Monday, 4 October 2010
Toolkit and spares
-Eurohike multi tool
-Spare brake cable
-4 sets of M5 bolts, washers, and nuts.
-1 spare inner-tube (we took four, and never used one of them)
-Puncture repair kit
-Screwdriver (if not attached to penknife or multitool)
Bikes and attachments
-Bikes- cycling similar models, and same diameter tyres, minimizes repairs equipment you need in the group.
-Drinks holders x2 per bike
-Rear rack. We were advised to minimize our packing to what can fit on a rear rack. This is great advice… Be brutal with restrictions, as extra weight is costly.
-Panniers (either connected with 3rd compartment, or separate)
-Map bag (that hangs off handle bars) [ours was made by mum, and was excellent for easy referencing]
-Compass- you’ll need it LOTS. Ours hung off the break cables for easy reference. -Suitable handlebars, well-taped for padding. You need at least three obvious different hand positions, or you’ll get tendonitis. Standard cross bars are no good! (Butterfly handlebars are a simple solution to fitting variable position handlebars onto your bike without replacing v-brakes. See Anna’s bike…)
-Tent (Vango banshee 200/300)
-sleeping mat x3
-Sleeping bags (£25 Quecha 680g) [great though could have done with a sleeping bag liner to use on hot nights.]
Cooking and toiletries
-Saucepan x1 with lid
-Washing powder for clothes
-Trek towels- we were going to go without towels, but small, quick-drying towels are a good solution. -Cigarette lighter
-Fold up stove frame. Twigs, and cardboard packaging boxes used for fuel.
-Cycling gloves- essential.
-Socks x3 pairs
-Cycling shorts x2 (divided opinion as to which is best, padded or unpadded. Fear not; after day 2, saddle pain really isn’t an issue!)
-Sunglasses (essential for blocking sun, wind, and flies, and for looking pro…)
-Yellow cycling jersey, and one other
-Jogging bottoms/leggings for evening
-Mary’s meals shirt- turned out to be too hot to cycle in, so became our Sunday mass gear!
-Old trainers for on bike. Hard soled, proper bike shoes would be good if you’ve got the budget.
-Flip flops for off bike
-Camera and batteries
-Paper copy of address list and useful telephone numbers
-Pilgrim passports. Got these stamped in places along the way. Obtainable from www.pilgrimstorome.org.uk
-USB SD card reader-uploading photos to blog
-Phone per person. With charger
-Clothes pegs (pegging wet washing to bikes every day whilst on the road looked ridiculous, but dried everything.)
-Phrase book. We definitely could have done with an Italian dictionary though
-Travel insurance details
-Flight home details
-Shorter morning and evening prayer book
-Cycling computer (Sigma) (for recording mileage etc)
-Plastic carrier bags/sandwich bags for putting sleeping bags, essential papers etc that need to stay dry
First aid and medical
-Antihistamines- sedating and non-sedating. For hay fever and mosquito overload, and getting some sleep in dire campsites...
-Sports re-hydration tablets
-Cocodamol (for more heavy duty!)
-Penicillin, loperamide and doperidone- took these but didn’t need them.
-Sunscreen factor 30+ (sports sunscreen- creamy ones just melt off everywhere.)
Road cycling confidence- being tired blurs your judgement!
Good sense of humour
Will power- be prepared for the daily grind…
Friday, 13 August 2010
Friday, 6 August 2010
Our lovely neighbour and fellow parishoner Julia Jones bought round some champagne to celebrate.
Friday, 30 July 2010
We can thoroughly recommend BA. They let us check in bikes as standard baggage, the bikes survived in more or less the same state, and gave us second rounds of sandwiches on Greg's request. In fact, we approved so much we gave them a round of applause on touchdown. After a lukewarm start, the rest of the passengers agreed with us.
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
We also all now have a set of NORMAL CLOTHES each, and are avoiding lycra at all costs.
This morning, we had a TV interview and footage session... yeah, that's right :-) The Rome Report turned up with cameras, we donned our gear, and did some slow cycling for the cameras. Bit of an experience! We're not naturals, had a view interview disasters. We think/hope they edit nicely.
Last night, we closed our pilgrim part of the trip with our very own Via Romea Awards Ceremony. Here are the results:
Best bike: Joe says Joe's (Bertie), Greg says Greg's (Bettie), and Anna says Anna's (Brutus)... no joking she's not that deluded. Anna really says Bettie.
Worst bike: Brutus. Anna points out though that whilst everything else broke, the tyres were invincible.
Best bit of kit: Draw between the tent and our folding campfire.
Worst bit of kit: The empty 300 ml single cream pot we carried the entire way. Or the phrasebook.
Best country: Joe= France. Greg= Switzerland. Anna= Italy.
Favourite day of trip: Day 12, Bourg St Pierre to Quincinetto, over the Alps take two.
Toughest day's cycle: Aigle to Bourg St Pierre.
The Dire Straights Day Award: Day 7, from Froncles to the middle of nowhere, rough camping, with just the oreos and crisps.
Favourite church award, St Peter's and Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, excluded: Chiesa S. Maria del Carmine, Pavia.
Best city, Rome excluded: Pavia and Lucca, straight draw.
Best drink: shoot out between cold water, cold milk, and coke.
Best food: Pasta with any sauce, followed by peaches
Best swimming: Bolsena lake
Best view: draw between Montreux and the Swiss-Italian border mountainous region.
Best downhill: from top of Gd St Bernard Pass to Aosta, down the Alps
And the others....
Machine man of trip: Joe
Machine woman of trip: Anna by default.
Entertainment Jukebox of Trip Award: Greg... by default.
Best driver: Anna. Yep.
Worst driver; Joe. Unbelievably, his repeated minor collisions means he overtook Greg and the mash crash in a photo finish.
Yellow Jersey Award: Joe. He wore his for all but 2 hours of biking.
Mr Map award: Joe
Early Bird Award: joint between Anna and Joe... or, everyone but Greg.
Sleeping Beauty Award: Greg.
Pro Cyclist Nation Award: Italy. They had all the gear.
Most Frustrating Continental Habit: The Siesta. Please, it's lunchtime. Someone sell some food...
Epic Language Fail Award: When Anna stood on an Italian's foot and said 'Prego'.
Via Romea Gold Star Award: Electrical tape. You could build a bike from it we think... we nearly did.
That's all, folks. The award winners would like to thank their family, friends, sponsors, pets and paniers. They also want world peace.
Below- Gatorade. a funny European version of Lucozade. This picture is dedicated to for Dom Roche Saunders and Phil Wheelan :-)
The polizia didn't like this.
This is us just after arriving in St Peter's. If you haven's guessed, these pictures aren't in order at all- bit of an internet cafe disaster. Behind us are 2 people, Americans from Texas. There's five of them, a family with a friend, and we've managed to bump into them every day in Rome so far. Small place!
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
We arrived in St Peter's Square on Saturday evening, 6.45pm. The trip took 20 days in total, 19 if you take off our detour round Piacenza hospital!
Some trip stats:
Total distance- 1320.52 miles... about 2113 kilometers
Total time on bike- 106 hours 22 mins... that's 4 and a half days!
Average speed- 12.41 mph
Max speed: 43.35 mph
Punctures- 2 (and a half...) all Joe's bike!
Thanks for all the support, sponsorship and prayers. They really have kept us going. We're all really enjoying our time in Rome, and shall keep you all in our prayers here. We've done tons of sightseeing, Rome is so beautiful! We'll put the pictures up soon.
Love to everyone! 2 days till England... we hear it's raining! Can't wait :-)
Anna, Joe and Greg
Saturday, 24 July 2010
they say that the klast few days have been a push andit has been very hot and hilly. they met some lovely dutch people who were also cycling to Rome. if you are reading this Joesph and Anna say "dont take the train keep going"
Two nights ago they met some lovely people in Palia who allowed them to camp in their garden overnight due the lack of campsites in Italy.
My plans for the final strait are to get the train to Rome Termini and cycle the two - three miles tothe vactican which goes past the colliseum along past the big ruins of Rome across the tiber and up the road to Saint peters. Icouldnt ask for a grander entrance!
Friday, 23 July 2010
Mass and Benediction are beautiful partly due to the discreete organ playing but also because of the beautiful surroundings!!
The Church is incredible with many side altars and side chapels there is also the tomb of Sandro Botticelli and the tomb of a person who I was told found america although I didnt find his name. the Church is huge and is decroated all over with paintings if not marble, and at the high altar the you will find that the crucifix is larger than life scale.
Other than that I find that religious life is very contemplative and thoughtful with many jokes at the dinner table thanks to Br G!
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
We've on the home straight into Rome now- Lucca to Rome is 400km, the minimum distance a pilgrim can cycle to be recognised by an office in Rome somewhere as having travelled the Via Francigena. We're hoping to get halfway between Lucca and Siena tonight, and hopefully still make it in the 20 days, our hospital experience included. A night on the ward was definitely the best and cheapest accommodation so far, but I wouldn't recommend it as a solution to all your travelling needs.
Can't believe we haven't witnessed a major Italian road accident yet. Got weaved round twice and cut up on a single roundabout today, unbelievable. Mysetry hills we hadn't spotted on the map keep cropping up in the hottest part of the day, but the views make it worth it.
'Dove vai?' the Italians say, and we say 'Roma'. It's starting to sound a lot more convincing than when we said the same thing in Canterbury.
Last night they stayed at a cool campsite but say that they are missing the hospital Bed and Breakfast service. Concerning food they are now bored of bread and have moved onto pasta (when we rearanged the baggaage I handed over the kilogram bag of pasta that I had been carrying for two days!)
Anna and Joseph say "Thankyou for the support, there are Via Fracigena sign posts everywhere and we have seen a few walkers"
lots of love and prayers
Anna, Joe and Greg!
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
It is withgreat sadness and pain that i tell you i cannot cycle for 7-10 days you may have guessed the reason why from the title but to make it crystal clear on day 14, I Gregory colided with a lamp post 30 miles from Pavia and 20 miles from Piacenza. Now i was quite clever and managed hit a lamp post very nearby an amazingly hospitable family who insantly drove around the corner when they heard a big "kerlangalang" (as the Italian lady put it!) they called the ambulance and the ambulance came very quickly and started to examine me. I being in alot of pain started to make various jokes and making Anna laugh. The ambulance men took me out to a strecher and got me into the ambulance put a drip in and took some blood.
Joseph said "be nice to the nurses"
to whitch I replied "hello darling"
Very soon I was on my way to hospital with Anna in the ambulace and an ambulance man asking what hurt!
When i got to the hospital there where lots of doctors waiting for me including a surgeon!! and lukily a English speaking Doctor. They ultrasounded my stomache and my lower regions but found that it was mostly ok soon I was sent for x-rays and had 2 on my shoulder and one on my jaw (none of which are broken). after waiting around in corridors i finally got moved to another hospital where i had to stay over night and also see a urologist? again very luckily the on call urologist spoke good English.
finally after the whole noghts proceedings me and anna were to stay at hospital and joe did not have a place to stay for the night we asked nurse where the nearest hotel was and in the end she pulled out a camp bed and we all slept in the hospital!
Next morning we were all given breakfast and then I had to go of to be ultra sounded again this time it took ages but when it was over I was taken back to the room we were in and waited for the results. a nurse came and told me that I was not alowed to cyle for 7-10 days and that I would have to get the train to Rome afterwards I Anna went to the pharmacy and got the medicines I needed while Joe rang the Italian family who had agreed to pick us up.
When we got back to their house Iwe cahnged all our baggage around and all took our nessesary belongings then we were give a lift to the train station (Italian style) and quite soon was on various trains to florence on the way i managed to miss a train and see a man get aressted (beaten through a glass door by Italien police which ended up completly smashed) it was quite a scary experience.
When I got to the station i was met by one of the Brothers, which mum had already organised with Fr Agnellus, we walked to the convent where I was fed and given a room where i slept soundly.
Anna and Joe have carried on the cycle to Rome whilst i have had to stop at 890 miles 1425 kilometers due to injury.
What I found hardest was not only the lamp post, but notbeing able to speak Italian at all!
lots of love
Good Luck Anna and Joseph
Friday, 16 July 2010
Day 9: Big day- we got to Yverdon, total distance 85 miles. Can't really recomend Portalier as a holiday destination, but the cycle over the Alps was beautiful. Not as bad as we thought it would be, but we were mentally prepared for cliff faces and crampons...
Day 10: Took half a day off! We went swimming in the enormous lake next to our campsite in Yverdon. Have a look at a map, it was huge. Cycled over to Lausanne, where we stopped at a bike shop to fix Anna's bike. Problem with the rachets in the back block, so the pedals didn't work properly. The man's face and the words 'Well, ha, it's.... how we say? Caput!' say it all, really. After cycling it over some Alps, Anna didn't see the funny side. We then cycled on around a lake that dwarfed our morning campsite lake. It was honestly one of the most beautiful settings we'd ever seen, a massive expanse of clear water ringed by mountains. Montreux, on the edge of the lake, has to be one of the most fantastic looking cities we've gone through. Go if you ever get the chance, it's a stunning area of Europe. Finished our day's cycle in the town of Aigle, a few miles south.
Day 11: Quick, flat morning ride from Aigle to Martigny, stopping for maps and food shopping. We thought we'd done the worst of the Alps, but found ourselves climbing again, up the St Bernard Pass, which was decidedly more difficult than we expected. It's a very international road, so many different number plates. Finished up in Bourg St Pierre. The air at the top of the mountains is so clean and fresh, you really can almost taste it. Camped next to a field full of cows with cowbells, which is the closest I ever want to get to tinnitus.
Day 12: Final climb over the Alps from Bourg St Pierre to the top of the St Bernard Pass, 2473 metres at its highest point. The pass is one of the lowest points in the surrounding mountains, and we've really very grateful to whatever glacier is responsible. Up near the top, we were surrounded by some snow, ice and low clouds. A man who was quite clearly a bit of a fitnes machine saw us at the top munching through Swiss chocolate bars, disapproved, and gave us fancy energy bars. Must have worked, because we carried that evening on through Italy into Quincinetto, just south of Pont St Martin. The ride down the Alps both times was absolutely incredible- like a massive, scenic assault course. The paniers may be a hinderance on the way up, but they really speed up the descent. Italian drivers, we must report, are a little unpredictable- lunatics, says Greg. They also love our yellow tops.
We've just started day 13, taken advantage of the dead early morning campsite to use the internet! We have custard croissants, muesli and tons of biscotti things for breakfast.
Ciao! Lots of love,
Anna, Joe and Greg
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Today, we arrived in Pontarlier about 4pm, took a massive climb up to the first bit of the Alps to get here. 54 miles of big hills, pretty exhausting, had to buy out the whole supermarket for lunch. Beautiful scenery, though. Going to cycle the last part of France now, over the Alps to Yverdon in Switzerland. We'll miss Bastille day in France, sad stuff. 1789, yeah, we were listening in year 8 history lessons...
Hopefully make it to Yverdon tonight and put some more stuff on the blog, if we're not exhausted.
Monday, 12 July 2010
Yeah, grimy. That's Joe and Greg, by the way :-)