Updated: Sep 10, 2019
I've finally arrived in Milan. The Adventure starts tomorrow, so today I had time to scope out the Bianchi cafe and do some sightseeing. This is not a great thing to admit before I embark on a two week long trip across Europe, but I have a terrible sense of direction. I used to get lost so often that I would be that guy banging my head against a steering wheel in frustration. Technology has supposedly fixed this problem for all of us. This is relevant because I spent an hour today tracing out the first 2km of my ride out of Milan, walking the route with Rachel to ensure I don't get lost in the first 20 minutes, thus ruining my first day with cycling rage. Car drivers have become increasingly familiar with cycle-rage as many of us vent our fury at the stupidity of drivers. Personally I have adopted the preferred ‘wave and smile’ approach favoured by my club, Warwick Lanterne Rouge, for most road incidents. This happily irritates impatient drivers more and allows me to reserve my expletive ridden invective for the most heinous crimes such as drivers putting people's lives at risk rather than taking their foot off the accelerator for five seconds. But most modern cyclists are familiar with the three special types of rage you can only experience while engaged in cycling; Pre-ride kit rage: where you cannot find one vital missing item of clothing you need and you are going to be late again for a group ride. In my case this sees me stomping around the house shouting 'where's my other sock?'. Yes I have other socks, but these match the rest of my kit and looking good is important when you have zero talent. On-ride Garmin rage: the uniquely modern experience of relying totally on Garmin for directions and then shouting at it when it fails to register a turn until 200m too late. This is annoying on your own, but excruciating if you happen to be leading a ride. The sounds of riders breaking and unclipping are the cycling equivalent of people tutting and giving you are hard stare. Which is serious stuff for the British. Post-ride Strava rage: when Strava has failed to record a segment you busted a gut on or worse still missed the ride completely. This is the worst of modern cycling rage because you will go through the five stages of grief before finally accepting the ride is gone. Cursed is the partner or friend who suggests it doesn't matter because 'you know you did the ride anyway '. This is not the point and only serves to keep my simmering rage going for longer. Strava rage aside, the thing I fear most on this ride is getting lost continually. Hence the walk around town today. Garmin simply does not work in city centres. While out walking I found a statue built by other frustrated Garmin users* What I don't need is Garmin directing me down cobbled streets with trams and double parked cars. So tomorrow I will do as the locals do and ride in a straight line out of the city, ignoring all of the road signs and rules. I will be a lot happier once I'm on the road north.
*not strictly true