Volcanic Trails

by Nadia Moro

Giacomo is a messenger on the Milan square, an Alley Cat addict, both as an organiser and a player. A constant traveller and bike collector, he may be more bike than bike 23 years old.

The first time he saw Bianca she was taking part in a cyclocross race between regaz in Milan, with his city-bike, jeans, white blouse, blond braids in the wind and bike chain that didn't want to stay on the crown. She still finished his race.
A little over a year later, I find them as a pair on a bike-packing trip along the Caucasian Trail, from Georgia to Armenia. Bianca, meanwhile, has equipped herself with a vehicle suitable for off-road trails, regularly handles bike-packing bags and has cut her hair short. Giacomo has found someone who agrees to cycle with him without telling him off in a few days... Important ingredient for the success of all this: Bianca's naïve spirit :).
So I contacted them and asked them to make a wish and tell me where they would like to cycle in October, in Italy for about 3 or 4 days.
Montura would like to dress them and follow them.... They thought about it and wrote to me: ‘We've never been to Naples, to Campania!’
I didn't think so either, so let's go to Naples and follow them and see what happens. Giacomo draws the track, I make him correct it several times by reducing the km and the elevation gain: he was counting on an average of 90/100 km off-road +3000 per day. I pointed out to him that in Naples one has to take it easy, that I want to tell them and take them. Especially since the volcano is moving a lot at this time and witnessing an explosive eruption of Vesuvius could be a unique event, perhaps the last one we'd be able to do...
We get off the train in Naples, I feel like an aunt taking the grandchildren on holiday!
Before setting off on the tour I make sure the kids eat plenty so that they can make it to the top of Vesuvius at the end of the day.
With the sunset, the ascent of the volcano reminds us of ET: you go up without realizing where you are going... Pitch darkness, starry sky, Naples and its light pollution behind us, zero human presence.
We find a perfect vantage point where we pitch our tents, the boys cook and we eat a generous helping of trofie al pesto. Ligurian pesto apparently goes down very well on the Amalfi Coast. Sleep quickly snuffs us out, and we find out the next day that at 5.00am there was yet another earthquake tremor that we didn't feel and that will keep the population even further away from the volcano.
Vesuvius has a volcanic mantle rich in colours and vegetation atypical of the slopes we are used to in Italy.
The single tracks have a lunar feel to them, and a few short pieces of reportage are necessary in an attempt to visit the Cone of Vesuvius... Unfortunately closed to visitors due to frequent seismic movements. We then throw ourselves downhill along a dirt road that allows us to see the Gulf of Naples from above.
Cono del Vesuvio, Totem di dimensioni cubitali, Castello del Matinale, Acquedotti Romani, we encountered many ingredients and rested in the bivouac located along the Piano del Fieno.
The fireplace kept us warm throughout the evening. Like all self-respecting fairy tales, I hoped to meet St Michael and the Dragon the next day at Avella Castle. But no dragon. When you are pedalling, evil does not exist, for the peddler the road is free and quiet.