Saturday, August 25, 2007

10 Differences in Cycling, Italy vs. USA

1) Club meetings: my club meets every Thursday, starting at 9:30 p.m.

2) Club Jerseys, etc.: on club rides everyone wears the matching club jersey. The reason for this is twofold: a) support the club sponsors, b) club unity.

3) Pro Jerseys, etc.: there is no stigma attached to riding around in the kits of your favorite pro teams

4) Less talking on rides: Forget about "car back", "car up", "Hole!", etc. You are expected to pay attention.

5) More intense, more relaxed: When you are riding it's intense, but stopping for an espresso is ok and lunch usually includes wine.

6) Early adopters: the speed at which Italians embrace the latest cycling technology is amazing.

7) Granfondo: a timed event in which anyone can participate. Very competitive and fun. Sizes can range from a few hundred riders to the Granfondo Novi Colli with 11,000+ spandex crazed riders. By the way, charity rides are virtually non-existent.

8) Race coverage on TV: the three big tours of course, all the one day classics, all the big Italian one races, specials, etc.

9) Raduno: a somewhat casual Sunday morning ride where prizes are awarded to clubs on the basis of participation; almost every Sunday, May through September.

10) Strong, old guys: lions in sheep's clothing, they've been riding all their lives and can kill you.

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