About Ari rides her bike

41 year old, mom, wife and bike-lover. On the saddle, I miss only the flower garland on my head to look like the French cartoon character Barbamamma, but in spite of that, I can ride for many kilometers and climb mountain that are apparently impossible for me, with so much passion and enthusiasm. Will power is my motto. blog in English: firstbikerides.com 41 anni, mamma, moglie, amante della bici da poco. In sella, mi manca solo la coroncina di fiori in testa per essere uguale a Barbamamma, ma malgrado ciò, riesco a macinare chilometri e salite all’apparenza impossibili per me, con tanta passione e valangate di entusiasmo. Volere è potere è il mio motto. Il blog in italiano è primepedalate.com

Bike-shaped cookies!

(Versione in italiano qui)

While my friend Monica is finding any possible excuse in the world to postpone our next cycling ride,  I thought, in the meantime, to take the opportunity to share with you something different, but always linked to the cycling world.

I really like when I get the chance to be creative with my two little girls. I love arts and crafts and baking cakes and cookies with them. I love to see  the joy and enthusiasm in their eyes !

 Here come a recipe for something delicious for my husband, who is a  big big fan of cycling!


Bicycle-shaped cookies with custard cream and berries

Road bike cookies

We used the Thermomix , so I’ll put both the recipes – with the Thermomix and with the traditional method – Before you begin, though, let me remind you, if you are going to use frozen berries, to remove them from the freezer and put them to drain.

Let’s start !


Ingredients for cookies:

125 gms soften butter
100 gms caster sugar
2  medium eggs
400 gms plain Flour
½  a bag of vanillin
½ teaspoon of baking powder
Just a little bit of salt
zest of ½ lemon

With the Thermomix


1)   place strips of lemon zest in the Thermomix  bowl. Process for 20 seconds , speed 9.

 2) Add in all the other ingredients  30 sec. , speed 7

Empty the bow and place the mixture onto a table and roll it. I usually divide the dough  in two parts so that both my daughters can have fun at the same time. Then wrap the doughin cling film and rest in the refrigerator for about one  hour.

Traditional method

Place all ingredients on a counter and knead well until the dough has a smooth texture and gets firm. Wrap in a cling film  and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.


( pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees)

1 ) Coat the baking tray with wet parchment paper

2) Take the dough from the fridge and I put on a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into small pieces and flatten them with your hands, to around half a centimeter thick.

3) Use your cookie cutters. ( for the wheels of the bike, we used a circle cookie cutter, for the other parts of the bike, we used an umbrella-shaped cookie cutter; we used only the part of the handle and with then used our hands to find make other shapes according to our needs).

4) Place the cookies on the baking tray

5) Bake until their browning at 180 °



500 g of  whole  Milk
100 g of white Sugar
2 Eggs
60 g of Flour
1 Untreated Lemon Peel
1 small bag of Vanillin


with the Thermomix:


Place the lemon peel and the sugar in the mixing bowl 20 Sec. Speed 9

Add in the other ingredients  8 Min. 90°C Speed 4

Traditional Method :

In a medium saucepan heat the milk  
to just below boiling point.

Peel yellow skin from lemon and grate

In another saucepan mix together the eggs, sugar and flour to get a smooth paste. (I used an electric mixer, but if you are the Bionic woman, hands are fine)

Add the Vanillin

Slowly pour over the hot milk and stir well, cconstantly, with a wooden spoon. Cook  until the custard thickens. When the cream is ready, pour into a bowl and cover with grin film, let it cool down  to room temperature.



When both the cookies and the custard cream cooled down enough, you can start decorating them!Top the cookies with the custard cream and then with the berries.

 Bicycle-shaped biscuit


With the remaining dough we made more cookies , putting the dough in the oven in molds in the shape of heart , but hearts are off topic
! 😉

cooking with kids



Bike Anatomy

( Italian version: here)

The other night in bed I read  ” Bicycle” magazine , and this sounds unbelieveble for two main reasons: the first one is because it is usually impossible for me to be able to find the time to read at night as, in general, while I’m trying  to make my daughters sleep, I fall asleep before them. And then because I have so many books next to my bed waiting to be read. But that night I chose and I repeat , I  CHOSE to read a bike magazine .

Every three words , however, I found myself asking my husband, who was reading a history book, that I wouldn’t read even if I was obliged under torture, to explain the meaning of what I was reading.
“Sorry … what’s the sprocket ?”
” What do they  mean  with Gran Fondo ? “
” So if our bikes are not suitable for Grand Fund and not even for racing , what are they for? “

And so on …

Usually  my husband , the second time I interrupt his reading gets quiet annoyed and starts pretending not to hear me.  ( in his defense I must admit that all the possible questions I want to ask him come to my mind always and only when we go to sleep and he is reading … )

But this time it’s different.  Since we aren’t  dealing with family matters , but with his first and true  (and probably only) love, and by that I mean, of course,  the cycling world,  I notice that he is listening to me and I keep on asking him many questions. And he gives me very accurate and, apparently,  very clear  answers.
I pretend to understand nodding.

I do not know whether he believes be or not, but this allows him to go ahead reading  , which is great.

But since that night I decided that I would study. And I have . Oh … yes I have ! I looked at a dozen of Italian and foreign websites and then, with my own hands, I created this image using a new Pinarello bike , that would be my dream, but it would be super surely too professional for me.And here’s the result. I hope it will be useful for  those who, like me, have only recently started bike riding and the ones who have fallen in love with it.


PS : I then removed the names of the bike compoments and add numbers instead.  I made a list from 1 to 35 and checked ho many of them I could remember: the result was that I remembered as many as did before making the picture. ( ie : handlebar brakes, pedals , wheels and little else )
I feel like when I took the General Linguistics . I studied a lot. I got a good grade.  I walked out of the classroom exam and I had already forgotten everything .

Basically, it really is a mission impossible to me!

Hope you’ll have a better result!  You can have a try! Good luck!

Here the bike with the numbers, followed by the list of numers and then, below the solution. Don’t cheat!!! 🙂

Bicycle parts

1 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
2 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
3 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
4 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
5 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
6 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
7 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
8 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
9 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
10 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
11 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
12 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
13 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
14 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
15 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
16 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
17 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
18 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
19 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
20 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
21 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
22 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
23 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
24 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
25 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
26 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
27 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
28 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
29 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
30 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
31 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
32 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
33 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
34 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _
35 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _

 The solution is below….

I said below….

don’t cheat!

ok, it’s coming…

here it is!


Below you will find the solution

I said below

Don’t cheat!

Here it comes

My husband’s version

(from MY HUSBAND’s angle)

The 5 Pillars of Wisdom :

1 ) If there is a beautiful girl on bike, be sure she’s pedaling in the opposite direction .
( ” Beautiful” is not exactly the adjective he used)

2 ) A cyclist is waterproof.
( it goes without saying that this means that you go and ride even when it rains )

3 ) The difference is in the handle
( this, I have not yet understood )

4 ) If you are struggling and another cyclilst passes and greets you, take a deep  breath and greet him/her, pretending to be riding on flat ground, or even downhill.
(as far as I’m concerned , I  never greet back, as I am usually about to die )

5) Do not worry, after the curve, it’s going to flatten
( I prefer not to comment this … )

The 5 recommendations to me:
1) Stay in the slipstream!
2) Stay in the slipstream!
3 ) Stay in the slipstream!
4 ) Stay in the slipstream!
5 ) Stay in the slipstream!

( and I DON’T )

My husband’s 5 bans ( to me , of course) :

1) Never ask ” do you think it is going to rain ? ”
2 ) Never talk.
3) Do not answer your cell phone
4) Do not stop and talk to strangers who ask for directions
5 ) Never ask for directions

The 5 evergreen sentences, that he uses every single time we go and have a ride together:

1 ) you’re using too long of a chain: shorten it!
( answer: “this way?” And I always make a mess with the gear shifting )

2 ) admiring a breathtaking landscape “See what a beautiful place I brought you ? ”
( it does not matter if I have chosen the route )

3 ) He turns , looks at me and asks me: ” Is everything all right, love? ”
( then turns back without waiting for an answer )

4) After the curve it is going to flatten.
(I know, I’ve already written this, but this phrase is my nightmare)

5 ) Back home after riding our bikes for more than 100km ” Beautiful short ride today! ”
(Short ride ? ? I am DEAD!)

My husband cycling on the wonderful Vello-Toline

My husband cycling on the wonderful Vello-Toline cycling path.

Second ride with Monica – Brescia – Middle of nowhere and back

Second ride with my friend Monica .
at 8 am I call her to be sure he has not changed her mind and , to be honest I hope she has. Last thing I would do right now is to ride a bike, but I promised her . This morning I am having an hangover. Last night I went out to dinner with two friends of mine and  we had an excellent Franciacorta white wine and now I have a terrible headache. I forgot to buy the contact lenses and I am, therefore, going to wear my sunglasses and I hope that the weather will not get worse otherwise I will not be able to see much. On top of that I found out I have absolutely no winter cycling clothes. So I decide to steal something from my husband’s closet, who unlike me , is 1 meter 90 centimeter tall . I take a long-sleeved shirt and I realize that it has a dual function : to protect me from the cold but above all , I have the illusion of having lost weight !
Monica and I are going to meet in Sant’Eufemia. She is coming by car and I am going there with by bike.

I text Monica ” I’m leaving now.” Monica is still home and says she has loaded the bike into her car and we will meet at the usual place . ( “Usual” …this is the second time ever than we ride togetherwe go, but now everything has already become a ritual ) .

Before leaving, I check everything, as my usual rite ( really “usual” ) : wheels: inflated , Garmin: turned on and synchronized , helmet: fastened. Finally I place the phone in the back pocket , under my handkerchief , and I get on my bike , I start the Garmin and….the phone rings .
It’s Monica ” Ari … I forgot to inflate the wheels . Will you bring me a pump, please ? ”
I can’t believe I am hearing this!
” Monica, I ‘m coming with my bike ! ” that’s right ” she replays , Silence. “But  would you be so kind to bring it to me pleaser ? ”
“Look Monica, if you want I can google and find someone near you who sells bikes, but I doubt I could ride my bike for 8 km with a pump in my hand! ”
I’m leaving for my ride with a smile  on my  lips, Monica makes me smile . I wonder if one day she will ever put  the ” bike concentration” setting on .
I meet her while she is riding her bike on the pavement, on the wrong side of the road.
(I have to explain to Monica that bicycles follow the rules of the European law!)
Monica has already managed to get the whells inflated . Her petrol station tender, not only has inflated the wheel , but , belongs to the omniscient category …! Therefore , as required by the rule , he knows all of her bike and he is more than pleased to give her some advice. The fist thing Monica tells me as soon as we meet, as if she was revealing me the third secret of Fatima: “my petrol vendor told me that my bike is a hybrid!. ” Ah well , then!
The good news is that MONICA DOES NOT HAVE THE DORA’S BACKPACK anymore! The bad one is that she is still riding the very old-fashioned bike. A very old-fashioned hybrid bike.

We will naver make it.
We leave St. Euphemia towards Gavardo . We cross Botticino and I congratulate her for having left the backpack  home . Then I look at the bike and ask, ” excuse me, Monica, have you also left your high-mountain water bottle?” “Yes, I have. But I forgot to bring with me a regular one and I am already thirsty.” Very well.

We cross Rezzato and while she goes to the bar to get a bottle of water , I stop to greet a friend of mine who has a shop there . Monica returns and we are really ready to go. ” I must confess that I also had a coffee ,” she says, almost with a sense of guilt. ” Well done, Moni. but now , let’s not stop anymore.”
In Virle take the Gavardina and the average speed is really low , but in fact we are focusing on something else….we have turned completely crazy!

I , in fact , am trying to make a video while I’m riding ,holding my cell phone in one hand and with the other one  on the handlebars! Monica struggles to join me to get back in the frame and almost ends up in the cornfield , then turns and  we almost crash to the ground!
In Mazzano the path splits into two : straight to Salò and right towards Desenzano .

We take the right.


Here the cycling path is alongside the road. We go straight up to Pontenove , where, n the cobblestone street of the old bridge , where every time I have the fear of puncturing , suddenly Monica’s brand new bottle of water flies down from the bike and a nanosecond later, as in the worst movies, the only one car in the neighborhood, passed over it . Monica is sooooooooooo angry ! She picks up the destroyed bottle, and places it under the cargo rack. (yes, Monica’s bike also has a cargo rack … )


Fiume Chiese visto da Pontenove

The bottle, by the way, will stay with us for about 10 miles, until Monica finds a bin for plastic . You can not say that does not take about the environment.
I’m thinking that maybe I would do the tour today , that is, from there to Padenghe , Puegnago Gavardo , Botticino is a bit ‘ too much like the second exit. That would be about 60 kilometers. Then I see , by chance, a sign indicating a bike path to Montichiari . Then we turn right.
The first surprise are some wonderful bluebells that I hadn’t seen in ages, probably the last time was when I attended my kindergarten. What an emotion ! Going on I must say that the road is not among the best I’ve ever seen.


then we take a beautiful road , which seems to be a tunnel of leaves and branches.


We ride throut the countryside, then after Ponte San Marco we pass an industrial area  and then  we take a cycling  path, with a small wooden bridge and , just after the bend , I find it another surprise. Planted in front of a corn field I see a sign . I believe I have read that right, but I’m curious . I stop , ride the bike and I’m going to see better.

Attensione Rispettate Granoturco

Attensione Rispettate Granoturco

This sign , in its simplicity, gives me many beautiful emotions. I imagined the farmer who built it with a pair of aces , who planted it and that, with chalk , slowly, undertook to write ” be careful, respect the corn ” , seeing the hesitation in writing, and attention to the message to give . I found it touching.


The path continues in a sudden insignificant , next to the fields , even a little ‘ boring. At some point, however, boredom is interrupted by panic. In the middle of nowhere , with Monica next to me , I distinctly feel a bell, very close , I fear and disarray convinced that someone is arriving from behind. But what do I find out ? ? IT’S MONICA’S !
” BUT YOU ! YOUR BIKE HAS A BELL ! ” I say, almost shocked. . Monica, naïve as usual , “sure ! Because your do not have it ? ” Monica , no ….
Then I ask : ” why on earth are you ringing this bell in my ears ? ” “You never know who you could meet on the roads….” I swear I could not stop laughing.
A few kilometers later, in the middle of nowhere,  I get the impression of being the protagonist of the “Secret garden” . On my left there is a wonderful, unexpected vegetable garden .

Vegetable garden in the middle of nowhere
I know you must think I am crazy, but I was moved . I got off the bike and with the cleats that sank into the mud , I went to have a look closely at each row of vegetables. I had never seen the fennel plants before, which from a distance , I mistook for carrots! But where have I been living for the last 41 years ? It ‘s wonderful .
Monica and I continue to pedal through the field, following the small paths, with not so many direction boards  and we are very proud of our ability to avoid getting lost. We pass through the Park CA ‘ Del Bes, with very picturesque views . I do not recommend to come here with a road bike, has a few roads are made of gravel.
At a junction the pole sign id bend on the ground. We do not know how to interpret it , then, we get off our bikes and we face the board as if we were Agent Scully of X-Files. We solve the case and we understand that we have to go left. We are very proud of ourselves . We’re going straight on, when I uddendly spot a semi- hidden board indicating ” Montichiari ” on the right. We ride for about two meters and: deep despair!: a big, enormous sign says ROAD CLOSED FOR WORK . WTF!!!


I say to Monica: ” Monica, could you please take my bike for a second? I’d like to take a picture to the sign. ” .
And here,  Monica says what you ‘d NEVER expect :

( next step : to explain Monica that road bikes and mountain bikes DO NOT HAVE THE STAND , DO NOT HAVE THE BELL AND DO NOT HAVE THE RACK )

At this point, where are we going ? Panic!
Idea! Google maps , can rescue us ! No panic!
I pull out the phone , I am on google maps and begin to turn it on upside down to figure out where we are. I have never and I say never I really mean NEVER  been able to read maps . I do not know whether it is because they are dyslexic or stupid , but I have strong feeling that the reason is the latter.
The backpack , but especially the map of Dora the Explorer would be very useful now!
Sure of myself I say to Monica ” no problem , Monica ! I have everything under control, let’s go . At the bottom there should be a village ” ( which village I don’t have a clue, but never mind… ) .
We continue down the road and turn right , where we find the directions, indicating Calcinato and we follow the signs.
We cross the main square and, for a gust of wind , we are ” attacked ” by a shower of chestnut curls. Picturesque, but that harmfull!

Finally we get rid of the bottle, as soon as Monica reaches a plastic recycle bin.

We arrive at the end of the village and we are at a crossroad. To the right it says Verona and to the left :Montichiari .
Monica , very sure of herself says, ” definitely left! ” I have doubts and once again I turn to the Holy Google maps and we go to the right . We make two flyovers on the highway and on the ring road and head towards Mazzano . The roads are not the best , including trucks, cars and coaches , is a succession of moments of panic .  A the end , we pass through Virle and Rezzato , where I note with pleasure that in these days they repainted the lines that delimit the bike path in the town center . At the hospice we turn right , and. After the long pleasant road with high trees, we turn right again. I want to show Monica the small village , which looks straight out of a fairy tale. We end in  Caionvico . Not entirely satisfied with this morning ride , I propose to Monica to go around to the top in Botticino and she agrees . The thing I like most about Monica is that she never says no to new adventures. The thing I like least is when , bike, take initiatives … like taking a roundabout on the other side of the road  or when she cuts the road to cars.

We  get to the starting point. Monica, off her bike , is taking something from her pocket. It’s a chestnut . “I’ve taken directly from the plant, while I was going to throw the bottle . If you keep it in your pocket , it prevents colds . ” I do not know whether to be more surprised by her super kind gesture or that she  believes in this popular tradition . Monica is really special person. And then, at his second ride ever she has gone for 50 kilometers ! I am very proud of her !


Spin the wheel…100!!! and more…

Spin the wheel, spin the wheel … 100 100 100 100 ! 100 ! ! In fact, to be precise “spin the  wheel for 117 km” ! I’m really enthusiastic of my performance!

100! 100! 100!

A step back … last night I was up until 2 AM to post the pictures photos of “Ari rides her bike” onto Instagram, then when , under the blankets, I suddenly woke up with my cell phone in my hand, I realised it was time to sleep, listening to the usual chamber orchestra : the melodious sound of the snoring of my husband.

At 3am my oldest daughter wakes me up because of a bad cold : her nose is bleeding. Very good …. I’m beginning to suspect that this is going to be a long and stormy night . At 3 and a half I go back to sleep . My husband, is still sleeping like a baby. (a baby without a cold) .  At 4 my little girl wakes up , crying like never before. And she goes on to cry until 5 and a half. So, at first  we camp on the couch in the living room , side by side , with the Winnie the Pooh cover. Comfortable …. then at 6 am, when I finally have found the perfect Tetris positioning , with one arm under her pillow and the other resting on the Ikea pink coffee table, which now stands in our living room , she wakes up and wants to go in the big bed . Very well. Let’s say that if it had been a long and stormy night , perhaps, it would have been better .

At 8 am the happy family is already active. When I open my eyes and realize it’s Saturday and I promised my husband that I would go riding with him to have the complete tour of Lake Iseo , I shut my eyes , squeezing them very strongly , hoping that this is just a very bad nightmare. But no, it is NOT . I really have to go . I promised myself that today, for the first time in my life , I will ride for 100 kilometers and I promised him that I’ll manage it. And I do not want to disappoint him, and, first of all, I don’t want to disappoint myself. I make my coffee , and still asleep , I forget to add sugar in it and it tastes so horrible, that I suddenly wake up! My husband tells me: ” But how nice that once in a while both girls have slept all night long!”
Then he goes to the fridge and takes out his breakfast, which he always prepares carefully the night before.


From this picture your can easily spot who the family athlete is. And who is not.

It takes me at least five long minutes to wear my contact lenses and while I try to reach my target (my eye)  I think, ” But why on earth am I doing this?!?!? I could go back bed or lay on the couch in my pajamas! ” But it is time to go. I get dressed , as usual , in black, I give a look at myself in the mirror and , as always , I look like that “beautiful” Barbamamma ,but..never mind.  I go to the garage, with my shoes with hooks, I hurl a figure … I put my hand on the bike, pat the saddle and I find myself saying , “Goodmorning!”


I swear I did it. I gave her a good morning and I told her that I have been missing her, and I apologize for being out during the week , with my mountain bike . The most dramatic thing is that I realized that this is not normal , only when I reported the matter to a person who commented one my posst here on the blog .
We leave home, heading towards Lake Iseo . The sky is gloomy . I ride next to my  husband and I ask him ” do you think it is going to rain ? “. He turns and says, very sure of himself “The weather can only get better”  Ok , if he says so… We cross the center of Brescia , which on Saturday mornings , with the open-air-market , it is even more beautiful than usual. We then take Volturno road and I think “I am a crazy , unconscious. For once in my life I could have breakfast , I mean a decent breakfast , not just coffee, even without sugar in it! I am sure I’ll never make it today! My legs feel already heavy , I have the usual tingling in his left knee . I’m tired , I’m hungry… I wanna go back home! ” My husband turns  his head to me and asks ” is Everything okay my little puppy? ” I give him one of my best smiles and say “I feel excellent , my love! “

We cross Gussago and Rodengo Saiano , then turn right and go up to Ome . At the top of the hill, I turn my sight to the left as if in search of something and I spot, in the green of Franciacorta , the country home of a dear friend of mine who died only a few years ago and an infinite sadness comes over me . Surrounded by vineyards , I am overwhelmed with memories and thoughts, then I look at the sky in search of comfort and it is cloudy and dark. It looks sad , too.

We ride next to the natural paradise of the “torbiere” and we finally get to Iseo, where you begin to glimpse the lake. We continue on the road that I had already rode last week, and cross Paratico , over the bridge, we are now in Sarnico , in the county of  Bergamo. This is where we ended up to last week and at that time it seemed to be already too much for me.  If I stop to think  that this is where our tour is going to START today , I’d like to die, so I take the decision to tell  myself that it is going to be very easy . And I have a very high power of persuasion , because I believe it!

We follow a piece of cycle path along the lakeside, which I like so much. The lake here has a kind of magic power.

Soon after we leave the lake and follow the road that runs along, just higher . My husband had told me that along these roads he had seen some very strange trees which have roots that seem to grow vertically. I see them too, I can hardly believe my eyes!  Picturesque , but at the same time , I find very disturbing. The photos are not the best, but the choice was to  place myself. 1) next to the fence 2) in the middle of the road and being smashed within a second by a car. I opted for the solution number 1.piante

We cross a couple of tunnels and survive to fear only by a miracle. My husband lets me go ahead, but I feel guilty because riding behind is much more dangerous . I love him so much also for these small, big gestures. Riding a bike in a tunnel is too much for me. The roar of the engine of a motorbike which pulls over me, scares me to death. I feel that my legs are trembling with fear. I cannot even close my eyes , otherwise I’d crash . I begin to count the pedal rides to try to figure out how many meters are left to the end of this nightmare. I am not  wearing my  photochromic sunglass lenses (because, spotting them in my Okley case,I ‘ve always wondered what they were for … as you can guess my husband takes care of my equipment. If it was for me I’d still be wearing the posh city sunglasses….) However , the tunnel, as said, are a real nightmare for me! We arrive in Tavernole Bergamo , from which we see Montisola, a big, amazing island in the middle of the lake. I have been living around here for 41 and this is the first time in my life I am here on the lake!

Suddenly my legs aren’t pushing anymore; my husband is now a very little (very very very indeed) dot ahead of me. I look at the elevation on my Garmin and I see that, in fact , the road is uphill. The climb is minimal, but I can feel each of the 40 kilometers that I have already rode. And I wonder how I’ll make it for another 80 … better not think about it.

Sarnico , Zù , we go through the scenic Orrido and then we get to Castro. I begin to have visions. … I think it ‘s time to eat an energy bar ( which, by the way, sounds sooooo athlete!) . Obviously I chose the bar at random at the supermarket, it is by Enervit , and it contains magnesium or something similar, and, beyond any expectation, it’s delicious !
I feel that I am regaining energy .

pausa-enervitEcco che mando un bacio al mio fotografo, mio marito.

We arrive and cross Lovere to come again in the territory of Brescia , in Pisogne . We decide to stop for a coffee. As soon as we are about to cross the train level crossing , the bars go down , and a lifetime later, here comes the train . What a thrill ! It’s called train of flavors and , through the windows , I see many people sitting at lunch. I ‘m starving , by the way .Treno dei sapori, a Pisogne (BS)

In my imagination Pisogne was a faraway place, where, at the elementary school, they would led me to pick chestnuts. And today, many years later, I find out that it is a fascinating place , a small ancient village with a beautiful bell tower . (the picture is horrible , but trust me on word )pisogne

So, once home, I can tell and I find that the request for Santa Maria della Neve , in the town center , is home to the frescoes by Romanino .

In a bar on the lake , we stop to rest. I order a  Coca Cola which is probably the disgusting in the world, which tastes of everything except from a Coca Cola. Really undrinkable! While my husband drinks his cappuccino with my Coca Cola, (and when I say “with” i really mean it. A sip of cappuccino and a drink of my Coca Cola…)  I take some pictures of the small harbor. The clouds are now less “angry” and a few sun rays are shining on  the boats. On the catwalk there are  three giant colorful pinwheels . It suddenly seems to be in a non-place, and I am in peace with myself. This feeling lasts a nanosecond because it is already time to go.Porticciolo di Pisogne

My friend Cristina , the Bionic Woman, calls me just before I am back on my bike . When I tell her that we did 60 km and that we lack another 60, she says “f**k, Ari , then you’re already there then! ” “No, Cristina ,” I say , I’m only halfway through!” I replied.  She insists: “No! Look : when you turn the ass to get back, the worst is over , now it’s as if you were already home .” I do not know what magic power she has on me, but I trust her and I regain all my energies. I am ready to go!Mega girandole sul porticciolo di Pisogne

We leave Pisogne behind , and take a fantastic cycling path, which is…impossible to be spotted ! Iam going to get into a tunnel, when , fortunately, my husband who is behind me ( Oh yes! ! he was BEHIND !) yelled at me to turn right , in a charming little tunnel reserved to bikes ( suggestive , but for me, that I suffer from claustrophobia , it is , however, a nightmare. A suggestive nightmare, but still a nightmare) .Vello
From here the path is  really cool ! It’s the old road, which was re-opened to bikes only recently, after 3 years, due to landslides . My husband told me that on Sundays, and, anyway, in the summer season , it  is full of people. Today we are alone , apart from the whispering of the wind and the waves of the lake. Pure poetry .ciclabile-lago-d'iseo

In Toline this magnificent road ends and you are back on the main road . You cross Marone , Marasino and Sulzano. As I read through a square in Sulzano on a banner over my head ” FESTIVAL OF WILD PIG” and I thank God that I am wearin ​​, despite the 21 degrees today, long pants . With my weight and my legs yelling me” wax us, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeee ” I would have risked being taken as the festival testimonial!"il marito"

We’re going towards Iseo when just before me , I see the BEE GEES . I cannot believe my eyes! From behind : they look identical ! I overtake them and I am speechless ! There are two ladies in their seventies , dressed with a racing t-shirt and shorts as if they were there for a road cycling competition, with half-finger gloves , and big and heavy sunglasses from the ‘70ies. Just ahead of them: their personal trainer! Sooooooooooooo cool!!!

Vista della sponda bergamasca, da quella bresciana

I love to ride my bike !

Meanwhile, I keep looking at my Garmin device. I never rode for a 100 kilometers in a day and pray Lord to get a puncture : it has never happened in life and I don’t want it to happen now. I am living my dream. Then I begin to think : “If it happens now, I am going to push my bike until I reach a 100  kilometers” and I realize that a streak of madness took citizenship in my head.

We are back in Ome, now . At that precise moment my Garmin tells me that time has come! 100 kilometers. I stop to “celebrate” the moment and from my back pocket I pull out what one would never expect : a fantastic  biological cereal and cereal apple by Hipp , suitable for children 1 to 3 years. Maybe because I was all galvanized , but it seems to me has given me energy!Super poteri : a me!!!!!!!!!!!!

In  Gussago we stopped for refreshment at the fountain and then off to home. In Cellatica I really do my best . I ride  37 Km/h and I leave my husband behing. ( I am super excited !) . Just start climbing the Fantasina , when my husband over takes me, riding sooooooo fast. He turns his head and gives me THAT  look:  I am dead.

We arrive home after nearly six hours, and 5 hours and 10 of actual pedaling . I’m not tired , I am not as fresh as a spring rose, but to be honest, it was not difficult . I was expecting more . More emotions, more feelings, paradoxically, even more effort.

I started (or rather re-started ) to ride a bike at the end of April, riding for 15 km . Up to now  I’ve rode for over 1600km . Never in my life I had gone for a 100 in a single day . It was my dream . And, with commitment, perseverance and sweat I did it today. But perhaps the Italian poet Leopardi was right… Or at least , this was my “Saturday in the village” .Ecco il mio percorso, casa-giro del lago d'Iseo-casa.

Next step : 150 kilometers.

My first uphill – Brescia – Sant’Eusebio and back

As I wrote on my Facebook page,as soon as I just got at the top of the hill of Sant ‘ Eusebio : “Beyond all expectations … from Brescia to the hill of Sant Eusebio , 20 km, 500 meters in altitude. You can do whatever you want to do, if you really want it and I did I ! ”
I did not know , frankly, that I would have made it , but in the end , I hoped so ! When I was a child, I used to come this way to go the mountains and I hated it because of the uncountable  curves … and I always felt sick. Imagine on a bike!
I left Brescia , as usual  and  took the Triumplina road . Nightmare. I would have like to go back home immediately . Traffic, non-existent or impractical cycling path. Then we turn right towards Nave. I am already tired.  Here the traffic begins to decrease and it goes more secure (in the sense : with less fear of having an accident ) . And just after Caino , the climb begins.  It was the first time I did it and I must say that I stopped at least 3 times during the climb. The official excuse was that I was thirsty and I had to stop and drink slowly , the real one is that I felt like dying !
In fact, now that four months have passed since the first time , looking back , it seems almost impossible that I found the climb so hard , because it’s a soft, pleasant, uphill. However, when , FINALLY , I got to the top, I was super happy!


After the photo that immortalized my climb to the top, we went down from Vallio Terme. For this descent , which is beautiful , it would be advisable to have a jacket . I had , but I hadn’t fully zipped it, which produced a parachute effect …not the best thing to be done.

The road is very steep .
after nearly 6 months of bike and more than 1500 km, I have not yet learned to hold the handlebars from the bottom, and now I sincerely cataloged this thing in my personal  folder of the missions impossible ( in which we find also: understand a spy movie , let the plants on my terrace to survive … ) . Pedaling down towards Vallio Terme not knowing how to brake from the bottom of the handlebar, means horrible fingers cramps!

Then we arrived in Gavardo , you resume the path and back to Brescia.

After the effort of the climb , a bit of flat cycling path can only warm the heart ! 🙂 Very nice ride !