June 18, 2014  |  The real thing

Day 4 – Siena to Grosseto

Today’s ride has been like a bag of haribo starmix. I’d say allsorts but I don’t like liquorice, and anyone reading this will be well aware of my haribo obsession.

Heart (my favourite): the sunshine in the morning made for a very blue sky over the stunning rolling hills. We are cycling through chianti country at the moment and there are vineyards as far as the eye can see, as well as fields of sweetcorn, olive trees and even sunflowers.

Egg (second favourite but with the risk of being somewhat splatted if dropped!): the long sweeping downhills, which pass the miles in a flash when you have been slogging uphill for hours and making very little progress.

Ring (always appreciated): A gorgeous lunch at Sofia’s. She let us park the bikes in the restaurant and then proceeded to provide delicious pizza and pasta, ice cream desserts and local beer for the boys. A fab refuel before a little more climbing, just when we thought we’d done for the day.

Gummy bear (just because): Today’s route has been interesting. We started with some off roading on private land, then some off roading uphill, followed by some off roading up a hillside covered by what I could best describe as scrub land. We had to get off and push. The end of the route also involved some questionable terrain to avoid us having to carry the bikes over the central reservation of a motorway to get to our hotel. Fortunately the beauty of google maps is that we worked out the short cut back in Manchester.

And the cola bottles (that you always save till last and only eat coz they are there): the rain. Riding downhill in rain showers that caused steam to come back off the road reminded me of the water sprinklers you get on the 10k run. No choice but to press on though.

Cycling is a social sport. We manage a ciao to everyone we pass in Lycra and today we met a friendly guy half way up a hill. He was cycling from Amsterdam to Rome.

A common problem for a cyclist is the dog that runs along the fence, barking. Well, we had a hilarious run in with a group of dogs when on route to our hotel, riding down a dirt track. We turned a corner and passed a kennel. Once 1 dog spotted us and barked, the rest followed and we had to carry on past a cacophony of barking, while the owners looked on.

Our digs tonight are a farmhouse in the countryside. We have a pool, a restaurant that has just provided a gorgeous 3 course meal and wine, and a big screen to watch the football.

By Becci Johnson

Chief blogger and haribo coordinator.


  1. Your all doing great, and me being an amateur cyclist with the local canal path being my limit, I am very envious of you all. Good luck for the rest of the trip & special praises to Andy.

  2. Am loving getting the updates every evening Becci…..keep it up! All sounds amazing, if not challenging! X x

  3. Very interesting report tonight. Particularly liked the comparison to Haribo, off roading sounds adventurous !!!!!

  4. Great pictures. Good to see you’re all still going. Must be getting into the rhythm now.. Who’s the bear?

  5. This one didn’t come up on Facebook. Wondered where you’d got to!