Day 4: Castello di Rivoli to Pinerolo

Distance: 31.99 km

Time: 1 hour 38 minutes

Average speed: 19.6kph

Cumulative distance: 202.67 km

Cumulative time: 9 hours 35 minutes

Phrase of the day: ‘Dissuasori di velocità’ (diss-ooh-ah-soar-ee dee vay-loh-chee-ta) – speed bumps

We ate a fabulous breakfast this morning, in a gazebo in the sunny courtyard of our B&B in Castello di Rivoli. Roberto, our very friendly host, had assembled a range of delicious cheeses, including Caciotta from Umbria, Fiera from Alba and Tomme from Lanzo, a town through which we passed yesterday on the tandem. There was prosciutto (crudo and cotto), salami and some great ciabbatine, all washed down with more than the authorised number of cappuccini (i.e. 2).

After breakfast we walked up the cobbled streets to the Castello. This was a more difficult process than might be imagined. We have ‘cleats’ on the bottom of our cycling sandals, which allow us to clip into our pedals. These are recessed slightly into the sole of the sandal. On cobbles, manhole covers and other perilous surfaces they can be very slippy, so extreme caution must be employed, particularly on a rainy day.

We made it up to the Castello unscathed, though, and spent a fascinating ninety minutes there.

It sits on a high ridge, overlooking the town of Rivoli, and has spectacular distant views over the city of Turin, and towards the Alps in the North and West.

The Castello now hosts a museum of modern art, with permanent and temporary exhibits, including a fine piece from Ai Wei Wei.

We wandered around enjoying the art for some time. Gradually we became aware that one of the members of staff at the gallery was following us around, none too discreetly, to check that we weren’t up to no good. At last, disreputable old age…!

Returning, cautiously, down the cobbled Via a Castello we made our way back to collect all our belongings and set off for what we knew would be a short day. The first couple of kilometres were on busy cobbled streets, so the Captain had to weave slowly around pedestrians until we hit smooth tarmac, at which point he accelerated, missing the turn-off to the cycle path. Can we never leave a town flawlessly?!

We’d plotted the route today to make use of strade provinciale – these are normally peaceful roads with little traffic. What we hadn’t taken into account, perhaps, was our proximity to Turin, and the roads turned out to be busy and moderately unpleasant. The roads were fast, though, and so were we – at least as fast as we can ever be when carrying all we need for months of cycling. We were also able to enjoy picturesque views of the Alps, which today were hooded with sinister-looking grey clouds. These looked as though they might open at any moment, so we were surprised to remain dry all day.

Eventually our route took us onto a dedicated cycle path, metalled and secluded from the traffic. Merrily burbling along, smelling the jasmine and listening to the birdsong, we were really enjoying ourselves until we saw a sign warning of flooding, and then this:

There was nothing for it but to man-and-woman-haul our heavy tandem over the pipes, so we got on with it, carefully and ultimately successfully. There then followed a couple more kilometres of cycle path before we returned to the busy main road leading into Pinerolo.

The Stoker likes to take a picture of the town signs for our destination each day, for use in later videos. Today, when the Captain alerted her to the presence of the sign (he is in front, so sees them first!) she noticed a supplementary sign indicating that the use of horns is forbidden in Pinerolo. She never was one for slavish adherence to the law:

All of this had taken such a small amount of time that we hadn’t eaten lunch, so instead of heading straight to our AirBnB we found a pasticceria, where we ate focaccia and the Captain enjoyed a tasty artisanal birra bionda. We also selected from their fine array of cakes in order to supplement tonight’s planned risotto.

So here we are, in a very pleasant apartment, in a building dating back to the 15th century, with a fine internal courtyard. It’s a tough life. Tomorrow we are cycling to Saluzzo, but we will plan the route a little more carefully – it looks as though there is a fine road circumscribing the foot of the mountains.

…and here’s a picture of some contented tandemisti:

Here’s today’s track.

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