Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How it is to motorcycle through Italy

Here is how I've gone:

A was the starting part from Switzerland in to Italy. It was awesome.

B was when I got lost all the live long day trying to avoid Brescia (just because it's a big city). Argh argh! Navigation is difficult on a motorbike because I can't take my eyes off the road or my hands off the handlebars. I can't even write stuff on my hands because I'm wearing gloves. All I can do is memorize the next couple turns, then try to do them, then pull over to the side of the road to check my phone to see if I did them right. (thank god for phone + google maps + gps. the ability to quickly check if I'm going in kinda the right direction or not is incredibly useful.)

C was uneventful and mostly crummy, going through developed flat parts of Italy. It made me think "Italy is like California: nice weather, overdeveloped and tacky, and super popular, and I don't see what all the fuss is."

D was also uneventful, but at least it was mostly a straight shot on the same road, so navigation was easy. Just follow the road to Rimini. (but not all the way to Rimini. ugh.)

E was when I decided "hey, I am near San Marino. I wonder what's in San Marino. I might as well visit San Marino. Worst case, I get to check another country off my list." This was a mistake. (but hey, checked another country off my list.)

F was small hill towns through Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, and Tuscany. (Hi Mom, I'm riding a scooter through Tuscany.) It was awesome.

Eventually I made it to Ascoli Piceno, but that's a topic for another post.

Stories from the road:

- I am glad I have a full-face helmet, not only because of accidents but also because more than a few bugs have hit me in the face.

- Most of the gas stations here in Italy have no people, they're just 24-hour pay-at-the-pump stations. Which is fine, except they don't take my credit card. You can pay with cash, but my bike takes about 15 euro tops to fill up, and they don't give change. (I guess you can take the receipt to get change later?) So I'm hoarding 10-euro bills to fill up 5.37 liters at a time.

- Tunnels are surprisingly fun.

- Corners are surprisingly difficult. I find myself braking a lot before turns. I think it's like skiing: I err on the side of caution and bleed off more speed than is necessary. This is fine. Someday, if I keep riding, I'll take some classes and get better at cornering.


  1. Wow! That's an amazing trip. How far will you go?
    Don't overlook Rome, Florence, and Venice. They are truly fantastic.... in spite of their fame...!

  2. Totally overlooking them! Here is why:
    - biking into and out of big cities is a pain
    - I'm finding it more rewarding to be somewhere that I'm (sort of) wanted, and to talk with people who are not trying to sell me things, than to see amazing things
    - they'd be easier to see on a later trip; the benefit of the bike is that I can get places I couldn't see otherwise

  3. Hey, don't hate on Rimini! I was just there! And it was... well, it was a good place to play frisbee on the beach. I guess you can hate on the city. The best description I heard was "the Italian Jersey Shore".

    Also, I hope you're eating a ton of panino, with as much cheese as you can find. Man, that stuff is good in Italy.

    1. Hah! Right, I forgot you were just right there. Only missed you by a month or so. How was the trip?

      Yes, the cheese is something else eh? I am most excited about the coffee and gelato too. And the pizza. Okay, most of the food here is great.

    2. The trip was awesome, I had a bunch of fun. Rome and Florence are really cool cities, though I wouldn't want to drive a vehicle through there ever. Those streets are ridiculous. Everything's just so old, though... it's amazing.

      Gelato was amazing, no matter where you get it, it's better than it is here, and you can get it anywhere. Pizza is phenomenal... so is pasta... and I had a veal dish that was to die for (and looked beautiful too). I didn't have a single disappointing meal.