Asti day ride - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

October 17, 2018

Asti day ride

Well, none of that mechanic’s magic dust rubbed off on me back in Novara because that mechanic didn’t have any to spare.  He didn’t really seem like he’d seen a disc brake before, actually.  He didn’t fix them worse exactly, because the bike stops on command now.   The front brake began rubbing badly toward the end of yesterday’s ride though, so we start our day by heading off to another bike store.

Or is it a cafe, or maybe a bar?  The Giusta Bike Shop & Cafe tries to have it both ways, and two gents are hanging out having cappuccinos and reading the daily news as we roll our bikes in the door.  It’s a pretty great bike store too, and our new favorite.  The friendly, personable mechanic clearly does know what he’s doing (it’s a Shimano certified repair shop), takes his time, adjusts all four of our brakes, and chats us up a bit.  He wants to know where we’re from and where we’re bound, and when we leave he wants us to pose in front of the shop so he can post a photo on the shop’s website.  A great establishment.

In the Giusta Bike Shop & Cafe
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Giusta’s big claim to greatness is its association with this Ukrainian lady, who doubles as a world record holding ultracyclist and hot model. The shop sponsors a women’s racing team, which is cool all by itself. Last year though, the team hosted Elena when she was in Piemonte for her attempt to break the 24 hour distance record (female, on a velodrome). She was successful, and broke 11 different world records in the process.
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Rachael’s smiling for some odd reason. She’d like to bring thIs Italian bike mechanic along the road with us.
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Today’s ride is a short loop northwest of Asti.  Like yesterday’s ride, this one is terrific cycling.  Piemonte is quickly becoming a favorite region with us.  It looks like there are endless small, empty roads to explore.  One of the best cycling areas we’ve seen, anywhere.

More cycling greatness is on the agenda today, with miles of quiet roads like this ahead.
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We’re biking a loop northwest of Asti today. It’s hillier, a bit wilder and more rugged than yesterday’s terrain.
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From our high point of the day, we get an immense view of the Alps at the Swiss and French borders. They extend to almost 90 degrees of the horizon.
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Lavender!
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The church at Villa San Secundo, the hilltop village where we stopped for lunch. And I recognize the style now: Piemontese Gothic!
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I really liked this odd shaped structure in Villa San Secundo.
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In Villa San Secundo, taking in some of Piemonte’s finest: great cheese, great views
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You’re never far from a hill village here in Monferrato. This is Montechiaro d’Asti, the next one to the west.
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They should put an information panel at this viewpoint, to identify all the big peaks you can see from here. I’m curious about this old wall too, that just tapers off to nothing in the field.
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It’s a great day for the cycling, but a pretty sorry tail bovinewise. With not a cow to be seen all day long, I do my best. Nearly a cow, if you use your imagination.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesHorses are good too. Also sheep, chickens, swans, etc
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyI can see it .. shorten the neck, widen the head and belly, thicken through legs, and add some horns.

Looks just like a cow!
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1 month ago
So why can’t we just move here?
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Looking up at Cortazzone, a hill village we don’t bike up to for a nice change
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It was all about hills before lunch, but the ride back to Asti is fast and flat.
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We get back to our room by 3:30, shower quickly and then head out to walk through town again while it’s still light out.  We get a better look, but our impressions aren’t really any better the second time through.  It’s just not an easy town to walk through, and not at all pedestrian friendly until you finally make it to the commercial zone.  Too many cars, moving too fast, with too little clearance.  Pretty unusual town in that regard.

After it starts turning dusky we return to our room to pass the time until the dinner hour.  Tonight’s venue was Il Cavolo a Merenda, a nice looking place we saw yesterday that opened later in the evening, too late for us to hang around for.  It’s another fine place to eat, so there’s that to say for Asti - there’s more to life than just pedestrian safety, after all.  At the end of the meal we strike up a conversation with our neighbors, a Swiss couple from Zurich (actually, they’re a blend - he’s Swiss, she’s Italian).  He’s well familiar with Oregon, from a tour down the Pacific coast he took a few years back.  Oregon was his favorite part, of course.

Oh, yes - one last thing to say about the day.  We dropped off our laundry at the desk yesterday (a splurge, but reasonable - they charged 10 euros), and picked it up this afternoon.  They did a nice job - clean, nicely folded in a bag, but camouflaged - they hid the wet laundry on the bottom, layered over with dry articles.  Pretty strange.  We’ve got underwear and shirts hanging from the walls everywhere.

We made it back to town in time to see the cathedral again while it was still sunlit.
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It’s lighter inside, but still pretty dim.
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In the Asti Cathedral
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In the Asti Cathedral
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The Illuminati, In the Asti Cathedral
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Torre Dei Comentini di San Bernardino. XIII century, Piemontese Gothig. Now a condominium complex.
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Another view of Torre die Comentini
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And one more
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Torre Rossa, XI century. If I understand the Italian infopanel well enough, it has some association with the old Roman gate.
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To 3000 kilometers! We’re breaking new ground here - this is now the longest distance tour either of us has taken.
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Jen GrumbyCongratulations!! You 2 are Rock Stars!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyNot sure about that, but we’re pretty happy with ourselves right now. We’ll have to see if it holds up when the rains arrive tomorrow. We could prove to be fair weather tourists.
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1 month ago
This is how we like Asti best - at night, with all of its frustrating car traffic gone.
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Xxx

Ride stats today: 34 mixxx
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Today's ride: 34 miles (55 km)
Total: 1,890 miles (3,042 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 1
david alstonAll bike shops like all bookstores should double as coffee shops.

David
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1 month ago