Occasionally, but not quite, WEEKLY UPDATE

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tar River posted a ride invite on the GR delphi forum, kinda last minute thing... nice easy ride north along "US bike route #1" across the dam, and lunch at Pino's, then back home... weather was nice, but turned a tad bit warm after lunch... good food, good roads, and good people...

Ride Report: Joel and Bonnie's "Excellent Adventure"

Italy ride report: I won't go into much detail regarding Italy, itself, other than to say WOW! People were all very friendly and hospitable. Our tour guide, Enrico Grassi of Hear the Road, was excellent. He arranged everything from hotels, to bike rental, transportation to and from the airport, meals, routes as well as finding the best roads, routes. He found the pace of the group and eventually would just ride ahead and meet us at the next turn, or ride back and forth filming the group.

The roads were, for the most part, well paved, but patched, with the exception of surprise patches of dirt on mountain roads, where it had been washed out in recent rains. Roads are narrower than in the states and in many small towns the main road becomes a cobblestone street just barely 2 euro cars wide. In some it's an alley.

Lane splitting is expected for bikes, but cars recognize this and accidents are rare. The Italians drive very close together, compared to the US. Each driver is responsible for the space ahead of him and they rarely look in the mirrors. If you complain to a driver that "you almost hit me", they will say "But I didn't, did I?". In Rome, many people ride scooters (Vespa, Silverwings, Lambretta), to work, in suits and dresses and everyone on 2 wheels lane splits. If you don't, folks,including cagers, may get annoyed. Most cars are very small. (We even saw a four wheeled, narrow scooter with an enclosed roof).

Normal roads are endless twisties with decreasing radius turns the norm. Their "twisty" is the tornato, which is a 180 degree hairpin. These are common in the mountains and frequently come in groups (tornati). One particular tornato was fun when we swung around the curve and found cars pared up the inside edge. I told Enrico about The Dragon while we were in Orvieto, on the first night stop. "312 curves in 11 miles" I bragged. He responds, "Nice, lets go to the vineyard area. There is a road here with 1000 curves in 5 km. They have an auto race on it each year".

Riding there was like riding the Dragon plus for 8 hours each day with few straight sections of road. There is a National Park in the mountains especially for bikes.

As for the bikes. Rental in Rome was easy, except there is no "no fault" damage insurance, so if you damage the bike, you pay. I was pleasantly surprised by the new 2015 Ultra Glide. Much lower balance and better shifting and transmission with a softer ride than Harleys I've rented in the past. Bonnie liked the roomy seat. Only problem was initially when I discovered the hand grip heaters were on. I couldn't get them to turn off. After riding a few hours, I had burns on my hands. After a few calls to HD, Enrico and I figured out how to turn them off. Someone must have twisted and fucked the control. Like riding holding tight to hot frying pans.

If you get a chance, go on one of Enrico's tours. He usually rents BMWs in Rome. This one was a Harley sponsored tour.

Ride safe... Ride often

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