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Working with a coach

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

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,...

Bikes and Lemons, an MTB ride to Piano Margi

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

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...

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

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

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...

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

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

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....

Traffic jam Sicilian style…

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

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...

Sunday ride to Ponte di Sagana and Torretta

Posted by on Jul 1, 2013 in cycling and bike pics | 0 comments

After all the rides I already blogged about, there are still some areas in sunny Sicily I haven’t shown you guys. Yesterday I went for a 95 km bike ride starting in the town of Balestrate. I rode to Partinico and climbed to (Ponte di) Sagana. From there I followed the mountain road to Montelepre and Piana dell’occhio, from which “frazione” I descended to the town of Torretta. From this town I cycled back home passing the towns of Carini, Villagrazia di Carini, Cinisi, Terrasini and Trappeto. This is the view I had when I arrived at the top of the climb in Sagana: A few hundred meters away...

Exploring the Cinisi climb

Posted by on Jun 22, 2013 in cycling and bike pics | 0 comments

Even though I’ve ridden thousands of kilometers in this part of Sicily, every now and then I stumble across a road where I’ve never been, or a climb I’ve never done before. This was the case with a climb I found by using Strava. I had clicked on “Segment Search” and saw a few segments near the town of Cinisi. I’ve passed through Cinisi hundreds of times on my bike, but I didn’t know there was a climb starting near the town center and ending in a small “frazione” of Cinisi. So a few weeks ago I decided to cycle to Cinisi and explore this climb. I rode from...

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