by NAA

Road trip! A few days ago, I hopped in our little Ford Kombi and rolled through the Dolomites, Venice, Milan, Como and finally into Ticino to visit my very good friend in Lugano.

She lives in Gentilino, near Montagnola on the peninsula, which means my rides here start on a climb, overlooking Lago di Lugano and beyond to the steep slopes of the mountains. Stunning waterscapes make for standard fare around here, as do equally stunning gradients and hairpin switchbacks.

There is something special about knowing a place on a bicycle, an intimacy with the land only possible through the raw experience of terrain under your own power. On a bicycle, you are vulnerable and open to the world, unsheltered from weather and smell and sound. Without barriers between self and experience, you develop a deep sense of connection to your surroundings, no matter the country or language or culture. You’re there, and those moments of beauty become yours forever.

Five years ago I would never have guessed I’d know my way around Ticino on a bicycle, but here I am, flying through hills under canopies of brilliant leaves, enjoying the last vestiges of fall in a foreign land now familiar.

Here is a picture of fall in Lugano, as seen from my bicycle during yesterday’s ride:

Lago Lugano