them a wide berth. It meant that a normally lazy person had no choice but to go up every hill in the way to Siena.

Nice going down of course but then another castle loomed and the pedalling became more frantic as I muttered, "I've seen enough bloody castles today!".

Of course Siena is on top of a hill, in fact I mean several hills. But what an amazing city!  Walls, towers, arches, narrow alleyways, basilicas, ancient university, stunning dome and cathedral in fact everything you could imagine for a fascinating historical city, plus of course billions of tourists!

The city is big enough for the tourists to be part of the scenery and boy is there something to admire and photograph around every corner.

I wished that I had brought the Nikon with me today - then remembering all the hills maybe not!


  1. Such a beautiful part of the world. Even your camera phone shows just how special it is. But it does seem to me a shame you are racing through it, and all on your ownio! Mind the mad Italian drivers, and keep the blogging going! Bev

  2. Bev it is so hot here that I couldn't imagine hanging around! You're right though, this whole area is very special and even more do if you have air conditioning!