Italy (Emilia Romagna)

Brian & Magali

What is needed to start a bike ride? Anything or almost nothing, it depends by your attitude. Passion first and foremost, the desire to explore and to feel alive. We left Argentina last March 2016 with a A/R ticket to Italy in our pocket. Goal of the trip: Emilia Romagna round-trip. Time available: 1 month.

Well, this time, after a long ride across South America (pedalling through Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay) unfortunately, we did not have so much time to put on this new experience . Before leaving, we contacted Cinelli to inform them on our next trip to Italy, the land of our grandparents. So we based at Cinelli HQ to mount and prepare our Hobootleg.

We were two children with glances lost between frames, colors, history and the family air that felt in Cinelli. Along with Fabrizio, Francesca and Willy, we all arranged everything in order to be ready to start. The first bikes brought us to the beginning of Via Emilia, full of history and life, but also of bicycles: it seems here their natural place where it is carried as a part of the body and soul.

Two old men speed up in front of us to shorten the distances in a roundabout, stand up on the pedals, with skirts underneath the knee. They are beautiful and lively, they are the result of a life with the wind in the face and the legs running.

Piacenza would have been our first evening in Emilia Romagna, where the Emilia Street begins, where neither Emiliani nor Lombardi, separated from the great River Po, feel a place where there is a bicycle ban in the center, given the quantity and the speed they took there was no other solution! and what a pity.

Our trip would have touched all the Emiliano Romagnoli capitals discovering their beauties, productive and social riches. Next stage: Parma.

Although we did not consume such calories as pedaling in South America, it seems impossible not to eat in one of the most gastronomic and renowned areas of Italy, right? Then nothing to wait, we immediately dropped on Parmigiano Reggiano and the salami of Parma. The town with its pastel colors welcomed us with the full plates (and it would be so from now on).

Modena. On Sunday. Being in very busy areas that morning we left early. We were just us and some 90s Ferrari around the streets. Not bad, two Cinelli and some pony. Modena was waiting for us to continue discovering Made in Italy, amongst the flavors (with Balsamic Vinegar that Brian adored) and the noise of the Ferrari and Maserati engines.

Pedaling in harmony with landscapes but also with the respect of the passers-by is something magical and beautiful that happens in these lands. Ferrara, the city of bicycles (1-2 per inhabitant !!) was our entry to the Po Delta, along the many bike paths, mapped and curated to give amateur cyclists the best experience. A small “deviation” on our path led us to the streets of the Veneto, to find the friends of “Free Bikers Porto Viro”, a group of cyclists who had crossed the streets at the end of the world, in Patagonia, and now they would be our look down the Po Delta towards Comacchio. Two days of intense biking, delicious risotto, birthwatching and friendship.

The spring welcomed us with sunny days and colors. Our two-wheel drive continued to Comacchio, the “Venice of the Poor” and then to Ravenna. Art in every corner, the city of mosaics amazes us with its churches, but also with the art born from the new generations that keeping the traditional prints create new styles. Young and old hands produce mosaics and develop earth-derived products, such as marigolds that take different shapes.

In Romagna. From Ravenna we have now entered Romagna. Walk through Forlì and Cesena, in the direction of Cesenatico, the town of Pantani, but also of another Marco, a friend known to Patagonia during our bicycle trip. Marco takes care of the many bike tours on the Romagnole hills, a nature show: pedaling in the hill looking at the horizon on the waves of the sea. We let him suggest to him, a great bike traveler, the possible routes to be done in Romagna. Of course, doing it would be all and not just in 2-3 days but staying longer still. Eventually, we started the roads to San Leo and the Republic of San Marino. Beautiful views and above all full of salons and downs, those we like.

When we reach the Republic of San Marino, we went down to the sea to take a “mate” (typical Argentine drink) together with Argentine friends living in Cattolica. Two days of “rest” before going back to the Forment Casentinese Park, near Santa Sofia (Forlì). The climb of the Spinello and the path to the dam of Ridracoli, Lama and Saint Paul in the Alps are some of the most beautiful moments we have experienced on this trip. The panorama gave us horizons comparable to Patagonia, what we like so much, and a sense of unrestrainedness ever felt in Italy.

Bologna. The capital city of the region was waiting for us to close this different journey, new and old friendships, flavors and products, hugs to nature, green and heavenly horizons, ups and downs, plains.

When we arrived in the university town we dropped on the ice cream: the sugars wanted us, so on! pistachio and hazelnut for two, in quantity. Tagliatelle with ragu. Walk under the porches, on the bike, but also with her in her hand, to carry her as a loyal friend only to share with her the last days of spring before returning to Argentina. Turn on the pavilion, look up to the sky to discover its medieval details, look alongside to smile together with the young people who live the city from the bike, feel happy to be able to feel free to feel again.

Feeling and dreaming, two concepts that together with the bike are a reality.