Firenze Cycling MeetUp: An Easy Ride Around Florence

Me (and a naked man!)
That's the hardest point of the climb and although it isn't the Alpe d'Huez I'm proud: my pace is still good. Yeah yeah! I'm smashing it! I'm doing better than the rider in front of me. Now I shift to a longer gear, jump off the wheel and speed up to get a gap. He doesn't respond and I'm leading solo toward piazzale Michelangelo, under the beautiful pines. 
It's the first ride of the Firenze Cycling MeetUp
 http://www.meetup.com/Firenze-Cycling-Meetup/ and we planned an easy ride around Florence. The weather is surprisingly good, the trafic not too bad and I must admit (again and again) that Florence looks spendid from here. 
We stop to take a picture with the Davide by Michelangelo (a copy of course: the original is in Museo dell'Accademia, near piazza San Marco) and we are back on the sadle, up and down by Viale dei Colli till piazzale Galileo where we have two options: down to Porta Romana (short ride) or left to Galluzzo (long ride). We feel bold so is left. I keep the back of the group now because I'm not smart in the traffic and via Senese is always busy. 
In Galluzzo we turn left to take the Cinque Vie narrow street, by the small river Ema. It's a very beautiful place to ride your bike, almost flat, some gentle ups and downs. It leads to Ponte a Ema, Gino Bartali's town and headquarter of Team Aquila, my son's. We ride via Chiantigiana, till the roundabout of Ponte a Niccheri, turn left back to Ponte a Ema and right toward Bagno a Ripoli by Ritortoli. 
Here the road starts climbing and the landscape is more rural. Ritortoli is a (infamous) steep climb with several airpins coming from Bagno a Ripoli but we arrive from Ponte a Ema so for us it's a fast descent. We cross via Roma, ride down via fratelli Orsi and via del Padule till the roundabout for Florence (short ride) or Pontassieve (long ride). 
We feel done and it's time to go home so it's left in via Pian di Ripoli till the trafic light, then right in via della Nave a Rovezzano and via Crocifisso del Lume, narrow lovely streets that as a commuter I know very well. At the small roundabout it's left and then right in via San Lorenzino a Ripaltuzza till the larger via di Villamagna. 
The ride is over: I cross the bridge of Varlungo and go home by the river, the Cupola del Duomo still so big in the distance, the sun warm on my skin. Nice one! lets do it all again!

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