The Lake District: Valbrona to Franciacorta

Holy Saturday brought clouds and afternoon thundershowers. Marieke’s sons, Emauele and Olmo, went out during the day, but basically, we all worked indoors. I read and wrote; my hostess did chores and read. It felt good to rest, and to turn in early. Continue reading

The Adda River: Piacenza to Valbrona

On Tuesday morning, I set out for Pavia, but when I crossed the Po leaving Piacenza, I changed my mind and decided to head for the Adda River and get on with my trip. The knee still hurt, but I studied my leg movement, and determined that the fit on my new pedals was wrong. I stopped just over the river, and adjusted the cleat so that my right foot could point outward more naturally. That seemed to make a big difference, so that I was able to ride back along the left bank of the Po (opposite the side I rode from Cremona) to the confluence of the Adda River. Continue reading

The Po River: Cremona and Piacenza

Palm Sunday morning, the sun bathed my shoulders as I walked to the high spots of downtown Cremona. The town was smaller than I expected from the night before; before long, I was several blocks past the Violin Museum run by the Stradivari Foundation, and doubling back. The air felt fresh, and traffic was almost non-existent. Continue reading

The Po River: Bologna to Cremona

Friday dawned sunny and cool, but warmed as I rode the Piana Padana to Modena and then to the little town of Rolo near the Po River. I wore my short-sleeved Camino de Santiago pilgrim’s bicycle jersey, but long pants. My hosts would not be home until 18:30, so I had time to stop in Modena at the Enzo Ferrari Museum, a modern complex built around the famous car designer’s birthplace. Continue reading

Books, Books, and More Books!

On Saturday, April Fool’s Day, I shut off the water, closed the gas bottle under the sink, opened the main power to the flat, and locked the door. After dropping the key in the mailbox, I rode to World Bike Formia for a final farewell to Vincenzo and Benedetta, and to pick up the WBF cap that they had waiting for me. Then I stopped by Tempo Prezioso for another quick farewell. River Run 2017 was about to begin.  Continue reading

Shall we ride by the rivers?

With travel still restricted, the Freewheeling Freelancer is riding in circles around the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, ready to take you on another tour. While we wait for borders to open up for Americans, I propose to take you back three years to the tour I called River Run 2017. It features a ride along the great rivers of Europe, and certainly qualifies as armchair travel for a pandemic. 

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The Tour de France: recalling the Pyrénées

Photo: The Guardian

Last week, I enjoyed watching the Tour de France race through the countryside that Cheryl and I rode in the summer of 2017. On some stages, the helicopter photos of the mountains upstaged the drama on the road. Some of you joined this blog less than two years ago, and others have asked for more travelogue. This week, I revisit that ride with you. Enjoy! Continue reading

River Run 2017: a Nice ending

On Sunday the 8th  of October, we took the bus from Cannes to Grasse. We walked around the historic center of this perfume-making town and visited the International Perfumery Museum, as well as the Fragonard Museum. Continue reading

Two weeks in Provence

On Thursday, the 29th of September, we rode up the Rhône on the right bank and crossed into the wine country of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the most famous labels in French enology. It was one of the initial ten appellations authorized when the AOC rules were first established in 1923, ending centuries of confusion, fraud, and abuse. The story makes for interesting reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teauneuf-du-Pape_AOC. Continue reading

Castles and vineyards: from the Garonne to the Rhône.

Chasselas festival at Moissac

On Sunday, the 17th of September, we watched the rain slide off the windows of the train as we sped west towards Bordeaux. Whilst the train carried us more or less down the Garonne River, the rain stopped, though the clouds remained. We spent the night in the HI Hostel near the Gare Saint-Jean in Bordeaux. Continue reading