Tim, Alex and Paddy start their journey to Rome
Tim, Alex and Paddy head from Nice to Rome
Day 1 - Nice, France to Imperia, Italy
Following a technical issue at Gatwick and biblical weather in the Channel Islands, Tim arrived in London just in time to see the plane to Nice that he should have been on depart. After a trip to Heathrow and an overnight stay, he eventually made it to Nice, 5 hours after the intended start time for the cycle.
However, the first day was always intended to be a lesser distance than the others, primarily because of the number of hills and the fact that we sought to avoid any major incidents or injury on the first day. This was good planning, as Alex’s bike required a new inner tube just 10 minutes into the cycle before we had even left le Promenade d’Anglais, the main strip along the sea front in Nice. After a quick fix of Alex’s bike we were scaling the heights of the Corniche Moyenne and making our way across to Monaco. It was a quick cycle through Monaco and on to Menton, where we stopped for a bite to eat and a rest. From there, we pushed ourselves and headed through to Ventamelia on the Italian side of the border and then onto Imperia. Once in Imperia, it was rapidly getting dark and we required the assistance of a very friendly Italian man to guide us to our hotel. Tim had evidently decided that we required one last push before we rested for the evening, as the hotel was atop the steepest climb we had done all day. We arrived in total darkness, grateful for the car lights of the local. We ate (a lot) and hit the hay.
Approximate distance covered: 80km
Day 2 – Imperia to Arenzano
The day saw us eat as much food for breakfast as we could manage. After that, in preparation for the cycle ahead, we took advantage of the hotel’s sporting facilities and played some football on their five a side court. A great way to warm up. The rain began to fall just as we departed the hotel, which made for a slower than normal start through the town of Imperia and along the marina to the coastal roads.
The rain fell for several hours as we passed through the towns of Maria di Andorra and Alassio. Eventually, the rain ceased when we hit the coastal town of Albenga and the sunshine beamed down for the afternoon’s cycling. After having lunch in Albenga (having again been assisted by very helpful Italian cyclists who directed us into the town – and importantly, away from the motorway!) we set of on relatively flat roads in the direction of Arenzano. This was an extremely welcome cycle following the steep climbs that we had endured since we had started the day before. The surrounding mountains made for a very scenic ride until we reached more coastal roads and more hills. As tough as these hills were, it was fantastic to ride along the sea front with such great views. The rain began to fall again about an hour before we hit Arenzano, when our legs and lungs were very much tiring. We made it to the hotel at around 9:30pm as the sun was setting, extremely tired and very hungry. We enjoyed a very large meal in the tiny town of Arenzano before having perhaps the heaviest sleep of our lives.
Approximate distance covered: 130km (having cycled around 15km in the wrong direction)
Day 3 – Arenzano to Sestri Levante
When the alarm went off at 6:30am we didn’t exactly jump out of bed. But we made our way silently to breakfast, where the food and a quick dip in the pool brought us back to our senses. We set off on the roads in moderate weather towards Genoa. Unfortunately, Paddy’s bike was experiencing some issues and we knew we would have to stop in Genoa to have the wheel checked. Whilst the Italians enjoyed their afternoon siesta, we sat frustrated waiting for the local bike shops to open at 4pm – this didn’t happen. We therefore took the decision to continue on with Paddy’s fragile bike and to stop closer to sun down in order to make up some lost mileage. We stopped in the town of Sestri Levante where, thankfully, the local bike shop was open to business. The gentleman was kind enough to keep his doors open for business until 8pm, which wasn’t hugely surprising since Paddy’s bike required a new wheel – which became two new wheels when the owner insisted that he couldn’t sell wheels individually! Disheartened and out of pocket, we stayed the night in Sestri Levante. Sestri Levante is a fairly vibrant coastal town, and we enjoyed a great meal of seafood before bed…