I have had the pleasure to discover the beautiful island by completing three one-week trips around by bike.
Marcello and his team in Ichnusa organized them all.
The first trip was an easy GPS guided ride with a friend of mine from Norway. We explored the south west part of the Island and met locals that helped us along the way. Not speaking the language makes the conversation a bit on the more simple and banal, but the food and wine is very good and the prices absolutely affordable.
Together with the outstanding service and help from all we met (including an unplanned change to the GPS route, sorry Ichnusa team, but thanks for sorting it out), it was easy to call it an appetizer and come back for seconds.
The next time I toured with my own bike, but without fellow countrymen. Apart from a Canadian lady (the only female!), I was the only non-Italian in the group. I choose the spring tour and the classic track. We were not very lucky with the weather and I remember the day where the team from Ichnusa terminated the ride half through the day – the cold and rain were simply too unbearable. As a foreigner with zero Italian language skills, I could see on the faces of every rider that this was a wise decision.
No reason to get a cold when we had many days remaining on the tour. We were guided to a restaurant, completely soaked and shivering, but we were met with warmth of all kinds. The fireplace was lit and bottles of some sort of anti-cold "medicine" were passed around, all were well taken care of.
When I decided to return a third time from Trondheim, Norway to Sardinia, this event and the decision to return was simple—it became a second home of sorts. This time I would cycle the west track. I was lucky to meet several friends from the last trip—it was like coming back to an adopted bike homeland full of hills, great food and warm people and all with a great interest in discovering new land and experience challenging bike tracks – up as well as down.
The lunch is served in the open, either from the back on the jeep that brings supplies into the wildness (or helps one or two bikers around the next corner or the rest of the day) or from a hasty deployed camping table. The food tastes so good!So far there is no female among the Transardinians.
Rumor is that this Canadian lady might be the first; hurry up Ms Chambers.
That does not mean that the ride is for morbid macho people, only. On the other hand, it is not a ride for those who preferred a pit stop at two or three restaurants to enjoy the local wine before supper. This ride is more for people that are fairly well trained, like to travel off road and enjoy single tracks where the cows think they own the land.
I do not speak Italian at all, most people communicate well in English, but there are a few words that one has to learn rather fast like destra, sinistra, dritto and a few more like birra, acqua and vino rosso/bianco. The latest are well learned so the challenge is more to have the right Sicilian say.
After some days other words will be learned and very practical cibo, puntura, pranzo and not to forget kit di riparazione, pompa di bicicletta, ghiaia and asfalto and dietro l’angolo and from time to time the word inferno to explain the immediate pain in the legs (muscolo).
And massage is massaggi, but that is hard to get!
Thanks to all fellow riders for some memorable days and to the Ichnusa people who deliver the best service off-road as well as from the office.