This past Sunday, I found myself alone with the kids on a beautiful Spring day, so under the warm morning sun, I motivated my lazy butt to finally find our bike rack in the storage room, figure out how to attach it to our bumper-less Fiat (with help from YouTube videos of course), pump up tires that had been neglected for a few months, and finally, mount the three bikes on the rack. Yes! That’s how excited I was to try out a bike trail that runs from the center of our town, Casalecchio di Reno to Bologna’s centro, about an 11 mile (18 km) trip, there and back.
Zoel and Leeloo, who love anything that smells of exploration, were uncharacteristically cooperative for a weekend morning, getting themselves ready quickly and agreeing to snacks on the road instead of a real lunch at home. Right after noon, we were making our way down our gravel/dirt road and incredibly, the bike rack was staying in place around sharp turns and over ditches, granted I was only going about 15 mph (20kmph), but clearly this trip was meant to be! Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind played on the radio, windows were down, wind in our hair, and bikes holding on.
The path turned out to be a little under-groomed and poorly marked on the Casalecchio side, but still well-paved and wide, so that the kids could pass each other without fights and bumping into each other. After a couple wrong turns and adventuring into industrial parts of town, we soon caught up with the Reno river that separates Casalecchio from Bologna, and rode beside it for quite awhile into this bigger city. The path went green as we crossed a park, filled with strolling nonni (grandparents), playing children and lots of other bikers. Plenty of obstacles for practicing polite passing, safe distances from wobbly old people, and taking turns leading the pack.
Outside the park, the number of times I yelled “Leeloo, Stop at the street!” may have been a little excessive, but hey, it was the girl’s first long city bike ride as her own driver. In under an hour, we arrived at Porta Saragozza, which isn’t that far off from where the kids go to school in Bologna (Could we do this every morning?! they asked. “Hmmm…let me get back to you about that.”)
At the gelateria under the terracotta-colored sidewalk archways, Nutella and Fior di Latte ice cream cones we’re enjoyed by all before we headed back. Little did we know that the real excitement was yet to come…. see you tomorrow!