Sightseeing in Lycra

June 23, 2014  |  The real thing

Day 9 – Caserta to Salerno

Today’s ride has been interesting, not for the scenery or the hills but for the drama of cycling on the outskirts of Naples. We had heard before leaving home that Naples was a nightmare for driving but nothing could have prepared us for the terrifying and exhilarating ride through the poorest city in the country. There were cars coming from every direction but you start to learn to keep on going at a steady pace and pretend to ignore everyone else on the road, while at the same time keeping a close eye on the next car coming out from the kerb or side road. To make things even more entertaining the road was cobbled; small cobbles and then massive cobbles, all of which made for a very very bumpy ride.

On route and whilst on a slip road we passed the most disturbing road kill of the trip. So far we have seen the usual small animals, several dogs and foxes. Today was a, not so long squished, snake – gross.

Lunch was takeaway again just outside Pompeii, where we managed a 2 hour sightseeing mission around the remains of Vesuvius’ destruction.


The afternoon ride was equally difficult but concentrating on staying alive made the miles pass quickly and we finished at a very reasonable 7pm. Somehow the afternoon route was made easier by avoiding the big hill and we still had the reward of the sweeping downhill towards the sea. Our last few miles were along the sea front, nice and chilled.

Of course we did not manage the day without a bike event. I noticed an issue this morning with my feet not quite getting traction and the bike cluncking every so often but throughout the day the problem got worse, to the point where I was unable to push off when I stopped. When we arrived at the hotel Mark diagnosed the problem as the hub in my back wheel being wrecked. He can fix it, but he didn’t bring the tools due to the weight. Luckily I had spotted a decathlon sign on the way in to Salerno so I was hopeful that the problem could be resolved. Although we have seen many decathlon signs but not yet seen the store.

The hotel receptionist was able to order me and Mark a taxi and negotiate with the driver to wait for us and bring us back to the hotel (the shop was about 20 minutes drive). We were able to communicate the problem to the staff at decathlon and we were told that they didn’t do that operation on site, that they would need to send the wheel to the lab, and it would take about a week. We explained that was not an option and asked for a new wheel. Luckily they had the right size in stock – the benefits of having a Btwin (decathlon) bike, and the guys said they could attach my cassette to the new wheel. Frustratingly the guys, who put the wheel in the vice to loosen the nut, managed to tighten it so much they had to call a colleague with some upper body strength to loosen it with the correct tools. The guys were extremely helpful though and managed to fit my cassette to the new wheel, while Mark could only look on, biting his lip when he tried to help and they wouldn’t let him. We haven’t tried to put the wheel back on the bike yet but all I can say is that decathlon saved me today. The service was above and beyond our expectations and we came away with problem solved in about 30 minutes.


Meanwhile the rest of the group found a bar/restaurant beside the sea. When Mark and I caught up with them they were tucking in to gorgeous steak and presented us with beer and prosseco – perfect.



By Becci Johnson

Chief blogger and haribo coordinator.


  1. Sounds like an expensive day today. Better luck tomorrow

  2. Oh dear, traffic sounds horrendous but you all survived just the bike needed some love and attention,hopefully tomorrow will be less troublesome.

  3. Well done everyone, Andy seems to be doing ok and no more events. Less than 200 cycling miles to go.