5.12.2014

Easy Ride in the Chianti: from Florence to Greti and back

Hard to wake up!
The Chianti is famous for its 'mangia and bevi', as 'good wine and ham' but also as 'easy hilly roads' good for a moderate bike ride, not hard but still intense and moreover in a beautiful country but close to the city and in few car traffic. It sounds ideal, doesn't it? On last Suturday it was sunny finally and I went there for a family ride: my son, my dad and I. 
As you can imagine, son was the most fit: he's 12 yo and racing since 6 years, he already scored a top ten in this season so, in spite the many training and races cancealed because of the rain, he has already got a good number of kms in his legs. My dad is 75 yo but fit as well: he's a very spoty man, used to play tennis three times a week, winner of ski competition with the University team (he teaches Geology) and recently a cyclist too, proud owner of a basic Bianchi. As a matter of fact I was the slowest soldier in the troop. But as Che Guevara says: "The pace of the guerrilla is the pace of its slowest fighter"... well... we started slowly.
I trained hard this winter, in the gym with my coach and on my bike, but few on the road beacuse it was ALWAYS rainy. I don't get tired. But I'm slow, especially when the road goes up. At the opposite my son is very good on climbing and a blast on descending: we started slowly, I kept slowly and my son broke away. He joined some better trained young cyclists and did the ride on his own. 
I must add that my performace was affected by two set backs, one unavoidable (bad timed 'period') the other maybe a consequence (I forgot my cycling shoes). Riding on normal shoes a race bike with clipped pedals isn't the best, especially on climbs. Anyway, I survived and didn't get so badly dropped. Actually I spent the morning on my dad's wheel and just went by my pace on the hardest climb (Le Bolle) still without stopping. I'm quite proud.
Atop the climb
It's an easy nice ride, almost a classic for the riders in the area of Florence: you can start from Ponte San Niccolò, climb to Piazzale Michelangelo (enjoy the stunning view of Florence), follow the Viale dei Colli till Piazzale Galileo and then down to Galluzzo. There is a little traffic there so maybe you can opt for a steeper but quieter way: Poggio Imperiale). Then you go for 'Greve', passing the beautiful Certosa and the city mess behind. 
I rode on these!!
The road is nice, partially in the sun but often in the shadow of the trees. You can admire the vineyards and the famous factories of 'cotto' (earthenware manufacts like tile, big vases named 'orci', statues for the garden...). After some kms you arrive to Passo dei Pecorai, where there is a crossroads: both the road go to Greve but the one at your right is flat, the one at your left is steep and leads to the climb named Le Bolle
Atop that climb there is beautiful view and then you can choose: to complete Le Bolle and to descend toward Florence by Chiocchio and Grassina or to go back to Greti to rejoin the flat road for Greve. Once in Greti you can also go back to Passo dei Pecorai for the flat road, and that's what we did. To avoid Le Bolle - I do it but NOT on no-cycling-shoes! - we went back toward Scopeti and took the road to Strada in Chianti, coming back to Florence by Grassina, Ponte a Ema and Gavinana. 
The first shy tanline of the season (more to come hopefully!)
It's more or less 57 km. A shorter - easier - version is: drive to Scopeti or Falciani, let there your car and ride till Greti (or Greve: few kms further but with a climb on your way back). A harder way back is: do all the climb of Le Bolle till Chicchio and ride down toward Strada and Grassina.
Anyway it's nice and you'll meet tons of cyclists on the road!

See the MAP with the route here:
https://goo.gl/maps/P1Lqn

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