60 kilometers of joy and a PS for my husband


(Verione in italiano qui)

The other night I went to sleep with a unstoppable desire to go cycling. When that happens, the next morning, usually, with the same intensity, I find any possible excuse to do something else. Instead, yesterday morning, at 10 to 7am, I woke up full of energy ,despite my little girl, as usual, had kept us awake all night long.
I got my big girl ready for school and we left home for school. She walked next to me while I was rode my Pinarello Dogma 2 with her Winx school backpack on my shoulders.
Once we got to the school , my daughter wanted me to stand at the doorway waiting for her and her class mates to go to class. So I waiting for the school bell to ring,  with my bike at the main school entrance door,  wearing my very tight cycling outfit, my helmet and sunglassed… I felt “slightly” uncomfortable , among other parents, who were, of course, dressed with appropriate clothes, but then I thought “who cares?” I waited for my daughter to go upstairs, I sent her a kiss and then I left  for a solo ride and it was beautiful .

I realize that I seem repetitive. In the sense that whenever I write about my bike rides , I say that it was beautiful. But it really  is! There have been non super interesting cycling rides, like the one on the Lake Iseo , but generally speaking, I could cycle on the same path 100 times and every single time I would find and appreciate something new , not necessarily around me, maybe even inside myself.


And while I am pedaling, I often smile . Then if I realize that I’m smiling …I laugh. Yes, I admit, I sound crazy, but if you don’t cycle maybe you can’t understand…

 As I ride on the Gavardina cycling path, I greet the trees , the river , and so on and, as I have already had occasion to write, I get the impression they greet me back.


I always meet different kinds of morning cyclists … elderly who, despite their age, are still riding their road bikes and who, as a rule, get furious if you overtake them and do everything possible on earth, even risking a heart attack, to overtake you back to prove themselves they can still make it… grandparents who stroll their grandchildren in a pushchair and who stop every three steps to check if the child is well … middle-aged ladies who are there for the morning jogging who can’t stop chatting… foreign couples who are cycling as tourists on their super equipped, and super heavy bike, with the luggage tied to the bike, who despite that, look always super happy and satisfied … and everyone greets the others…with a nod , a formal ” good morning ” or , more often, with a basic “hello “. It ‘ a greeting that does not cost anything, and that makes you happy . Or at least I am very pleased . Whenever that happens to me, I get the feeling of being in a parallel world, where everyone is kind , where, even if for a nanosecond only, all are friends.
As I wrote on my Facebook page , the bike is good for the heart and the soul.

 PS for my husband only: check my average speed on the way back. I went very fast! Maybe in five year time…but ONE DAY, I AM GOING TO RIDE AS FAST AS YOU DO!laps

How to Use Snapseed To Enhance Your photos

(Versione in italiano)

Since several friends have really appreciatedmy pictures, I thought “why not sharing with others my little knowledge?”. And here’s a new category dedicated to this.

Today I am going to try to explain how to enhance your photos with what I believe to be one of the 5 best basic Iphone and Ipad apps:


SnapseedI am going to show you two different exemples, so that I can use mostly all the Snapseed menu options. This is the first photo:

Before and after:


Open Snapseed and select a picture from the photos in your device.

prendere la foto dal rullino

I am going to use a picture I took last June of a wonderful mountain of the Dolomites, in Corvara, Italy. And I open it with Snapseed.

apro Snapseed

(Remember that you can always tap on the question mark at the top-right hand ride of the screen which helps you using the tools – in the example below the instructions are in Italian, as, of course, I am using it in Italian, but on your device you’ll have it in your own language) spiegazione Snapseed

I usually use diffenrent tools for every picture, depending on the result I would like to achive. In this case, The fist thing I do with this is selecting the Snapseed Auto Correct feature, so I tap AUTOMATIC:

automatic SnapseedSelect CONTRAST, which by default is level 50. Confirm tapping the Apply arrown at the bottom on the right.

And the photo becomes like this:

contrasto 50 Snapseed

I am not satisfied with the result, so I select AUTOMATIC and then CONTRAST again and I you use my finger to swipe from left to right until  88.

contrasto88 Snapseed

Now I select:TUNE IMAGE

tune image SnapseedI tap the screen and hold my finger on the photo and swipe it down: It lets you adjust brightness, contrast, ambiance, saturation and white balance. I select brightness and corfirm my choise with the arrow.  And the photo becomes like this:

luminosita SnapseedI would like now to have brighter colours, so I tap again on TUNE IMAGE and set SATURATION at 22.

saturazione SnapseedNow if I want to underline the details of my pictures, I select the DRAMA filter, I tap on  DRAMA 2 at 80 and then I confirm my choice.

drama2- snapseed

Now I am satisfied with my result, but I would like to post my picture on Instagram, so I need it to be square. So I select CROP and I choose the square cropping.crop-snapseed

crop-1a1Not yet 100% happy with the result, I once again tap TUNE IMAGE, and select AMBIENCE at  60.

atmosfera - snapseedNow I save my picture.

salvo-fotostep by step:

snapseedprima-e-dopobefore  and after

Second picture, taken yesterday in my town center. i am going to use different filters to achieve a different result.

snapseed prima e dopobefore and after

I open the image:

prendere la foto dal rullinoapri1As the picture isn’t straight, I select STRAIGHTEN and tap on it choosing the right angle.




BWNEUTRO And I confirm my choice with the arrow at the bottom right.

Then I select BLACK AND WHITE but I tap on the “yellow” button.

BW-gialloNow I would like to underline the depth of field, so I select  CENTER FOCUS
then the star on the left and I select the BLUR effect at 66.

center-focussfocaturaI would like it to have a deeper effect, so I select  TILT-SHIFT,

tilt-shift SnapseedI select the star and the oval focus, so that I can  adjust the height and width of the area of focus, which is my case is the facade of the old building.  I tap and drag to position the center of the area and among (transition, blur Strenght, brightness, saturation and contrast) I select Blur Strength At 85.

sfocatura-tilt-shiftI am happy with the result and I save the picture to my photo gallery.

salva snapseedFinal result:

blak and white snapseedStep by step:

riassunto-snapseedbefore and after:

snapseed prima e dopo

Snapseed is a very useful app, one of the easiest to use and most complete, but it has its limitations, like, for instance, these ones:

First of all if you made a mistake you cannot undo, the only choice you have is to  revert to the unedited version, which sometimes is a nightmare!

When you select the Drama filter there isn’t any noise reduction or sharpening adjustments. For this reason if I want a HDR effect I prefer to use Camera Plus.

PS: if you use your IPAD instead of your Iphone, and you rotate the iPad, you get a larger view of the picture you’re working on.

I hope you enjoyed your reading.

Towards the Lake of Garda and back. (82 kilometres of joy)

(Versione in italiano)

Saturday morning-ride:
Brescia Castenedolo – Bedizzole – Padenghe – Soiano – (Lake Garda)  Gavardo – Botticino

today cycling ride
Before leaving, I have a look at ilmeteo.it , othersiwe called, by me,  ” cosmic pessimism “; it forecasts non stop rain from 11am.
I normally sleep 5/6 hours . Tonight , however , I think for the only time since the beginning of this new millennium, I have  slept nine hours and , inexplicably, I am dead !

I go on the balcony and have a look at the skyp.  I do this every morning and like every morning , I realize that I cannot see the sky , as there is the terrace curtain.  But , just in order  to find a plausible excuse for not cycling, I go back inside  and say to my husband : “I think it is going to rain. Pretty soon .” It doesn’t work, he knows I am lying.
We get ready.
Last night my husband put a new pair of  lenses on my sunglasses. These ones are polarized, orange, and are the ideal choice for the bad weather or foggy days.  I wear them and I look fabulous: more or less like an internationally wanted human organs dealer . Beautiful . ( I put the photo of the glasses, avoiding , however, the effect they have on me)

okley polarised lenses
To  complete the Barbamamma autumn / winter look: a new jacket . My husband bought it for me (if it wasn’t  clear yet , he is the one in charge of my cycling outfit ) the winter jacket is black (and so far ok) with a nice ENOUMOUS WHITE BAND that goes from the neck to the end of the zipper. Something very nice to underline your… curves .
Very well. It’s freezing . It is 10 am and 7 degrees Celsius . But it can only get warmer, can’t it? Sure, but if has  snowed all around and a very chilly wind blows very strong…, no, it won’t heat up so much … at least not now.

I place the Garmin device on the bike and I press the GO button. I feel that maybe I missed something , but it works , so I do not worry .
We leave home  and I say to my husband that I’d like to cycle only for about  50 kilometers because I am too sleepy to cycle further more . He answers, “ Of course! ” And when he says “Of course ” , it usually means the opposite.
We go towards the south of Brescia, and while I’m pedaling I think that if one wanted to commit suicide , and he wanted to do it on a bike , this would be the perfect place. Trucks, cars whizzing by , non-existing bike path … a real jewel…

I realize that I have underestimated how annoying the wind can be.  But it also brings an advantage : the sky is opening up and it is deep blue, the view is as far as the eye can see. The mountains of Botticino in the distance are beautiful. The light marble , carved into the rock ,  seems brilliant with the  contrasting green of the pine trees.  I suddenly  think that those marble mountains seem to have been eaten by  a giant dinosaur. Then I think I have to stop watching cartoons with my daughters.

We pass over the highway and head towards Bedizzole to get to the Lake of Garda.

We see the signs of a castle and we would like to see it. My husband turns right,  OBVIOUSLY, not waiting for me. I guess I have spotted the castle, but I have neither the time to pause and see well , or the occasion to tell my husband , because the road is downhill and , of course, he is already at the very end of it.

We follow the narrow road. We do not know where it leads , and we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere, and I must admit this nowhere is beautiful.  Only a few cars , bucolic landscape . This small, county road takes us to the village of San Tommaso and then at a crossroads that we already know and that is tied up to the path that goes down to the lake Garda. (via Bagatte ) My husband , at the entrance of the road, turns to me and says : “See where we ended up ? All planned! . ” Obviously it was a stroke of luck .

We cross the countryside of  Bagatte , PonteZocco and Sedena , then get to  Barcuzzi . Right here , among other things, on October 7 , opened the Ciclovia del Benaco , a  cycling  path that leads up in the province of Mantua , Castiglione delle Stiviere .
It would be nice to do it, but I have read that there are some pieces of dirt road, so you should ride a  mountain bike.

We follow the cycling path towards the lake. the view is truly breathtaking. The sky is deep blue and the clouds look like whipped cream . I am gaining energy . Of course , if I had eaten something , rather than just drink a coffee, maybe I’d feel better ….
Countryside of Soiano (BS)
We cycle next to next to the castle of Padenghe and then turn left, following the path. The road surface is not the best for road bikes because it has rained for the past week . This is perhaps my favorite part of this path. The fields , the hills in front , the snowy mountains … every time it is the same and different. Every single time this landscape gives me so many positive emotions. It is as if these places hold me and wrap me, with their positive energy. I feel free and happy.
Follow the sing "salo'"
If you cycle along the path towards the lake , in Levrini  road, remember to turn right and follow the sign “Salò.”. At the only intersection here, remember not to stop in the middle of the road because it is slightly downhill and it is possible that some cyclist has to suddenly brake because of  for your presence . (I say this because that’s what I did to take some pictures of the wonderful clouds in the blue sky : ) )

Near the Lake of Garda
Cycling towards the lake of Garda

A few meters later , we do not follow the  cycling path (which is on the left though a small forest)  because it certainly would be full of needles and pebbles. So we try a new road and continue straight ahead . Shortly after,  the road then rejoins the main route 25 . The view of the lake is wonderful. Today it is so clear that you can clearly see the peninsula of Sirmione. It is amazing.
We cycle uphill  towards Soiano . Also from here you can see the lake and it is wonderful . We both stop to contemplate the landscape. It seems to be in a fairy tale.

view from padenghe over the Lake of Garda
The sun is warm , the clouds ” turned ” far away and thanks to ilmeteo.it forecasts I am still wearing the polazied lenses and in this sun my eyes are painful.

We go to Polpenazze and the road is very steep.. too steep for me … a guy who is jogging overtakes me … and with the typical dialect from this area, turns and tells me , ” going up is hard here, isn’t it ” Oh yes, it surely is!!

Then, finally, after  Castrezzone and Muscoline  we are in Gavardo . After 60 miles, I’m so hungry that I could eat my husband!

At the table on a bar, on a terrace,  I order a toasted sandwich but it takes too long and it’s freezing outside! It’s better to go and ride!


I have cycled on this cycling path  many, many times, but it has never been like today.

I don’t know if it is because of the marvelous light , the white clouds or  fog  glasses ( ! ), but today this cycling the path is magic.

The river Chiese next to the Gavardina cycling path

Cyclepath Gavardina

” A river Seems a magic thing . A magic , moving , living part of the very earth itself. ” – Laura Gilpin

We then stop to take a couple of pictures. We are speechless looking this wonderful landscape. on the cycling path "la Gavardina" - the mistery treesAn ancient bridge over the river
( Back home , I did a little ‘ research about this river that flows next to the Gavardina. At bottom of the page you will find a few links that I found about this Naviglio and other interesting places nearby)

In Mazzano we leave the cycling path and we continue on the road . We go through  Virle , Rezzato , Caionvico and then finally home .
I notice that my Garmin hasn’t  loaded the map of this ride . Very well! I find out that when you turn it on , you should wait it to display “GPFIX acquired “  otherwise it doesn’t keep record for your track.

( I am posting my husband’s bike tracks because he had waited for the ” GPFix acquired” signal)

We cycled for nearly 4 and a half hours . Apart from the first hour, it was really beautiful. Each ride  is unique and each time it really gives me so much energy . Kilometers cycled today : 82.9 . Just a nice ” shot ride” as my husband would call it ! 😉

track map from the satelliteriepilogo
Places of interest:
Castle Bedizzole :
http://www.5castellibedizzole.it/5castelli/note % 20castelli/castbed.html

Padenghe Castle

Archaeological Museum of Gavardo

Fashion Museum – Ciliverghe of Mazzano

The Naviglio Grande
http://www.lombardiabeniculturali.it/dolly/oggetti/443/bookreader/ # page/1/mode/2up

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 !