In response to a couple of comments on my previous blog, I have now reached Bologna, my destination, after 950 miles. Yes, Italy has been a rather different experience. The main roads are very busy and so often are the alternatives. While in France it was easy to find alternatives and really see France Profonde, that has been more difficult in Italy.
The towns, too, are different with several having a really significant number of cyclists. The centers are invariably pedestrianised or have traffic restricted, and that makes it very pleasant to cycle. The cycle lanes on the outskirts are mostly pretty lousy, and there are even examples of the Harlow type cyclists dismount signs where you have a cycle lane broken up several times with signs to say you no longer have priority – at least, though, they do not tell you to ‘bici a mane’, the equivalent of cyclists dismount.
The drivers are mostly pretty courteous to cyclists, though having trucks thunder by at 70 mph a few centimetres away is not an experience I want to repeat too often. Off to take the train a bit further south tomorrow, to Terontola. The four of us have bikes but we were sold tickets without problem. Getting on and off with our heavy pannier will be fun! Will report in next blog.
All in all, cycling nearly 1,000 miles has been a fantastic experience, an utterly new way of seeing two countries that I actually know quite well but I have learnt a lot. People are always friendly to cyclists, which helps.