Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 31- Viterbo to ROMA!!!!!- 94km

Our last day of the Via Francigena!!! We always knew it was going to be a tough one.... We had left ourselves almost 100km to conquer, we would have to do it all on the road, and the traffic getting in to Rome is notorious! So Ben spent a good couple of hours last night on garmin connect and strava planning a series of possible routes for us to take this morning. I think the one we settled on was a good choice, although a little.....interesting....at times ;) you will see what I mean!

Last night we stayed at the lovely Orchid B&B. Our hosts were super helpful, and told us that by bike our best option out of Viterbo was definately to take the road up to Lago di Vico, which is a lake inside the crater of a volcano. He warned us it was a good 10km climb, but in his words "a gradual climb". Ha! We think he must have been in a car, because it was far from gradual, with the sign posts labelling it a 10% climb, it was a rude awakening for the morning!


Leaving Viterbo




7km in and coated in sweat!

Once we got to the rim of the crater it was pretty spectacular. A lovely shaded road, mostly new, all the way around the lake. Perfect! Not too much climbing, and a little descending, so we were happy. And relatively car free.

Lovely shaded roads
Still some up....



First view of the lake


Lago di Vico


After Lago di Vico we had backroads all the way to Sutri where we stopped for our final cafe and cornetto second breakfast of the trip (which had become routine- we have now tried every possible flavour of cornetto!). We then had to go onto the dreaded Via Cassia until Campagno di Roma. We had been on this road several times already during the trip and it had always been fine, but we knew that as we got closer to Rome this may not be the case. There was no alternative, so we had to grin and bear it. The traffic was pretty horrendous, with no shoulder available we had to ride on the white line, with thorn bushes growing over onto the road whipping our arms and tearing through skin as we passed. Better than being taken out by a car though. I was happy to get back to quiet back roads after Campagno di Roma. We detoured slightly from the VF to hopefully get a quieter entry to Rome, taking the route through Sacrofano instead of Formello. The roads were great. A little bit more climbing, but I am happy to climb if it means getting away from the traffic and into more lovely scenery. Sacrofano was a delightful, very animated town. The locals just look like they have the happiest life ever! Laughing and talking, drinking coffee and going about their daily buisiness, all on a "work" day!


Entering Sutri




Back road bliss


Very cute Sacrofano

It wasn't long after lunch that things went a little sour.... We headed to prima porta, all good. After this, well, I think the saying "all roads lead to Rome" should be reworded "all roads lead to the freeway that leads to Rome". No matter which road we took it fed onto the freeway!!! And if we tried any other roads they just ended, as in a dead end! We ended up doing many circles back on ourselves, with navigator extraordinaire Ben getting a little frustrated, but he eventually sorted it, with us criss crossing back and forth under the freeway, taking a VERY long detour to avoid the ridiculously high speed freeway (no way we were going on there!). We ended up on the Via Flaminia which was quite good. It pushed us onto the freeway eventually, but luckily, at a point where the speed had reduced. The rest of the way to the Vatican was smooth sailing, we even had a cycle way the whole way down Viale Angelico.



Cycle lane along the Tiber



First Roman water tap


Cycle way to the Vatican

And so, we arrived in ROME! Our final destination! It's incredible! After 28 days of riding, 3 rest days, 2100km, 22000m of climbing, we have travelled, powered by our own legs all the way from Canterbury UK, through France, over the Swiss Alps, through Italy, to Rome!!! At the start of the trip it was hard to imagine arriving here, it was merely a thought, a goal, but to ride into St Peters Square today it all became real, we had done it, it's over. It's an amazing feeling of achieviment. I'm so proud of us. Proud of our physical achievement but also so very proud of how we worked together as a team to get here, to do this. The closing of our trip also brought a very strong feeling of sadness. It has been such an amazing experience to do this together. When I think back, there are so many individual memories and moments, and they all seem so long ago! I will treasure each and every one. It's sad that it's over, but I know there will be more. The world is an amazing place, do something different....get out there and explore it!!!


Rishi and Ben

Thank you to everyone who has been following our blog! We hope we have inspired you to push your own personal limits and achieve something new :)

The hoardes!!! We must be in Rome!


So so happy




We did it!


These legs are made of tough stuff



  1. Congratulations Rishi & Ben, what a amazing achievment! I have loved reading your blog and i am going to miss it, i felt like i was taking the journey with you. :)

  2. Ready for Mt Macedon on the weekend then??

  3. Congratulations guys! Very impressive and some great photos. Time for a rest and some gelati I think!

  4. Thank you for your wonderful blog every entry was extremely enjoyable
    cheers maggie