Milan is 40-miles away from Bergamo, an easy ride if you are so inclined. We needed a rest day and decided that Bergamo would mark the end of the trip. There were no more mountains to be climbed, the high passes were now all behind us.
We had a light breakfast at the hotel, drank lots of coffee, then did some sightseeing around the town. Bergamo is the type of town where you could walk around with a camera and be constantly taking spectacular photographs. Each one would turn out as if it were pulled directly from a holiday brochure. The town also smelt as good as it looked, with jasmine and lilies growing in abundance and filling the air around the town with a sweet perfume.
Sightseeing in Bergamo.
We ate a late lunch in a shaded square and watched the tourists as they filed lazily by in the hot sun. Justin contacted a local bike shop, (many thanks to the local Bianchi dealership with a very helpful owner) and by 3pm we were down in the main town laden up with three large bike boxes. Now all we had was the logistical problem of getting them back up the hill to the hotel. They were too large for a taxi, so we decided to carry them on foot for the 2-miles up hill. It was hot, we were tired, there were no more mountains to climb on the bike, but carrying the boxes up hundreds of stone steps was akin to the effort. We took a wrong turning and ended up going way past the hotel and about a quarter of a mile further uphill than we needed to. We laughed it off and turned around and at last found the hotel and rested on the balcony. That afternoon we took a short spin to explore the cycle paths around the town and the surrounding countryside. Then it was back to the hotel, a quick shower and out for drinks and dinner.
The next morning, we packed our bikes away. By midday they were loaded into a taxi and we were on our way to the airport. The mood in the taxi was sombre, the adventure had come to an end, but what a time we all had. As a distraction, discussion was opened up about planning our next alpine trip. The gears ticking away inside Justin’s head were almost audible.
With three bikes cycling almost 550 miles, much over rough terrain, and with over 58,000 feet of climbing, we had suffered no mechanicals and remarkably didn’t even sustain one puncture. The weather was against us at times, but all things considered, it could have been worse. We were blessed and each of us was thankful. Three guys pushing themselves to the limit day after day and practically living in each other’s pockets, we had not one fall out or disagreement, good friends indeed.
The mountains are timeless. The rivers and the waterfalls, the fresh mountain air and the cool streams have been here long before us, and they shall remain long after we have all gone. But there shall always be a time when we were together, a time which we shared, a time which I shall always remember and hold dear to my heart. The road rolls on, in my dreams I am climbing mountains.
- Luke Souter