• Tour on a bike: Milano-Sulmona

From Milan to Sulmona on a bike #1

First stage of our bike tour towards Abruzzo: from Milan to Parma, 160 km through the Via Emilia and dirt roads, following the Adda river joining the Po. Beautiful landscapes riding my 'Wilier gravel'.

Ercole Giammarco

From Milan to Sulmona on a bike #1

Leaving my home in Milano and starting my journey to Sulmona (Abruzzo) riding a bike instead of taking the car, that has made me smile and thank “I don’t know who” for my teenage spirit that I still have now that I’m 50.

A caution for those who might want to do the same trip: unless you have a huge desire to start from Milan don’t do it: you would spare 30 kilometer on the Via Emilia, unpleasant and dangerous to be travelled by lorry, a lot more riding a Wilier.

It’s better to arrive in Lodi by train, our first stage and the first coffee for us, with the splendid square, the 4th century Dome, Palace Ragione, the opulent and relaxed atmosphere that we have found also in the other towns during today’s stage. 

We have done 160 kilometers instead of 120 as first planned. But if you are undisciplined on the planned itinerary (why don’t be it, since we had time…) you should consider also this. After Lodi, no more “wild” via Emilia, we took a secondary little road: it’s the beginning of the cycle path of Adda Sud Park. Canals deep in the shadow of trees that are moved by the wind (we had the wind against us all the way), the rustling of the wheels on the road, some families on a Sunday trip and red farmsteads that are the 50% of the DNA of this rural landscape of the Po valley.

We started to relax, and so we began to joke around. I am riding on a Wilier “gravel” (I will explain what exactly is tomorrow, for now you just need to know that is a racing bike a little bit more comfortable, with wider wheels and more comfortable speeds). I had put on it a “brooks” seat that actually looks like a seat and not a little missile under your but (but it also reminds some improper uses). 

Aldo, who five minutes ago came into my room to ask me an anti-inflammatory cream (not for the muscles), asserts that my seat, being too large, wouldn’t have made my backside comfortable. But my backside, after 160 km, is thanking Mr. Brooks. But both Aldo and Enrico were treating me condescendingly also about the rest of my bike, and they were kindly smiling when I overheated explaining the freedom that a bike like mine gives you. In fact we took a dirt road to go to see where the Adda joins the Po (a majestic view).  

I pedaled like Tom Sawyer along the Mississippi, my two friends were walking blocked by the gravel. It’s a satisfaction.


I would like to tell you the rest of the first stage with the same details but it’s 11,30 p.m. and I really feel like sleeping. I will shortly tell you the description of the itinerary, and here few things that we saw and that we experienced: the cherries wood near Busseto (where Verdi was born) and the cherries bought from a farmer who had just picked them 20 meters from there (cherries “duroni”, a deep red, a crispy skin, very sweet) and he had packed them in plastic bowls with a Zen cure.

Soragna, that isn’t a skin disease, but a sleepy town with a splendid castle and a bar that serves pieces of “Parmigiano Reggiano made with mountain milk seasoned for 36 months”.

And then Fontanellato, with its castle (even more beautiful) and the tavern of the theater where I had already eaten 10 years ago but I haven’t forget about it (we had dinner there tonight and I realized why I haven’t forget about it…)

 We are 10 kilometers away from Parma. Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. we are going to the train station to pick up Lorenzo who had forfeit the first stage (today his son graduated from College so we forgive him).

Then we will ride towards Bologna, before attacking the Apennines.