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  1. #1
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    Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report

    Thanks to the obscenely cheap airfares offered by easyJet and the rather dismal weather France has been experiencing of late, our family broke with tradition and decided to put off our yearly trip to the south of France until the fall. Instead, we packed up all of our warm weather clothes that had not seen any use since last September and headed down to the Sorrentine Peninsula for a week of culture (Pompei, Herculaneum), good eating (Fiore de Latte, Risotto con funghi porcini e cinghiale, anti pasti di mare, various caprese pastries, gelati and pizza so good it made us speechless) and unbridled hedonism! Okay, let me qualify that last bit -- when you have two children, "unbridled hedonism" translates as "spend all day at the beach collecting rocks and shells" ...not quite what unbridled hedonism used to mean back when I ....ahem ....but I digress.

    Oh, and one other thing, this trip also meant a week of testing out my new S&S coupled Italian-made, Dutch-branded racing machine (see all the ugly details here ). Because of the family nature of this vacation, much of my riding started at an ungodly hour when not even the roosters were awake and ended before 10:00. Also, as I am committed to a heavy racing calendar (why I let myself do this at nearly 40, I do not know!), this meant that I had to get some quality training sessions in. Luckily our B&B was at the foot of Monte Faito (1400 metres) and I was able to include several hill climbing sessions. However, I did bring my camera along for some of the easier rides -- please allow me to share them with you in this post…

    easyJet is flying us down south while my bike rests undamaged in the luggage compartment. The unpacking of the bike is relatively straightforward. The bag itself is an airline-legal backpack case containing my clothes (in the outside pockets -- thus padding the frame) and my cut and coupled bike. The coupling job included the velcro frame protection pads -- I added the fork padding myself. In about 20 minutes the bike is ready to rock!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-cimg2857.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-cimg2851.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-cimg2849.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-cimg2848.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-cimg2847.jpg  

    Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-cimg2846.jpg  
    Last edited by philippec; 05-05-2005 at 04:32 AM.

  2. #2
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    Monte Faito loop -- going up

    I took it easy this day by going up Mt. Faito at a leisurely pace, stopping all the while to take pictures on the way up:

    1. This is the steepest bit of road going up --the limestone bands are nearly level and you can see the slope of the road in relation to them!
    2. Vesuvius sunrise
    3. Misc. roadside grotto shrine
    4. Vico Equense from up high, the vessel in the upper left-hand corner is making its way into Sorrento.
    5. Looking back from whence I came, the clouds are pouring over the low pass between the Bay of Salerno and the Amalfi coast to the left and the bay of Naples to the right.
    6. The circle is centred on our B&B in Preazanno -- it was a spot of heaven on earth. The owner was down-to-earth, the rooms impeccable, the breakfast copious and the view breath-taking. If anyone wants the address, let me know.
    7. On the way up, the metallic green rustle of olive groves and fragrant lemon and orange orchards gives way to....
    8. ....a magnificent beechwood forest on the upper slopes of Faito.
    9. Here is the entrance to the resort of Mt. Faito -- one thing about the roads in the area in general, and those of the resort in particular --trash is everywhere! Obviously "give a hoot, don't pollute" has not caught on here! It is remarkably strange that in an area that depends so much on tourism that the roadsides are not kept clear of trash. It reminds me of the Cote d'Azur back in the late 70's, early 80's. Blech!
    10. Back to nature! The beech covered slopes of Mt. Faito on one side...
    11. and a plunging view onto Vesuvius and Castellmarre de Stabia on the other.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-1.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-1-.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-2.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-3.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-4.jpg  

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    Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-10.jpg  
    Last edited by philippec; 05-04-2005 at 11:09 PM.

  3. #3
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    Monte Faito loop #2

    Now I’m back down in Vico after a roaring descent during which I only had 3 harrowing life-threatening brushes with anarchic Italian drivers...

    1-3. The views of the towns of Vico and Seiano are tremendous from the coastal road
    4. A quick stop for some fuel -- rocket fuel that is!
    5. and I head back up towards Preazanno on the goat track that passes for a road.
    6. Just at the entrance of Fornacelle is an especially fragrant lemon grove – too bad the picture cannot convey the smell of the lemons warming in the sun ...
    7-8. some final shots of the road leading up to the B&B, in the first one, you can see the peak of Monte Faito in the background.
    9. Back home – Everywhere the Wysterias (sp?) were in bloom adding to the multitude of (usually) good smells during my rides.
    11. Only one cloud in the sky now!
    12. The view from the terrace down into Preazanno and the Island of Capri in distance.
    13. Down to business...what we all ride for...
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  4. #4
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    Capri

    We spent one night on the Island of Capri and just for grins I brought the bike for a quick look around -- no long distance riding here but some roads are pretty high on the sphincter-clench-o-meter, especially the one that connects Capri to Anacapri that is cantilevered out in the middle of a cliff. Because I value my life too dearly, you will not see any pictures of that engineering aberration that passes for a road but I did take a few "atmosphere" shots during a very short ride from Marina Grande to Marina Piccolo.
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  5. #5
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    Amalfi Coast -to see Positano and die!

    One of the best rides I did was from Vico Equense through Sorrento out to the tip of the peninsula and from there onto the Amalfi coast to Praiano and back to Positano where I met up with the family for a day at the beach in the town that made the bikini famous! I have to say that the Amalfi coast road ranks up there with the very best stretches of road I I have ever had the luck to ride upon. And Positano ....wow,.... Just wow.

    I didn’t take too many photos as I just wanted to keep on riding (and I had to meet the family by 09:00 in Positano) but here are some of those that I did take.

    1. A view out onto Sorrento
    2-3. Here is an authentic 24% grade slope -- too steep for asphalt so it is paved with huge stones in the lower bit and small paves like we have in France near the top. I climbed this another day and I think I hurled part of my spleen somewhere in the upper third of the climb. Ouch!
    4. The early morning coffee crowd at that Caffe del Opera di Sorrente
    5-14 Some shots of the road leading into Positano. This is a stretch of road that you might recognize from one of the many car advertisements photographed-filmed here. Early in the morning there is nearly no traffic on this road and I could take up both lanes for most of the turns -- 25 kms of bliss! (disclaimer -- during the months of July-August, this road turns into a creeping parking lot).
    15-23 Positano... the pictures speak for themselves. A jewel of a village best visited outside of the summer tourist season.
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  6. #6
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    Parting shots...

    And finally some random parting shots from some of the other rides I did.

    Hope you enjoyed the report.... This trip was *not* about the bike -- but the bike did handle like a dream!

    Ciao

    Philippe
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-1.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-2.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-3.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-4.jpg   Sorrentine Peninsula: Cut'n'coupled ride report-5.jpg  


  7. #7
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    Magnificent places to ride a bike

    Enjoyed your report. Beatiful scenery. I wish I have a coupled bike like that to fly around as free as a bird.

  8. #8
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    I gotta get across the pond

    I just have to see some of these sites. What a way to travel. Very nice report.
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

  9. #9
    cruisin
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    Wow

    Philippe,

    bravo, a fantastic post yet again. Thanks for sharing!

    Oh yeah, cool bike! Diggin the couplers.
    Last edited by jeff27; 05-05-2005 at 12:13 PM. Reason: addition
    trackdays....because golf is for pussies

  10. #10
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    Beauty!

    Gee, I wonder what the poor people are doing today?

  11. #11
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    Wow

    Stunning. Breathtaking. Amazing. Did I mention stunning?

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. #12
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    Giro?

    Is it too late to turn in my plane ticket for the Tour de France in exchange for one to the Giro? Your pics make me want to pack my bike and head for Italy. But, alas, I must remain here at my desk. Thanks for the post.
    I try to be perfectly civil, until someone really pisses me off.

  13. #13
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    I am not sure which made me drool more...

    This ride report or those Vanilla shots.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  14. #14
    Fahrrad fahren
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    Thank You

    Thanks! That was a wonderful report.

    H
    "The heart was quiet. The charm of a trip of a bicycle was anew felt as comfortable drunkenness from beer in the filled time."

    Fixing Frederick

  15. #15
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    Mb1

    It was you bike box that delivered my Concorde frame to its fortunate fate.

    Thanks again,

    Philippe

  16. #16
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    Mark --

    If my bosses find out that you have gone to Italy on my recommendation, something *very, very* bad will happen to me...

    All kidding aside, the riding was wonderful but the sheer quantity of roadside trash (artfully hidden in my pictures) was a real turn-off. You really are better off riding in France...

    hmmm., well the road to Positano was pretty nice even despite the trash.

    I received your package and letter when I got back. Thanks a million. I may get insured myself.

    A+

    Philippe

  17. #17
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    Question Cassette protector?

    Philippe, what is that yellow blob that is seen covering your cassette on the rear wheel, in the earlier photo? Is it a cassette protector? Do you think that it's effective, and where can I get one?

    Merci bien.

  18. #18
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    You're safe for now

    Quote Originally Posted by philippec
    If my bosses find out that you have gone to Italy on my recommendation, something *very, very* bad will happen to me...

    I received your package and letter when I got back. Thanks a million. I may get insured myself.
    Philippe
    Philippe:

    You're safe for now. My tickets are non-refundable and I have used up all of my frequent flier miles. MB1 has managed to snare some of my spare cash. Mark gets fixed. But, if anything happens to you, can I have the Concorde? Now that I have MB1's Street Dog, I'm thinking about forming a collection of bikes with impeccable RBR provenance; I could use a good traveling bike.

    I had my doubts as to whether the package would make it safely to you after the post office personnel made me unpack it in front of them and repack it on the spot. Glad that it made it to you in one piece.
    I try to be perfectly civil, until someone really pisses me off.

  19. #19
    Bacon!
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    Absolutely incredible

    Beautiful! I'm jealous. Especially as someone who loves the ocean and coastal areas (and who is currently living in the mountains, go figure). Too bad about the trash, but I'm still finding myself drooling at the thought of riding in such a place.
    “To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit — ever. They’re like the Viet Cong — Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower.”

  20. #20
    a Freds Fred
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    I've been to much of Asia, Central and South America, but never Europe. This post made my desire to see Europe that much greater. Awesome pics!!!

    One odd question. What is the smog like in Italy and anywhere else you have been in Europe? Anything like L.A?

  21. #21
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    Gorgeous picutres. Might I ask what camera you used for them?

  22. #22
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    Casio Exilim 4.0 Megapixels

    smaller than a pack of cigarettes and about as light --perfect for the jersey pocket!

    A+

    Philippe

  23. #23
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    Well --

    The smog above Naples seemed to be something fierce -- at least on the days when we had little wind. That said, it wasn't as bad as what I've seen over LA. Where we were, there was no smog -- I guess the airshed gets flushed by the wind coming over the Peninsula...

    A+

    Philippe

  24. #24
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    Travel cassette protector

    That, my friend, is a high tech lightweight space-age compound cassette protector. It's thick yet light walls are the perfect gauge for absorbing a wide range of direct and lateral impacts while protecting the casette and/or anything the casette teeth would otherwise have chewed up. Unfortunatley it is a one-off prototype and you are going to have to part with many of your hard earned euros to acquire one for yourself ...

    .....or....

    you can get down to Ikea, buy a small plastic children's bowl, drill a hole in the bottom, place it over the rear casettes, run your rear wheel QR through it and clamp down. Voila, instant cog protector!

    It works perfectly! Why I didn't think of this years ago is beyond me!

    sportivement,

    Philippe

  25. #25
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    so beautiful, such views. I have to wonder what all the people in those villas do for a living. I never see any factories, stores, grocery outlets, nothing....maybe I need to move there and see.

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