Thursday, September 26, 2013

San Gimignano

Another beautiful day in Toscano, sunny and dry. 
We started out our ride by checking out San Miniato. It was market day. We headed to see the market, walking the bike. Everything you would imagine and more. I love the huge counter trucks.

Afterwards a climb up to the tower Fredrico the Second. Great view from the top, but the town  is so high up, not much more could be seen.

The mark put us onto the dirt straight away. Gravel road,turning corners into huge fields with vineyards.

This was the day for things to go wrong. My GPS quit after the first hour. The back light had been on at full brightness. Not knowing because of the bright sun, it showed "low battery" and after a short while, quit for the day.
Climbing a rocky, loose, narrow path, I shifted into low gear a little too fast and jammed the chain between the frame and the crankset so badly, I had to remove the chain from the bike to free it.
It amazes me how much black grease comes off a well oiled chain. It goes on clear, and comes off black! My hands were covered up to my wrists. Sand from the trail and drinking water worked as cleaner and my bar tape remained white for the rest of the ride. 
The GoPro stopped working. Jammed up as well, nothing I could do would get it going. I later found out I had been using a card that had info from my Sony, and had not been formatted before I used it in the GoPro.
Then a flat. Our tires are the best, we have never had a puncture with these tires, but descending at speed on a loose rocky road, we rim pinched.

I walked the bike to a shady spot about a quarter mile away and replaced the tube. Backing the bike out of the tall grass, the chain that connects the front rider with the back (timing chain) fell off.
All fixable problems, we were soon back on the road to what also turned out to be the nicest trail we have ridden on this trip.
Rolling sandy path about 10" wide through grassy fields with views like no other! High up with drop offs to one side of about 200'. We could see for miles, but we were afraid to stop so the bike wouldn't fall over. Ditch like at times, I would need to stop the cranks with Barbara still pedaling so the pedals would not scrape and stop the bike. Full concentration at all times while in total visual splendor!

The mark put us back on the street around 4:00. Rolling hills with climbs of about 500' at a time. 

We rounded a corner and Barbara said "There it is!  Thirteen Towers! "

We climbed another 500' to the city walls. 

A smart man once told me, " Remember, when you ever become bothered with the traffic, you too are the traffic," like the tourists. We too are tourists. But we have become a sight and not just sight seers. Our tandem looks like some kind of war machine. No longer shiny silver, but covered in dust, as well as us. We just don't fit and because of it, we are the subject of tourists photographs. Even the trail side flowers Barbara picked for the back of the bike now resemble camouflage on a warrior's helmet. They too are covered in dust.

We went straight through town and never looked back untill the next morning from outside the walls.

From outside the city walls.


  1. Despite the setbacks, that is some gorgeous countryside.

    1. what a gorgeous day. wonderful pictures and travelogue on your adventures.

  2. How do you keep from bursting into tears when mechanical problems arise???

  3. I just go right into action. I become the heartless boss having Barb lift the back of the bike and hand me tool. It's like a field hospital. Right then and there and when it's hot and sunny, don't stand in the way!