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Trip Blog

Mon
20
Jun
Alia Parker's picture

Why I've been MIA and other life stories

Me, at Mount Hotham, not riding a bike.

You know that cliché that starts, 'when life throws you a curve ball'? Brace yourselves, I'm about to use it. I'd like to say I've been thrown a major one, because I never saw this – my life – coming. But isn't that the story for all of us? When you have the attention span of a gnat, itchy feet and an aversion to normal, you don't get thrown curve balls; you are the curve ball. And I wouldn't want it any other way. It makes life interesting, and interesting is anything but predictable.

Tue
18
Aug
Alia Parker's picture

Cycling this part of Italy has been way too fun

Cycling is just a way of life in Cesenatico.

I'm keener than ever to ride today. The day off the bike has worked wonders and although I'm still lacking sleep, the buffet breakfast on the terrace at The Grand Hotel Cesenatico is fuelling me up just brilliantly. This beach-side hotel is a charming step back in time; TV and wifi aside, it doesn't feel like much has changed since it opened in 1929. But while its ornate architecture still resonates yesteryear beauty, it's the staff that really do this place justice. It's also a Terrabici bike hotel, so we cyclists are taken good care of.

Wed
22
Jul
Alia Parker's picture

Montevecchio, Pantani, and a place to come back to

The top of Montevecchio, Emilia Romagna, in memory of Marco Pantani.

I have sandbags weighing down my eyes – heavy, gritty, sandbags. My first two days in Italy have been too much fun. Still recovering from the long sleepless flight from Australia, two days of cycling, late nights wining and dining, and very little sleep, my body has staged a coup. I'm falling asleep at the breakfast table and the coffee isn't helping. In half an hour I need to be kitted up and chasing the guys through the mountains – the same steep hills Marco Pantani rode on his way to greatness. 

Thu
09
Jul
Alia Parker's picture

Cycling the panoramic coast road along Italy's Adriatic Sea

Alia Parker, far right, with the bunch cycling along the Adriatic Coast, Italy. Source: Andrea Manusia.

I'm up early to take full advantage of the generous buffet breakfast for cyclists at Hotel Dory. Scrambled eggs and prosciutto with freshly sliced sourdough followed by a plate of summer fruit and a cappuccino. Ahhh, cappuccino; the Italian breakfast beverage named for being the same colour as the cloaks of the Capuchin monks, adopted, refined and obsessed over by Australians like a fine drop of Shiraz from the Barossa. Traditionally, milky coffee is only consumed of a morning, after which, it's straight up shots of espresso. Makes sense to this cyclist. Two down and I'm ready for the day's ride.

Wed
24
Jun
Alia Parker's picture

Cycling, Italian style. We ride delightful Emilia Romagna

Terrabici hire bike at the Via degli Ulivi olive oil farm. Cycle Traveller

The warm early summer air rides the sea breeze as we roll through the streets of Riccione. There are about 14 of us, all in brightly coloured Lycra to match the holiday mood, cruising along in a procession of pairs. By the side of the road, an old man's face lights up at the sight of us and reaching for a bottle, he splashes us with water as if we are sweating in out in a race. Here in Italy, respect for the sport of cycling is undeniable: cars give way, or slip around us like well greased components moving in sync, and as we reach the top of a climb, tourists line the way with their hands outstretched, hoping we'll tag them like a champion athlete. Suffice to say, riding a road bike in Italy is infectious.

Tue
10
Feb
Alia Parker's picture

Top 10 places to see on Australia's Red Centre Route

Aboriginal art at Ubirr Rock, Kakadu. Cycle Traveller

It's a long ride through the centre of Australia, and it's also a long way between stops. Just as well that the scenery is spectacular. After cycling from Adelaide to Darwin on the inaugural Red Centre Route ride in 2014 (we'll be releasing the route maps in the coming months), here, listed from north to south, are our favourite attractions for cyclists to stop and soak in the atmosphere of Central Australia. Kicking off the list is one of Australia's most famous national parks, Kakadu, and in particular these two experiences within the park itself.

Tue
13
Jan
Simon Parker's picture

Grampians to Adelaide in a hot, fiery and wet summer

My touring bike in Strathalbyne South Australia. Cycle Traveller

As most cycle tourists know, weather can sometimes make or break a trip. And nowhere is this more relevant than during an Australian summer, particularly at a time when weather patterns appear increasingly random and hard to predict. Having extended our trip by adding Cape York to our journey, we knew this would mean travelling through some parts of the country – western Victoria and South Australia – during a potentially hot summer.

Tue
23
Dec
Simon Parker's picture

The wheel thing: this has only happened in Victoria

A bike path near Tawonga in the Kiewa Valley, Victoria. Cycle Traveller

The shock of it almost had me fall off my bike. I couldn't rationalise it when it happened, as it was the first time it had occurred in around 10,000kms. At first I thought I had imagined it – the only thing that had ever passed us were cars and trucks. Oh, and a kangaroo, almost to the detriment of my wife Alia when it decided, at the last nanosecond, that it wanted to cross the road in front of her bike. I digress. Why the kangaroo wanted to cross the road is one for a later blog perhaps.

Thu
11
Dec
Simon Parker's picture

So you think Australia is flat? We'll show you 'flat'

Cycling the climbs of the Great Dividing Range on the GDR. Cycle Traveller

Australia may be the flattest continent on earth, but don't make the mistake of thinking it's all flat. Ride these gorgeous climbs on the GDR Route and your legs will be begging for mercy.

Sat
08
Nov
Simon Parker's picture

Cycling from the gas fields to the islands in the sky

Cyclcing the GDR Route near the Darling Downs. Cycle Traveller

We've tried incredibly hard to have the GDR Route avoid intense mining and resource extraction areas due to the extra traffic these sites generate on what are often roads that, in our view, aren't properly equipped to handle it. Trucks, road trains, buses, mining employee vehicles – it's never gridlock, but it's in stark contrast to the blissful quiet roads we've been on since leaving Cape York.

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