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Monday, 16 April 2018

How Favignana made me recall my love for bicycles


Some years are tougher than others. Challenges run fiercer. And you need double the mental and physical strength to get through.

It wasn’t always like that.
You remember the years of your childhood. Carefree.
Ha ha, but you were as talentless as your adult self when trying out various physical activities. Your parents DID have a hard time teaching you to ride a bicycle. It was a small PEGAS, designed for children.
However, once you got the hang of it – after many attempts and an equal amount of quitting thoughts –, you couldn’t let it go.
Then came a very warm day at the beginning of September. 2nd grade was just around the corner… but somehow the scent of summer flowers was still very pronounced.
So, you went out with your Dad and, at a point, you couldn’t control the pedals because of the high speed reached while you were going down the bridge. You fell. Your chin cracked. And there was a lot of blood. But you were only worried that your Mom might get mad at your Dad, so you asked her not to be.

Years passed. I don’t think that my Dad forgave himself for that accident. But I could change that and fight my reluctance to ride a bicycle ever again.

Things always happen for a reason.
You have the chance to choose the right path the second time around and to change them.
I was on Favignana with Marcel, off the western coast of mainland Sicily, and I felt like I had made a mistake. Sometimes even seasoned travellers feel like that. The vibe of the main settlement on the island was off, I didn’t like the community, so an escape was necessary.
‘You can use the bicycles to get into town’ our host told us. We were surrounded by pine trees and enjoyed the fresh mountain air some 900 metres from the overpriced restaurants downtown.
I tried. I wasn’t scared. I simply thought I didn’t like it anymore. It didn’t work.
On the following day, I tried again.
‘I don’t think it’s going to work’… I could see the sadness in Marcel’s eyes. He had believed in me even more than I had believed in myself. I knew that he wanted to tour the island by bicycle.
‘Let’s try again.’ I didn’t want to stop.
This time, it did work! I started to remember how to balance, how to lean, how to turn along those beautiful olive trees that were silently watching me.

First time on a regular bicycle, first time in traffic, first time on really narrow streets.


I followed the rocky road to Cala Graziosa and Marcel rewarded me with half of a blood orange and of a fluffy croissant.

I struggled to climb uphill from Punta San Nicola.

We fastened the bicycles to a wooden pole and descended to marvel at turquoise-clear Cala Rossa.

We smiled at Cala Azzurra.

We had gotten lost. Had found the way. Had chosen.
20 km later, I had a cannolo in my hands and was surprised by the rich ricotta on my lips.
The day would end with some olive oil sprinkled onto a slice of local bread, Sicilian-style.

I felt stronger. Happier. Having found something that had long been lost.
We should be so grateful because we are ALWAYS able to roll the dice, overturn the odds, rewrite the story.


And you know what? I am now looking to buy a bicycle.

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