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 … )
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.
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 .
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 !