TransNapoli – Urban Bike Adventure

A 5-day urban adventure in Italy - from the Amalfi Coast via Pompeii, Vesuvio Volcano, Napoli and Ischia Island on MTB and eMTB

By Hans Rey Photos: Martin Bissig
About 2000 years ago there was a gigantic explosion releasing 100,000 times the thermal energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Mount Vesuvius volcano erupted and spew its lava and ashes over 20 miles into the air; several Roman settlements were obliterated and buried underneath massive pyroclastic surges and ashfall deposits, the best known being Pompeii and Herculaneum. Napoli, as the Italians call the city of Naples, was my most recent destination for yet another ‘urban adventure’. The idea was to traverse this historical city and surrounding area on bikes in 5 days. From the breathtaking Amalfi coast, via Pompeii to the crater of the Vesuvio, into the urban jungle, history, culture, traffic and chaos of the 3000-years old streets of Napoli to the beautiful island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples. There is no better way explore and experience such a place then by bicycle. I was joined by different friends for different stages of this tour and it was really cool to meet many of the local riders who showed me their best spots, trails and restaurants in their hometown. Finding the ideal route, best trails and most interesting sights, is a lot harder than one would imagine. I’ve been spending months researching online with the help of google earth as well as some local contacts.

TransAngeles

The idea of this trip was to traverse one of the biggest cities in the world on bikes in 5 days, not only showing the incredible nature and mountains surrounding this city but also its diverse neighbor hoods, suburbs and famous landmarks. When this city was founded its full name was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora Reina de los Angeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula.” (If your Spanish is rusty, that translates to “The town of our lady queen of the angels on the Porciuncula River.”) a.k.a. L.A. or Los Angeles.

Tutti Frutti Epic

_MG_16_08_Tutti_Frutti_1419 The “Tutti Frutti Epic” MTB Tour is a one day bucket-list ride that includes most of the new and existing trails at the Carosello 3000 Mountain Park in the resort town Livigno, Italy. Starting from 2017 this will be a permanently marked tour that everybody can ride at their own pace*. The 45km long tour, includes only a few hundred meters of uphill pedaling, since all the trails can be accessed by gondolas and chairlifts. Riders don’t have to be as qualified as my partner for this maiden tour, Brian Lopes. All of the trails are either red or blue (intermediate or beginner), suitable for most skill levels and perfect for Cross Country, All Mountain and Enduro bikes.

Double Trouble

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Mount Kenya & Mount Kilimanjaro back to back  on bikes with Hans Rey, Danny MacAskill and Gerhard Czerner

As I was putting one foot in front of the other, I kept telling myself that I have been lugging bikes up and down hills and mountains for over 30 years and if it ever mattered it would be right now, right here in the next few hours. I was a few hundred meters below Gilman’s Point, the crater rim of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. From where it would be another 1hour and 30 minutes to get to the true summit, the Uhuru Peak (19400ft/5,895m). At this point I had to dig deep, with fresh snow on the ground, a bike on my shoulders as well a big heavy backpack. The high altitude and oxygen deprived air made things tougher than expected.  My partner on this trip, Danny MacAskill and Gerhard Czerner were struggling as well.

The Tale of Blue Derby

dsc_0992 Chances are that in the past, if you had heard of Tasmania, it was for one of the following reasons; It is a decent sized island 150 miles off the big island, Australia, there is a tough little creature that lives only there, called the Tasmanian Devil, immortalized by the “Looney Tunes” cartoons, there are a lot of poisonous snakes and an abundance of wilderness for them to thrive in.
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