13 July 2021
Today let’s talk about Simona Russo‘s bicycle trip to discover the beauty of Sicily.
Simona, 25 years old, with a master’s degree in energy engineering, is passionate about environmental sustainability, the circular economy and renewable energies, which she also works on professionally. But above all, her interests include cycling.
From an occasional use, it was during her university years that Simona began to use the bike daily for her home-university journeys. «After trying the metro, scooters and buses to get to the university campus, I realised that the best way was undoubtedly the bicycle: faster during Palermo’s busy mornings, it gives a better charge than coffee for a good start to the day and, on the way home, it allows you to relieve the stress accumulated at the end of the day.»
She tells us that during the long months of #DontMUV, she began to dream and plan the circumnavigation of Sicily. The impetus came from the long cycling itinerary that Jovanotti, his favourite Italian singer, is completing on his pedals, solo, between Chile and Argentina in early 2020. «While I was reading up on it, I also found an article about two very young people who were going to set off on a charitable venture in seven days; their initiative moved and inspired me.»
And so it was that in the first post-lockdown openings Simona and her girlfriend Valentina advanced to longer routes: from Palermo to Cefalù, Terrasini, Castellammare del Golfo. «After these trial runs we realised that yes… We could do it!»
Simona and Valentina, set off and in 12 days they crossed Trapani, Mazara del Vallo, Porto Empedocle, Gela, Modica, Portopalo di Capo Passero, Avola and then up towards Catania, Siracusa, Isola Bella (Toarmina), up to Roccalumera (Messina). They then continue towards Capo Peloro, Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, Sant’Agata di Militello and then return to Palermo via Cefalù. «I can’t deny the sadness we felt when we read the sign that said we were entering the province of Palermo. So on the twelfth day, we covered the last few kilometres slowly and stopped for the final swim in the crystal clear waters of the Capo Zafferano lighthouse.»
Simona enriches the story with unique details dictated by the enchanting landscapes encountered, but there were also difficulties. The climbs, such as those towards Castellammare or the Sanctuary of Tindari, the scorching sun, the rain «but all this was compensated for by the wonder we saw».
«There was no shortage of surprises, but these were turned into opportunities, such as when, while waiting for a shop to open to buy an inner tube to replace, we relaxed on the completely deserted beach at Scoglitti.»
She confides to us «Thanks to this experience I fell in love with the cycling mode of travel: it allows you to enjoy the views in a detailed and relaxing way, not to mention the well-being you feel when you reach a destination.»
Thank you Simona for telling us about your biker-friendly adventure in Sicily made of encounters, beauty and hard work. We are sure that your virtuous example will be an inspiration to many!