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Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in training | 0 comments

Working with a coach

Working with a coach

A few years ago I bought my first road bike and I was hooked from the start! For me cycling is an excellent stress reliever and it allows me to really enjoy this lovely island. I’m sure I’ll never get enough of the hilly landscape with olive groves and vineyards, the spectacular sea views and rocky mountains that surround the golf area. I used to just go out and ride my bike for as many kilometers as my work schedule would allow, so in a short time I rode thousands of kilometers in the area between Palermo and Trapani. While riding many kilometers initially made me a stronger cyclist, I noticed that after a while I didn’t see much improvement  anymore. That’s when I started to think about actually training instead of just cycling. A lot of coaches and cycling websites offer cycling plans to help you train, but I prefer being able to contact someone and to get feedback on the training data so I started looking for...

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Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in cycling and bike pics, cycling guide | 2 comments

Bikes and Lemons, an MTB ride to Piano Margi

Bikes and Lemons, an MTB ride to Piano Margi

Since a few weeks we are collaborating with the Palermo based Bikes and Lemons, who can organize mountain bike trips with English speaking guides in the area. The owner of Bikes and Lemons, Alessandro Ferrara, wanted to check out the mountain roads near the town of Cinisi, and asked me whether I wanted to come along. I already did the climb on my road bike (see Exploring the Cinisi climb), but never did it on my Cannondale F4 and never explored the area at the end of the climb, so it was an obvious “yes” for me. We decided to meet in the town of Cinisi and start the climb from there. Last Sunday at 10:00 AM I left Balestrate and rode in the direction of Palermo. My last MTB ride was in November 2012, so the first few minutes felt a bit strange, but soon I found a nice rhythm and enjoyed the ride in the Sicilian sun. After meeting Alessandro at the entrance of the town of Cinisi...

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Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in cycling guide | 4 comments

Houston, we have a problem – Stories from a cycling guide

Houston, we have a problem – Stories from a cycling guide

A few weeks ago I was contacted by an English tourist called Dominic, who wanted to rent a road bike for him and his 13 year old son, Eddie. They also wanted to do a ride with a guide, so I arranged the bike rental and we made an appointment for the bike ride. Dominic wanted to do around 50 km and maximum 500 meters ascent and he told me his son had no problems climbing 7% grades. Last Sunday I met up with Aronne, the 14 year old son of Giuseppe from the bike shop and we rode to the train station in Castellammare del Golfo where Dominic and Eddie were waiting for us. I had planned a ride towards the temple of Segesta, which would be almost exactly what Dominic wanted: a 50 km ride with just a little over 500 m ascent and one steeper climb with maximum 7% grades. It was sunny and around 37°C when we left for Segesta. We followed the hilly road...

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Posted by on Jul 19, 2013 in bikes, gear and gadgets | 0 comments

Cleaning my bike chain with the Muc-off X-1 chain cleaner

Cleaning my bike chain with the Muc-off X-1 chain cleaner

I have used several types of chain cleaners and most of them broke easily, weren’t easy to use and/or weren’t really doing a good job cleaning the chain properly. When I was ordering some Skins on the Chainreaction website I came across the Muc-off X-1 chain cleaner, which got a few good reviews. I checked it out on the Muc-off website and it looked quite sturdy to me, so I decided to give it a try and ordered it. A few weeks ago I used the X-1 for the first time and I was so impressed I thought it would be nice to share my experience with you guys. The X-1 is wider than the other types I’ve used before, because it has several lateral cogs that drive both a cog with brush that’s mounted on the lid of the cleaner and one cog with brush on the bottom. The plastic is also much thicker than that of the other cleaners and it has a nifty handle. It’s very...

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Posted by on Jul 7, 2013 in cycling and bike pics | 0 comments

Traffic jam Sicilian style…

Traffic jam Sicilian style…

A few days ago on a HR 1-2 zone bike ride I came across two shepherds and a flock of sheep near the town of Castellammare del Golfo. There are still a lot of shepherds /goat herders in Sicily, so when cycling in the Sicilian countryside you’re likely to encounter one with his flock of sheep and/or goats. Ricotta cheese is made from sheep’s milk and can be eaten with some bread and tomatoes or ham, but it is mainly used in Sicilian dolci (cakes/deserts), like the cannolo, the cassatella and the very sweet cassata. These are all calorie bombs, so when you’re here enjoying these dolci in one of the Sicilian bars in the area, remember to ride a few extra kilometers the next...

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