Our first real day of riding would begin the same way as our test ride: headed out towards the harbor on the south end of Lido. But today we would hop on the short auto ferry to Santa Maria del Mare, ride the island, and then take a private ferry to Chioggia, where we’d start riding in earnest.
The morning was beautiful, and we rolled out as a group out to the auto ferry. The island of Santa Maria del Mare was even smaller than Lido, really just a sandbar with pavement on top of it. We piled our 40 people and bikes into two small boats for the trip to Chioggia.
Rosita rolled her eyes at how Chioggia bills itself as a mini-Venice, but the town does have canals, foot bridges, and charming streets, though not nearly on the scale of Venezia. Rosita arranged a walking tour, but a group of us who were dissatisfied with the hotel coffee decided that finding a bar was more important. The espresso was good and I had a very nice foccacia with prosciutto and mozzarella bufala.
This was officially our lunch stop, and Mark got the early start for us on Birra Moretti. (Which is not great, but better than Peroni.)
After lunch we gathered up for the ride out of town, and soon found ourselves along the Adige River.
The river levees provide pleasant, low-traffic roads and paths, and we were able to ride in a pretty relaxed mode for most of the rest of the day.
Some of the surface was gravel, which not everyone enjoyed, but I thought it was great, and Nancy liked it, too.
One casualty of the gravel was Kathleen’s seat post. Nancy was riding with her when Kathleen noticed her bike moving in unexpected ways. Her carbon seat post had broken clean through. Fortunately the support van was quite nearby, on the road on the other side of the river, so she was able to avoid having to ride the rest of the day without a saddle. (I’ve done that when mine’s been stolen–it’s not fun.)
Not far from the levee was the Agriturismo Corte Carezzabella where we would be spending the night.
The buildings and the grounds were quite charming, the rooms were enormous lofts, and they had chickens, goats, and mini-horses. Dinner was awesome, even after accounting for the fact that we had just ridden 60km.