Cycling is a matter of the heart, and no, I’m not just being sentimental. Cycling gets that muscle in the middle of your chest pumping. It beats to keep us alive and it beats for each pedal stroke. If your legs are spinning, it’s thanks to that little motor, the size of a fist, that pumps blood through your arteries and veins.
Let's be clear: you don't necessarily have to have an athlete's fitness with a 40 BPM resting heart rate, like great sporting champions had and have. It’s enough to have a heart that works well and to take care of it, training it to take on fatigue and emotions. But here, I see how I might appear sentimental again. After all, it’s difficult to remain indifferent to the wonders that we are about to encounter.
Italy, too, has a beating heart of beauty that you’ll explore in this Collection. You’ll pedal through Umbria, the most inland part of the peninsula. Its valleys and mountains, fortresses and bell towers, villages and monasteries are surrounded by the only sea you’ll see in these parts – the iridescent green ocean of olive groves, vineyards and swathes of woodland.
For some Umbrians, Foligno is the centre of everything: 'Lu centru de lu munnu',as they say proudly – and with a tinge of irony – in these parts. Until fairly recently, a historic café in Foligno’s centre, the Sassovivo, claimed that the Umbilicus Urbis Romae (the ancient symbolic centre of a city that measured the distance to Rome) was exactly in the centre of its billiard table. Today, unfortunately, the café has closed, replaced by a cosmetics shop – perhaps a sign of the times.
(Adapted for komoot from 'Alvento Destinations', a book of 13 travel ideas that every cyclist should do at least once: alvento.cc/prodotto/alvento-destinations-italy-unknown/)
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Last updated: November 25, 2022
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