Sicily - first thoughts when thinking of this land? The Godfather of course. The Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, Mario Puzo, and Corleone, all that stuff that is well known to every Italian Mafia nerd. What this island has to offer when it comes to cycling? We were about to find out when we landed there at the beginning of September to do a photoshoot of the new Rondo Line-up.
After landing in Catania we are heading to a car rental agency. If you’re a bit stressed out every time you drive a car then maybe you should think about NOT renting a car while in Sicily. To say the traffic is crazy is to say nothing at all. At first glance it’s a complete madness - literally, every single car has its own battle scars and the drivers seem to think of themselves only. You have to be really focused to drive a car here for the first time.
After a couple of days, it becomes more natural and even pleasant. Think and drive, nothing more, nothing less. Don’t mind a pedestrian entering the road with a newspaper in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, just pass him gently. Or a car that stops instantly in the middle of the road, when the driver has to do a new haircut at the local barbershop.
The Etna - this volcano is a true symbol of Sicily. With its 3,326m it is the highest active volcano in Europe and one of the world’s most active ones. The climb to the Rifuggio Citelli has featured 5 times in the Giro d’Italia, in 2020 for the last time. The tarmac reaches the 1750m of elevation but the gravel section may take you to the staggering +2500m! Our Rondos are very brave here but bare in mind it’s not the easiest one – volcanic ash can be very tricky to ride and may seriously damage your tires. I know what I’m talking about, believe me, this is perhaps not the best place to do a drift but the photos were worth a bit of walking afterward. BTW – walking down the volcano, in the dark, while it’s starting to erupt – definitely the one to remember. From the seaside, through the forests to scenery entirely taken from Mars. Quite nice settings for some photo shooting, right?
It’s not so easy to escape the city of Catania but if you eventually do so you may be sure you will find this well-needed tranquility. The contrast between the chaotic, noisy city and the wild, calm villages and surrounding mountains is very interesting. Which one would you choose? It’s a rhetorical question, for us at least - more trails, please! This is what it’s all about, this is what the Rondo is designed for – fast and agile, seems like it’s born right here in the forest, always wanting more. We’re taking the pictures and enjoying the landscape, eating pizza in between. This is not the end though - Is there a better way to end the shooting day in the bushes than a Mediterranean swim? Watch out the medusa! A bite can be a bit stressful and itchy.
How do they do it? I mean the Italians. Perfect coffee. Delicious pizza. Ice cream purely made with love, the best we’ve ever eaten. What’s their secret? Or maybe this is just a true love for life? What we know for sure is that due to this whole pandemic situation good food, friends, and bicycles are even more appreciated.
Ride your bike, have fun, repeat.