The last few days have been tough. Waking from Lake Garda, after a thunderstorm during the night, I cycled 165km (100 miles) per day to reach where I am now – Nice, in France. The first two days involved cycling across the most boring farmland plains of Northern Italy to reach Cuneo. The traffic was hell. I knew it was only a matter of time before I saw this in Italy…
The best part of these two days was watching the sunset near Tortona, south of Milan.
Yesterday though, was a good and interesting day: going over the Alps. From Cuneo, I climbed to 1,870 metres over the famous Col de Tende, a high pass road going over a mountain ridge separating Italy from France. It’s not surfaced at the top or on the French side, so cars tend not to venture up there – only mountain bikes, and motorised dirt bikes. Lucky I have hybrid tyres on my bike, or I wouldn’t have lasted. I climbed further still up the mountains, away from the road, on an old trail, to have lunch at one of the many ruined forts. It was so peaceful at the top.
Only me and one other guy were up there – Mario, a Swiss photographer with his motorbike – bearing the cold Alpine winds to enjoy the striking peaks of the surrounding mountains. Sitting on the edge of the fort, smoking a cigar like a boss, he took this picture of me, with the meandering road below.
After a few hours of sitting around, I descended the 48 hair-pins to the road below and cycled the 50km downhill to the Mediterranean, near Ventimiglia, back in Italy. From here I cycled along the undulating coastline, sometimes with spectacular cliffs, back into France, through Monaco (in about 10 minutes) and onward to Nice. Two of the most boring days of cycling, followed by one of the best.