In 2015 Cento and i decided to make a trip together. We choosed a date and found Sicily as the perfect location for late autumn. We checked flights and soon we met at Catania airport 🙂
Then we took the bus to zeronove bikeship where some of the nicest people of bikepolo waited with a cold beer. Usually it’s a bikeshop/garage with bar. Great! So we had a proper spot to build up the horses. By the way… It was raining horrible 😉
First day: Catania – Syracusa (68,9k)
We put the bags on the bikes, checked the weather. We started with heavy rain so we made a break for a coffee after 10min riding 😉 The break was a good choice because after the coffee the rain got less and we started again.
The weather got better, finally the warming sun got our friend. We were going south near the coast line. Our first goal was Syracusa. Before Syracusa our track got so cheesy. Lovely!
The first step in Syracusa was grabbing a cold beer, during that we checked for a room to stay. This time is off-season in Sicily… So it’s hard to find an open B&B… After the many phonecalls we had luck and a positive responce. We went to the adress abd waited for the guy to open us the doors. Because we were the only guests it was just a B&. (No Breakfast) We got a room with a baby bed inside, useful for drying the clothes. For dinner the guy adviced us a restaurant, Cento had a not so quiet night…
Second day: Syracusa – Modica (100k) on the
After a good italian breakfast (coffee and baked stuff with maaaany chocolate) we startet in the backcountry, leaving the coastline behind. Cento got in contact with now called ‘mtb-guy’ who send us on ways for singlespeed-worldcup-riders. It was hard and also very funny. We passed the area of ‘Nero d’Avola’ of where the famous wine is. Btw we haven’t seen any grape there 😀 We rode through the backcountry on small ways, sometimes with a bit of luck small roads.
Somewhen we reached Modica! When you will ever be in Sicily, you have to visit it. Nearly only old buildings attached on the surface of the countryside.
One of the nicest villages i’ve seen. We found a superduper B&B and cento got some advice where to go for dinner of his better half (how we german call it 🙂 ). Local food, very delicious. On the way back, filled again with energy (and wine) we passed a crowd watching a soccer game at a street bar and watched the rest of the game. After that we had to get some sweet stuff before sleeping. One good point for bike travelling is that you can eat whenever you want cause you need energy.
Third day: Modica – Palmento/Panama Beach (114k)
Starting in Modica it was just rolling down to the coast. our chains sounded a bit shitty so we stopped at a bikeshop on the way. The professionals over there were spraying that much chain fluid around that cento and i were sure that also the breaks are now running smooth 😉
Being back on the coastline we found a new friend, the headwind. We had good weather, wearing short/short, that gives you a good motivation. Being back on the coast made Cento making dance.
Passing Ragusa, we had to visit the famous house of “Montalbanos” who was the main character in an italian tv show. 😉
From there we were passing a lot of agriculture, from where the fruits and vegetables come, we know. Around lunchtime we ride through a small village, found a small supermarket where we got more than delicious sandwiches served by the old owner. We had a small talk, cycletouring is not so familiar in sicily. After a while it was time for a break, we landed at a sea village, not many people there, also the sand was blown over the streets at the beach front and covering them. funny ride time. We landed at “chupa chupa” which was a bit destroyed and the changing rooms used as toilets 😉
After the break we started direction Gela, the goal of that episode. This days challenge was sleeping outside. Because we had our equipment with us and not a chance to use before. We also had to get some gas for the morning coffee. Enough challenge. At least we found what we needed, grabbed some food in a supermarket and went on the search for the spot….
The sun went down… It started getting dark. We rode near the seaside, had to go uphill gravel outside the city. We stopped to take a look on the map. There was a dog a few meters beside. there were more dogs…. We went on a bit. Looked again on the map. Beside us, the same dog. A few meters away. In Sicily are living many dogs in the wild. Many of them are not cool dogs, they act like gangs. (I was reading about before…). We arrived at another “summer village” at the sea. No lights, nobody was there. Only the dogs behind the fences to secure the flats… It was loud. One started, the rest joined the symfony. We couldn’t be save that all the dogs are behind fences 😉 On the map we’ve seen that there is a kind of bar direct at the sea, our last possibility as a spot….
Fantastic! There was light at the bar! It had a awesome terrace and a roof. Cento went inside to ask the people if we can stay the night there… He came out with also the option for some cold beers! Paradise! Paradise beach, baby! (The real name is ‘Panama beach’).
Surrounded with a wooden fence about one meter high. So we had diner, some beers and felt asleep.
During the night we both woke up. There was noise behind the fence. People screaming, walking, running to the sea, back, music. We were a bit afraid that the mafia is eliminating someone… Scary… They were like 10 meters away, unable to see us 😉 We stayed calm. Then the engine of the car started. Loud music. Lights on, towards our direction. 10 minutes… Then the car drove away. We still don’t know what really happened there. The next morning we’ve seen the footsteps in the sand. No idea what that was…
fourth day: Palmento/ Panama Beach – Enna (80k)
We woke up and first of all it was coffee time with an awesome view!
We packed and started again. Direction inwards of Sicily, the goal of today was ‘Enna’. We left the coast and it started to get hilly again. There was agriculture again. We had the chance to taste fresh olives direct off the tree, don’t try this at home. Tasting horrible! We grabbed some food, had awesome landscapes. Ok, for a while it was boring, later it got really amazing! A bit before Enna i was riding behind Cento, uphill, typical, then i saw a shadow of a cyclist beside me. Diego, the butcher, with his 80ies ‘De Rosa’. He was starting talking italian to me. Me: ‘no parlo italiano’… He headed over to cento. They started talking. Then it was time for a cigarette break. We stopped on an older car race circuit.
Diego said the smoking is good for cycling, it opens your lungs… Ok, that was the thinking of the 80ies 😀
Diego guided us the rest of the way to Enna. Enna is on top of a hill…. Because he was faster than us he showed us his trackstand skills when he was waiting for us. Amazing boy! Short before the top he left us and told us that if we will have any issues we can call him or tell people we know diego the butcher and they will help us. Legend? Sure!
Arriving in Enna we had to get an aperitivo, you could see the rain near, clouds, sun. amazing cheesy!
We got a nice B&B where we could park our bikes inside. The stairs inside looked like a house in paris. After putting the bags in our room get dressed and went outside to find in the fog a restaurant.
Fifth day: Enna – Catania (100k)
Perfect start. SUN! After a fine breakfast in the B&B we enjoyed the view you have to the landscape.
During the tour we decided to climb Etna without the luggage, that’s why we went straight to Catania. The evening was a relaxed one.
Sixth day: Catania – Etna! – Catania (78k)
We started in short/short with around 20° the morning, my condition was not the best (regarding to Cento 😀 )… It started to got only uphill. We had a short coffee break and the weather got cloudy and much colder… The nearer we got the top, the colder. The landscape got more and more black. Lava. You could see results of past eruptions. Houses surrounded of black. Walls melted like wax in fact of the lava. On top of Etna it was around 5°…. We had not enough clothing with us. Beginners. ahhh.. Not. 😉 To get back energy we had a lovely arancina. It’s a delicacy of Sicily. If you’re ever in Sicily, taste it! Fried rice balls, inside some vegetables, cheese and some with saucage.
The way down back to Catania was horrible cold… Cento shared a plastic bag with me, half/half under the jersey… I was happy that i got a light on the bike. Foggy, 5°, no gloves and no wind-jacket… The nearer we got to sea-level, the warmer it got… It was good to be back in Catania and have some sweets and a coffee 🙂 When we arrived at our hosts place he managed a bunch of dragonfruits to show us how to eat them correctly. There are three different tastes, three different colors. they grow everywhere in Sicily, but if you don’t know how to eat them they’re useless. 😉
seventh day: Catania
First Cento was in access to the world wide web. Buisness 😉
We got back on the saddles, exploring the sea line. Some impressive “rocks” of lava. Made a break at the sea. Taking some serious pictures….
Another awesome thing of Sicily are Cannoli! Taste it you will die for, or kill! Beside the Arancinis. And the dragon fruits.
A bit rusty on the sea line. My bike gave me pleasure for a week without any probs. On the horizon you can see Etna. That’s quite impressive to see when you’ve been there the day before 🙂
We met our lovely hosts in the city at a market, then we grabbed some local food to get energy for packing the bikes and the journey back home. Treviso and Karlsifornia. Thanks all the people i (we) met on the way. The Catanian bikepolo crew! Zeronove! Marco & family! Cento, it was a pleasure and thank you for some pics! See you next time Sicily.