Mad dogs and Englishmen (and a Swiss girl)

June 25, 2014  |  The real thing

Day 10 – Salerno to Sala Consilina

Our 57 mile (shortest) day started with the wheel fitting back on my bike, only minor issue with the gears not sitting quite right but I can live with that. Having realised in the process that Mark had been carrying the wrong inner tube for mine and Ian’s bikes we stopped at a bike shop on the way to replace the useless one. Before Mark and I caught up the rest of the guys, as misfortune would have it, Andy got a puncture. I’m amazed that he lasted that long without marathon tyres and with all the off roading we have been doing.

The upside was that we were opposite a roadside cafe so we sampled the chocolate treats as the temperature registering on the garmin reached 47 degrees.

Bike fixed, we pressed on for some inevitable off roading. Frustratingly, Andy had more bike issues, which Mark had to sort out before we headed in to the hills in a steaming 40 degrees. The reward for all the up was the most amazing, clear downhill on which, even I managed 37 mph. Mark reached the top speed – ever; 47 mph and then freaked out and slowed down. I should mention that the speed limit on the road was 50 kph!

All this was before lunch at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere which caused Ian to tell us that he ‘would have been a great cowboy’ in the atmosphere of a spaghetti western. Christine was served a dubious looking mint tea. This must be lost in translation as it’s the second time that’s happened.


All day we has to contend with dogs yapping at our heels, including some particularly scabby, rabid looking things as we headed uphill. That always makes for some fast peddling.

Once in the hills, having ignored a road closure sign, and passed a pack of dogs armed with a large stick, we pressed on to avoid the official detour on the motorway (bikes not allowed). This turned in to our second Top Gear esq adventure.

What do you do when the road bridge has collapsed and your options are to press on anyway or take an obscene detour? Press on of course. We had to cross the ravine on foot. It was akin to crossing the Grand Canyon with the bikes.

photo 2

We made it across though, with lots of time chewed up, and pressed on.

Being acutely aware that the biggest hill of the day, and possibly the trip, was still to come, and with our water supply running low, we took a slight detour to find a bar and talked nicely to the owner who opened for us and provided drinks and filled our bottles. We got chatting to a few locals who were milling about and told them what we were about to do. One man offered up a prayer, which should give you some idea of what we were facing – 5k of up and up and up. Several people tooted their horns in support and one man pulled over and offered us water.

At the top, Ian earned the ouch badge for a less than graceful fall after Mark turned in front of him. He had time to swear but forgot to un clip his feet.

As we continued with the last up to the hotel the garmin tried to take us up steps- yeah right. We struggled to locate the hotel and sought assistance from a man who appeared to know everything that was going on in the town. He told us that there were no reservations in the hotel that night. Somehow that turned out to be true when we eventually got hold of the proprietor. With the help of google translate the lovely Roberto told us that the b&b was closed and that there had been a mix up with the dates, which left them waiting for us last month. However he was going to get the cleaning lady to come and prepare the rooms and then he provided us with juice. The b&b itself, St Peter’s tower, was amazing, and enjoyed stunning views over the countryside.

Not wanting to be in the way we went out for dinner in our Lycra. We caused a bit of a stir in the town just after Italy went out of the World Cup. Luckily the locals soon realised we weren’t German and joined the boys in commiserating.

The only restaurant we could find in an otherwise bustling town, was down a steep hill and provided more pizza, more meat, more bread, and more mozzarella. We got told off by the waitress for not finishing our food and at one point I thought she was going to make us stay until we had finished.

We headed back to the hotel for showers and bed, and to use the washing machine. As we were sorting ourselves out the lights went out and we were plunged in to darkness. After checking out 3 fuse boxes without success we tried to call Roberto. He didn’t get our messages but Andy caught him walking past outside and he sorted us out, just as we were thinking we would have to go to bed in the dark, with the garmins not charged, and our clothes held hostage in the washing machine.

Finally to bed, exhausted. Hence the lack of post yesterday.


By Becci Johnson

Chief blogger and haribo coordinator.


  1. I picked up your text at lunchtime today – very glad to get it and glad it was no worse.

  2. What a day, it made us feel exhausted just reading it.
    Hardly surprised you did not have time to blog!
    It was a very entertaining write up which we enjoyed.