I’ll try to cast my mind back to last Wednesday. A lot has happened since then so I’ll do my best.
Brandi had the honour of the penultimate ride. It was a short one on paper- from the north to the west of Rome. Most of the ride would be along a cycle path that follows the River Tiber. I was feeling a little nervous because the last part of the ride looked tricky as there were lots of main roads. Check us out getting ready to set off!
The first few kms were pain free. We had to wheel our bikes over a small pedestrian walkway in a rough area near to a subway station. Luckily, I’m super tough and protected Brandi from any danger…….
We found the cycle path after 25 minutes. We were relieved to be away from the traffic and chaos of the suburbs. Countryside appeared out of nowhere but we could see Rome on the horizon. We pedalled along at a lazy pace (Brandi’s fault) and enjoyed the sanctuary of the path. Check us out below!
Soon we were surrounded by buildings. Our path veered away from the river and took us towards the Vatican. Then, the path disappeared so it was time to tackle the big roads. At first, we pushed our bikes through the crowds of people but we weren’t getting anywhere. Trying to find the safest route proved tricky. Most roads I tried to take us down were one way or full of people. After lots of map checking we made finally made some progress!
There appeared to be a cheeky back entrance into the campsite so I opted for this route rather than the dual carriageway running past the front entrance. However, once we reached the road it was blocked off! It turned out to be a private road with a big gate across it! Brilliant.-the front entrance it would be then!
The next section was very busy and up a hill. A car behind helpfully revved his engine and span his wheels to encourage us to go faster. I think we delayed his journey by 30 seconds so he was in the right…..The final part of the ride took us on the dual carriageway. We stopped to check the map but this was our only option. I hesitated for a while but decided to make a dash for it when I saw a runner jog past undeterred. I nearly fell off my bike just after setting off because the tyres slipped but luckily I managed to hold it together. Arriving at the campsite was a great feeling and I was very happy to have got there safely. I’m not sure how much Brandi was thanking me though……
In the evening we ventured into the centre to pick the best location for my final ride. It was important to do some research as we wanted a safe spot with a decent view. We went for dinner in the evening by the Coliseum and soaked up the atmosphere. I only had one more sleep until I’d finished the ride- incredible!
After 112 days on the road, the final day had arrived! What an adventure it has been!
The final ride was a 10km ride into the centre of Rome. Dad and I would cycle past the Coliseum and then up the road towards Piazza Venezia and the Altare della Patria. This area was perfect because it was free from traffic, spacious and it was close to some iconic sights. The only thing left to do was to cycle into Rome!
The roads were inevitably going to be busy and not very enjoyable. The road took us past a huge park and then to the river. After crossing the river we made our through Circo Massimo. This big park was where they held chariot races during Roman times. Our slow pedal through was a million miles away from the speed and drama of those races!
We were now only a few kms away from the finish line. Next up was the Coliseum. We approached from the south side and made our way around the building. It looked spectacular in the sun (see below).
Typically, I was desperate for the toilet so we had to stop before I made my big entrance! Back on the road, we stopped at the final set of traffic lights. Dad told me to “enjoy the moment” as I set off. I felt a little emotional as I cycled slowly up the road taking in the atmosphere. I spotted some orange Bath to Rome shirts in the distance and could hear cheering growing louder. I swerved into the pedestrian area and I was greeted by the gang. Brandi and B were holding a checkered finish line, which for some reason I decided to cycle under it rather than through it. What a wally! Thanks for the awesome welcome guys! A memorable moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life!
That was it then! The cycling was over and I’d made it to Rome! We took lots of photos (see below) and celebrated! We made our way to a café for lunch and celebratory drink. Everyone went their separate ways during the afternoon but we met again for dinner and drinks in the evening. We had a delicious meal and a few drinks around the train station. A big shout out to Dawn and Bernie who made the trip over from England- top effort! I enjoyed having a few beers with you!
What a day, what a trip, what an experience! I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, friends, charities and supporters who have all been amazing!