Stage 14: Pesaro to Ancona

Distance: 68.3 km

Time: 3 hours 48 minutes

Speed: 18 km/h

Ascent: 332 metres

Total distance: 782 km

Total time: 41 hours 39 minutes

Wordle scores: Captain 4, Stoker 4

Word of the day: “ciclovia” (cheek-low-vee-ah) – cycle path

The Stoker writes:

We had a walk down to the sea yesterday after lunch, the first time we’ve seen it properly on this trip. We just had to dip our toes in.

The last time we dipped our toes in the sea was in Wales on the Captain’s birthday. The Adriatic was considerably warmer!

We also had a look at the ‘pomodoro’.

It’s not actually a tomato, of course, that’s just what the locals have christened it. It was gorgeous, reflecting the sea, the sky, us, and being reflected in turn in the water below. A slight air of Death Star about it, but lovely.

Before we returned to take up residence in our lodgings, we also popped in to the Rossini Conservatorio. Rossini was born in Pesaro, and became famous for the William Tell overture and the Barber of Seville, amongst other things. The Conservatory was a hive of rehearsal, the sounds of flute and clarinet singing out over the central courtyard. Rossini looked very content amongst the palm trees.

A quiet evening in, a good sleep, and a swift breakfast in the café below the apartment, and we were ready for our first day of cycling by the sea. We’d decided to give the BI6 Ciclovia Adriatica a try.

Cycle paths can be wonderful or awful, depending on the surface, whether they are wide or narrow, whether you are mixed with pedestrians, the prevalence of annoying metal hoop gates every hundred yards and so on. We’d had a bad experience on a cycle path by the sea in northern France, where it was practically impossible weaving in and out of hordes of pedestrians carrying long lilos under their arms, so our hopes weren’t high. It was great, though – pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles all protected from each other, and each getting priority where they most needed it.

We whizzed along for many kilometres at a great clip, past beach after beach set up in traditional Italian style, with rows of colourful umbrellas and loungers.

There were also a good number of ‘spiaggia publicca’, open beaches where you don’t have to pay, but there are no facilities or equipment. It all looked very clean and inviting, and much more classy than the beach resorts we encountered south of Salerno on our last trip. The Captain was reminded of Tim Parks’ book about living in Italy, and taking summer holidays in the same place every year, probably the same beach, possibly even the same umbrella. ‘Stessa spiaggia, stesso cielo’ – the same beach, the same sky.

There were breaks in the cycle path, it’s a work in progress, and at one point we were routed inland for about ten kilometres. The surface was a bit challenging.

This sort of riding is very intense for the Captain, who has to pick a good line through the gravel, and make sure we don’t fall into any enormous potholes. It went well, and we emerged back on the cycle path unscathed, if rather covered in white dust.

We started to see Ancona appearing in the distance, it looked rather hilly.

We could also see some sort of off-shore platform. Later research indicates it’s an oil delivery platform, so huge tankers can deliver their fuel without having to come right into Ancona harbour.

We stopped for lunch in a ‘pizza by the slice’ place just off the cycle path, delicious, and great cycling fuel. A few more kilometres by the sea…

… and a couple of sharp climbs into the city, and we were rolling up at our apartment for the night, just off a lovely tree-lined avenue. It’s beautiful, cool, and even has a little shady garden where we can eat dinner later.

And just look how far we’ve come!

A final word on the conditions here. We’ve had a few messages from family and friends, concerned for our safety in the Cerberus heatwave that’s currently hitting southern Europe. Thank you! We’re right on the east coast, where conditions have been cooler so far fortunately, and it was even cloudy today. But we’re being careful, cycling early in the cooler part of the day when we have to, and making sure we’ve always got water available. If things get worse we will lie low somewhere with air-conditioning until it passes. Will keep you posted…

Here’s today’s route and a short video

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