If I had to write an interesting account, enriched with beautiful photos from our route between Milan and San Remo, I would sit in a corner and weep. At least half of it is just as exciting as driving from Warsaw to Otwock, then to Warka ... only fewer shops, worse asphalt and views, I think too. Starting from the beginning of the most organizationally demanding trip in the history of our cycling: 



tl; dr, meaning the version for the insane

  • Ryanair from Modlin to Bergamo - PLN 50-150 one way
  • From Bergamo to Medialon every 15 minutes the bus for 5 euros
  • Overnight in Milan from PLN 50-60 (for a shared room in a hostel) and above. We pay a little over PLN 2,000 for 2 very decent apartments in the city center with a total area of ​​over 250 meters for 12 people, thanks to which we can park 12 bikes and 20 times as many bars.
  • From Milan to San Remo via Genoa, the train costs about 30 euros, when traveling less than 4 hours; a few euros less, if we do not care about time.
  • Overnight in a decent hotel in the center of one of the small towns near Sanremo 60 euros per night in a double room (5 euros more for an extra bed for the 3rd person - according to the rule that if there are x students somewhere, then x + 1 will also fit ).
  • A ride on the Milan-San Remo classic route: 1/5, for me - it's not worth it.
  • Time required for driving: you should count up to 15 hours when traveling typically. With an ambitious group, without unnecessary hairpin, I think it can be calmly under 10 hours. For the record: in the first 286-kilometer M-SR in 1907. the winner needed 11 hours and 4 minutes.
  • Cheering on the race route: it's worth it if it's done properly - read below.
  • Milan is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but San Remo is definitely more expensive. Speaking nicely - there is a turbo expensive.
  • Liguria for a bike is great, but you need to like improvisations and have a good leg.



This is NOT the route of the race.
This is NOT the route of the race.

Organizational masterpiece, or the longest sentence of the world.

I have a very good connection to you - in the morning a tram to work, Philip takes me back to Modlin, from where I take a plane to Bergamo, where Adam is waiting for me, who has just landed by plane from Sweden, then a bus to Milan and somehow to the hotel where bikes are waiting, which Piotrek brought to Przem (famous przemekzawada.com!!!) to Jelenia, from where the latter brought them with a bus and ride them (with these bikes), with friends from Wroclaw, who join somewhere along the way, to San Remo, from which we will get to Genoa from where there must be a connection return to the place from which we will get a bus to the airport, from which we will somehow go to the house. Then only a week of waiting until the bike goes with Przeme to Jelenia where will bring him Piotrek, along with the car that I needed to go on holidays, but I forgot that I do not have it and you can get to Sobótka. The plan was so complicated that we did not even have an overnight stay in Italy 3 days before we left.





Milan is bad

Milan is the least cycling city of all that I have visited. For this is expensive, but as it turns out later, do not brush in this matter to San Remo. The situation does not save even the fact that it has a rich history associated with bicycles and Bianchi Cafe next to the market. Unfortunately, an hour's bus ride away from him (5 euros) is the airport in Bergamo - probably the cheapest flight connection from Poland. There are of course better directions from Bergamo, such as Bormio, lying next to the best passes in the world, unfortunately it is winter, and we planned a 310-kilometer route on Friday: in the footsteps of a pro-tour.




We leave the city a week. Narrow roads, heavy traffic, Italian driving school and lights every intersection is not what the cyclists like the most. I quickly realize why all traces found on the net began outside the city. We, as people with overgrown ambitions, decided to go from the starting point to the line (which we probably did not find our way). We finished the unpacking to the apartment around 2 am only to pack 7 litter again on the bus. So we put a little sleep on all the lights. Organizatively, we have failed. So what if we had "super-exclusive deluxe" apartments in the city center, since we spent several hours in them. Even the June Gran Fondo Milan-San Remo does not start from the city center.


The road from Milan is also bad




After leaving the city is only worse. We travel on a route for 100 kilometers, which could easily lead to Otwock, Częstochowa or anywhere else. Large traffic, dubious asphalt quality, classic, main, suburban road. Nothing happens. I think mainly that the wind blows in the face and extrapolate these 3 hours of noise for a dozen or so hours that we will spend on this day in the saddle. It will be painful.


Sometimes it gets interesting ... for a moment




Television coverage never shows the initial kilometers of the race. Looking at the first hours of driving, I'm not surprised. It turns out, however, that our track leads through the center of small, Italian towns. Pink arrows placed at all intersections confirm our belief that we are going the right way. If it were not for the road signs wrapped in a yoga mat from time to time, I would never guess that the next day, one of the best-known spring classics would pass this way the next day. This is not how I imagine a place through which a 200-person peloton will travel at speeds exceeding 40 km / h.


The road begins somewhere in the middle of the route.



It's only around the 150th kilometer that it starts to do a little better. The area becomes green, the first hills appear - this means that we are approaching Genoa. A beautiful city that I recommend to everyone. Unfortunately, the professional peloton has to miss a bit of the road a day later. A landslide hurts several drivers. As there were no stores like that, fortunately the number of cars drastically diminishes. It's logical, I do not know where to go. Here is a small tip: in most stores it's hard to buy a sandwich, but if we ask the seller, he will definitely make us a perfect panini with Italian ham.




Then it's cool, almost as it should be all the time. We drive along the coast, there is little traffic, there are no shoulders, but the view of the slowly setting sun compensates. We have a chance to look carefully at this phenomenon, because we are going along the sea from around 16 to 21. On the way we pass tourist resorts, which are definitely nice to drive, if we go to a local cafe for a cake, but passing through the 20th in turn lights and the pedestrian lanes become tiresome. We avoid traffic jams by going against the current, because it can not be otherwise.
It is hilly on the coast. A few hills, then quite heavy Cipressa, which we tire with sadness driving around 9km / h for about half an hour. Poggio is great, because the vehicle is accompanied by the awareness that we will go straight to the finish line.



Was it worth going anyway?

Among the 6 people who traveled the route, there are 6 opinions on whether it is worth it. You can hear our exchange of views on this subject in one of the newest podts on the SZOSY profile (or not, because I do not think I have recorded it;)). In addition, Wojtek's column devoted to this performance can be found in the May issue. In my opinion: no. Maybe if you go on a holiday when there is no traffic on the roads or in June, along with hundreds / thousands of other cyclists during the official Gran Fondo. For a dozen or so hours, I was accompanied by the thought that smaller, somewhere along hills, empty, winding, undiscovered winding along our main road. Instead of pounding through the holes, between the trucks, you can visit the local villages and mountain nooks, rushing serpentine. That's how I remembered Liguria after last year's visit here and for the remaining 3 days I tried to recreate these memories. 




And tradition is that a day after a long tour is a leg like never before. The first climb to which we get is an hour and more than a thousand meters high. It quickly turns out to be a standard in this area. 


Race is good, but you have to be able to

Saturday is also the day when our route repeats. We support the key race podium - Poggio. If someone wants to "go cheer on" it is not a good idea. The public transport is switched off a few hours before the column travels. We cover several kilometers from the shoe to the place. Then only an hour of waiting, the cyclists fly in a minute and you can come back. It's only in the picture that I see that the first person who passes us is Kwiatkowski as a small escape. This is not how it is done. Taking an example from the Italians, who have experience in cheering, like no other, it was necessary to take a bicycle here. Best a lot earlier, with a table, sandwiches and TV. Then it makes sense, the man will get into the atmosphere.




Returning, however, to Liguria itself: it is very nice but demandingly. In addition to the "café" cycling path along the coast, ideal as a meeting place before or after the ride, the area is difficult. Ramps keep a steady, pleasant slope, but most of them are an hour of climbing.




This time of year is problematic in that it is snowing above 1000-1200m.npm (I remember that most of the routes start from the sea level). It happens so much that sometimes you have to turn back. The temperature reminds us of Tenerife, where we frozen the ends of the descents on the beach, among the sunbathing tourists.




Landscapeally, I would rate it on "moderate wow". The hills are, but most are covered by trees. From time to time, you get a nice view of the seaside town or a stone village somewhere in the middle of anything that looks like deserted. The best roads are those that are difficult to find on the map. Nobody is planning a route at this level of approximation, so sometimes it's worth to get carried away by fantasy and turn a little spontaneously.




It is these places that create a real Italian atmosphere. Because it is not the sea and not the landscapes that make the greatest impression, and the buildings and atmosphere. More than the panoramas, we will remember these towns. Having the right time it is worth stopping in for a classic coffee break. We do not like the length of the day. 100km is usually a minimum of 5 hours of gross travel. 





GoPro is evil (sometimes)

Liguria is one of the first places where my GoPro on a stick did not really work. This time, small objects located somewhere on the horizon did the job. To capture them, it would be nice to have a camera, which after traveling 310 kilometers with stuffed pockets, I did not really want to carry. Therefore, that old, stone towns towering above all around, make an amazing impression, you have to believe the word.





Pictures on the facebook (link)