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Pass the Med ‘pon the right hand side

We needed a quick ride. ‘I need to be back by 10’, said Carl. Let’s get out of town at 7 then, we agreed. I hastily copied and pasted a Google maps screenshot into paint, and added some amateur orange lines. ‘That will do,’ replied Carl. ‘I’ll put it in the Strava’. And there it was. A trip to the beach, and back in time for morning coffee with the missus.

Meeting at the back end of the Vatican is a nice place to get onto Via Aurelia, which is basically a cycle highway out of town. The dry forecast had lied to us, and we started in drizzle, which to a UK cyclist, is still dry. The route looks fairly straightforward, but leaving Rome to the West is a geographical oddity, with a series of small hills and valleys which stop you from really getting a rhythm going. Nothing is too bad, bad it is not a straight shoot, either. You earn your trip to the coast. Never-the-less, we made decent time and soon were rolling along the flat coastal plain which was to deliver us, in a few kilometers, to the sea. I thought it would be nice to dip my toes in the Med before heading home. Carl’s Sat Nav had other ideas. After cycling for another 25 minutes, we still couldn’t see the ocean. We joined a larger road that took us up towards a large intersection. ‘Great, a vantage point to see the sea’, I thought. When we got to the top: no ocean in sight. At this point, we both decided that the Med probably wasn’t that great at this time of year, and so, with the waves somewhere to our right, we turned and made for home.

The return route was less hilly, coming instead back up one of the aforementioned valleys before turning at Boccea back up the longest hill of all (which is fine, around 1.5 km at around 7%), which has the amusing added feature of being a rural retreat for hookers, two of which can be seen dancing at the side of the road, with a mirror in their hands to keep an eye on the two way traffic. I always shout a cheery ‘Ciao’ to them, which is probably the most excitement they get most days, considering their remote outpost.

No offence to Carl’s lovely wife, but, oddly, the ride ended with us going for coffee at 10, and Carl’s deadline seemingly vanished without explanation. Perhaps every good ride needs to end with a coffee. I’ll drink to that.


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