|The Sprocket Waiting for Me|
Stansted is a great airport with a good Spar supermaket where you can get reasonably priced sandwiches and coffee.
I arrived at Bologna and as I wasn't due in Milan to collect my bike and gear from Ed until the evening, I decided to try and hitch. Again with no success.
I got a local bus into the centre that no one seemed to pay on, including myself and then a thirteen euro train to Milan.
I set off for a gas station and immediately the chain started jumping the sprocket. I went to adjust the back wheel, only to find that the sprocket had no teeth for the chain to jump.
It was a shock and I was left wondering which of five options to take. These included staying in Milan and waiting for my spare sprocket to be delivered from England, to adjusting the tension on the chain so that it wouldn't slide around the sprocket.
I chose the latter and managed to ride gently off to La Spezia.
If ever I find any money, I am going to set up a road sign business in Italy and if the government ever get round to erecting any I will be first out the blocks and make a fortune.
It was a nightmare just finding the road out to Opera and worse still finding the mountain trail that would lead me straight to La Spezia. I eventually finished up in Pavia and had to work my way back to where I wanted to travel.
|Looking down at Bibbio|
I arrived at dusk at a small town called Serravalle Scrivia and decided to settle there for the night.
I stopped at the station bar for a couple of beers and was alerted that a young guy was eyeing up my wallet when paying for a drink, by the bar girl. He went out for a cigarette so decided to tackle the situation by joining him for a chat.
He turned out a nice lad and was just coming home from work in Genoa, who had a bike himself and was just curious about me. I slept in the waiting room and was woken on three or four occasions by fast moving freight trains blasting their way through the cold Italian night.
Coffees as usual in the morning and then I set off in glorious sunshine into the same hills I had traversed two weeks earlier. The bike made it down to Genoa where it eventually lost all traction .
Once I had made enough indents to the surface of the sprocket I pushed it into life and was off to La Spezia.
I was having to accelerate painfully slow, as I didn't want to strip the notches I had just made.
The Riviera coast line is really pretty, though busy and it was slow travelling, but eventually I reached Rappallo.
I had no sooner pulled up when the polizia locale pulled up on a motor scooter to tell me my helmet was illegal..
Really said I and all he could say was "well I have told you anyway, goodbye."
I slept in the waiting room of the station with a couple of other guys who had obviously missed their last train home and was off first thing to Sestri Levante for a couple of coffees and a phone battery recharge at the marina edge looking back at Genova.
|The route I should have taken to La Spezia|
|Looking over the AutoStrada towards the coast|
The wonder of the hills gave way to the tedium of straight road, running the length of the beach resorts south of La Specia, so, when I arrived in Viareggio I was more than ready to stop the night. It was a Sunday and there were still people coming back from the beach and heading home in their cars and heading on foot to the station where I decided to linger for a nights rest and have another look at the sprocket the next day.
|La Spezia Marina|