The Islands

I will update this post day by day.

In August 2016 I sailed from Rome, Italy to Sardinia, starting a classic self-supported road journey by bicycle, circumnavigating three Mediterranean islands: Corsica, Sardinia and San Pietro Island. A little solitary adventure that I started with very little experience. To begin with touring on a bike, I chose a coastal route that constantly offers stunning beautiful natural landscapes. My final destination would be San Pietro Island, a place full of fond and ancient memories for me. During the journey I will pass by other places well steady in my memories, as well.

Once I reached Sardinia by a night ferry, I headed to Santa Teresa di Gallura harbor from Olbia. Both of these places are a bit clogged with tourists during summer. So better to hit the road as soon as landed and escape from  the crowds. Unfortunately I discovered that my rear derailleur was bent. It probably happened when the bike accidentally fell onto it. First challenge is then to find a bike mechanic equipped with an alignment gauge, a specific tool for that problem. Meanwhile I can still shift gears in fail safe friction mode. I just have to pay maximum attention that the derailleur  cage is not swallowed by the spokes. So far so good, if only because after the first 50 km there is no trace of a bike workshop here. In return the landscape, the scented maquis shrubland and the view of a turquoise sea make me feel very happy, even after some endless climbs. I’m not very trained indeed and my bike weights a ton, which is something that one will quite notice when climbing. What is most intriguing for me now is to discover where my limits lie. How far I can go, how high I can climb, counting only on my two legs. At the end of this journey I will eventually discover that most of the limits will crush in front of you the moment you don’t worry too much about them.

I receive a call by a couple of friends, they would reach the little village of Sisco to spend there some days. OK, it’s a 280 km ride in three days, I take the challenge and accept their invite. I would pedal from Sardinia to north of Corsica via the east coast, a route which is moderately hilly at the extremities and flat in the center. I would camp in two different places before arriving.

I sail to Corsica on a commercial ferry and enter the magnificent natural harbor of Bonifacio, a medieval town overhanging a long rocky cliff. One of a kind place. Here the wind always blows hard: This is the strait of Bonifacio where Sardinia and Corsica Islands almost kiss themselves and induce a funnel effect.

I hang around a bit in Bonifacio, where I have a nice conversation with an Italian cyclist, who is travelling in the opposite direction. I’m always looking for a bike workshop. The local bike rental is equipped for simple repairs only. Some locals suggest me to go Porto Vecchio, a town that is bigger and where supposedly I should have a better chance to repair the bike. When I ask how far the town is, a man says “one hour” and explains me that in Corsica they only measure travel time. According to him, knowing the distance would be pointless with so many curves. After 3 hours I arrive in Porto Vecchio. At this point I already rode for almost 120 km and climbed 1000 meters, but I want to leave the town anyway to find a place to camp nearby the sea.

I meet a group of five Czech cyclists. They also have mechanical problems and they seem to know where actually is a bike mechanic in Porto Vecchio suburbs. I follow them, even tough they are pedaling very hard and I barely can keep up with them. We find a big bike shop with a mechanic in. But he seems totally inexperienced. Then I say goodbye to the Czechs and leave the town looking for a campsite on the beach. I will finally find a very capable mechanic shortly after, almost by chance on my way to the beach.  Problem solved, my bike is now in its perfect shape and I am slowly falling asleep in my small tent pitched on the sand, accompanied by the sound of the waves.

[to be continued]

 

TOTALS
Distance 1.451,2 Km
Elevation 23.333 m
Moving time 84h27m
Calories 57.585
Average bike payload: 48kg
Moving Days 18 + 2 stop of 5 days each
Landed on 3 Islands




DSC00229Tavolara Island is the first Sardinia’s rock you’ll see at dawn sailing from Italian coast.

DSC00242 Sardinia’s landscape from Olbia to Palau:  Cows, Scented maquis shrubland, sea, archipelagoDSC00264The lighthouse entering Bonifacio’s harbour sits on a white layered rock. From Bonifacio medieval town I will start the circumnavigation of Corsica. The small bay of Bonifacio DSC00267Route Nationale Corse.  From Bonifacio to Porto Vecchio DSC00274Route Nationale Corse. An abandoned van in the middle of nothing

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  1. […] ride with a fully laden bike. I wanted to test a nice and sometimes steep ascent in preparation of a planned journey. I made a rare early rise for a late riser like me: 5 a.m. of a hot mid summer new day. I was […]

  2. […] use will be a couple of ferries. All the rest will rely on my legs.  I will be updating these pages whenever […]

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