So, the first time I have travelled by air with my bike. A hired, hardened case, well packed by my bike shop. I thought check-in would be complicated but….. amazingly simple! Schiphol is a modern airport so, after my infinitely patient wife dropped me off at an unreasonably early hour, there were no stairs to climb and no no obstacles to hurdle. With 40+ kilos of weight that was no bad thing.

But not far to walk and check-in was quick. Frankly, I expected to struggle with the weight, especially of bike case. But the fact I did not need to carry it for long at all was a major boost. Not exactly traveling light but, for all of my personal complaints about modern travel, this was unexpectedly easy.

Indeed, the whole journey was unexpectedly easy. The most difficult part cane at the end with putting the bike together where I struggled despite a good explanation by my bike shop and despite photographing key elements. I will never claim to be remotely practical!

Fortunately my friends are. I was just proud to put the pedals on myself! They did the bulk of the assembly work. I held things.

And then the first ride. A short, 300 meter climb past a couple of nearby churches.

Suddenly you’re amongst a legion of giants. Looking down the valleys it is impossible not to feel utterly insignificant. Such breathtaking views were just on the warm-up ride. What is coming over the next couple of days, with Gavia, Stelvio and possibly Mortirolo.

Best of all, the first climb was in my legs. Even so short an ascent gives such a feeling. The legs moving, the right leg kicking as well. The pulse rate goes up but the excite you, the elation. It is so special. I will need to control this for the longer climbs coming up but, for that short ride, I let the exhilaration take control a little.

Even the descent went well, if slowly! I will take that.


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