Co:Founder David Piacenti writes from his home country, Italy. While visiting Chainsmith's frame building partners and brands, David takes time to share his ride experience and favourite routes during our annual trip of Northern Italy.
29 May, 2022
Asiago - Casa Bassano: 77km, 3hrs, 1370m elevation
Hilly. Curvy. Pitchy.
There was a logic to the Strava route I made and for the most part followed today. I began at the top of Asiago - a beautiful mountain top with plenty of trails. Temperatures get brisk here, even in summer, and I rightly thought it would be cold and raining. I picked a descent in the hope I'd avoid slippery sections in the wet weather.
The mountains around Asiago are steep, and in the wet it makes breaking hard. Instead of facing switchbacks on possible wet bitumen, I chose the easiest descent with longer wide roads and switchbacks. You could, on a clear day, turn this ride around for a really good and steady climb.
I mapped out a loop to take me below Asiago to the outskirts of Bassano and follow the river Brenta. The views here include town houses which are really picturesque, made of stone and wood.
This is a flowing road so you can keep your head up to enjoy the panorama. The temperature was warmer than the 5 degree descent, so despite the clouds I could take off my rain jacket. The scene is really relaxed, on one side is the strips of town houses, on the other is a beautiful flowing river. If you like, you can stop for a cafe and strudel, or pizza. You can also join the locals for swimming.
Back on the road, I decided to follow the signs for Foza. The Foza is a small town situated in the Alto piano above. This way follows the route of the last climbing stage of the 2018 Giro. Its unforgettable. Phenomenal climbing began along side the river. The road becomes very narrow, like a one lane. With a cliff on one side, the other presents a beautiful panorama for about 13km.
You’ll be riding a gradient between 5-10 percent. There are more than 20 switchbacks till you reach the top. This climb will stave off the cold even when the dropping temperature and soft mist envelop you. The cloud cover isn't a worry, but if you do get concerns you can use lights because the road is so narrow and it is two way around tight corners.
The view from the top of the climb bought memories of 2018. We were guests of our brand partner Ursus, who hosted a tent with lunch at the top of the climb. We watched the peloton pass. Little did we know then the climb that they'd achieved. There's so much more insight into the skill and physical requirements when you ride the stage climbs.
The town has a very nice bar/restaurant on the left where you'll find vespa or motorbikes gathered. Its amazing if you wish to have a small ristoro. From there the ride is a very easy pedal, about 15km of undulating roads with negative descending through historic towns and overlooking mountain views.
Despite I was the fastest of the day up the climb, Nibali was 20 minutes earlier with his Strava KOM. However, I’m pretty sure he didn’t stop to take pictures or nature break. Im also pretty sure he wasn't riding a steel bike, but I wouldn't swap my Chesini. This frame has taken me through the heart of Northern Italy's mountains a few timers over without fault.
The Giro Stage 20 Ride Edition : David Piacenti
28 May 2022
Beautiful. Epic. Mountain Views.
Today's ride followed incredible regions of the Queen's stage of the Giro. I started from the base of the last climb in what is now an infamous stage 20 for Australians, the Passo Pordoi. This is a tough climb with quite a few points of 12 to 15 %. However you can take your time, enjoy the scenery and be ready to go up the Cima Coppi - the highest climb of the Giro at 2200m elevation. Fields of donkeys and goats bray and bleet at you on the way. The climb is high but now gentle, and averages only 5-8 %
The Cima Coppi also has a good portion of switch backs to ease the way up. Great epic photo opportunities if you have a friend.
There are several fountains on the way with fresh mountain water to help the journey. I opted for a coffee stop at the top of Passo Pordoi. The staff are welcoming and I saw many runs of strudel that's typical of the region, leaving the kitchen.
After the descent of Pordoi we added a an extra climb thanks to a friend's good advice. The small 4km climb brings you to a stunning panoramic view complete with a history's church still in use to the surrounding village population.
We finished to enjoy the Giro coming through. It was a perfect location, with a good view of the peloton with a lunch and prosecco at a restaurant called La Murada (situated in Località Saviner di Laste). This place is good for traditional meals if you're also looking for a dinner. We were positioned at the intersection where the race proceeded to the last climb. There are some tunnels you will need to ride through, and if you are cautious I'd advise to bring lights and stay visible.
Today's ride was particularly enjoyable not only because the incredible views but because of the atmosphere of the Giro spectators. And we could not have picked a better stage - the defining stage for Jai Hindley who won the Giro overall as a first for Australia.
Riding my home town Bologna : David Piacenti
26 May 2022
This is a challenging ride. It's not too long, but has short steep climbs. When you reach the highest points it continues with pinches, up and down. There is no rest if you want to keep the momentum. Of course, there are many beautiful places for photos. But you'll need to choose a good point to not suffer on your restart.
Starting from inside the wall of Bologna today, I traveled further to the quiet and hilly region of Bologna's elite. The scenic area of Saragozza followed the famous arch of Meloncello, which is the starting walk of the sheltered climb up to Saint Luca. Every few years this climb is included in the Giro d'Italia. The route around the hills is also part of the UCI race of the Giro del Emilia where they climb up to 4 or 5 times.
Further on, Sasso Marconi is a place of interest. This spot marks the remains and house of Marconi, the inventor of wireless communication, or in other words the radio. Today I didn't visit the house, but it is worth a look if you've time.
I did however pass the Monumento ai Caduti di Sabbiuno, which is an artillery wall built to remember those who fell during the resistance. It's a high spot with incredible views below. At night it is popular for star viewing.
Beautiful scenery throughout this ride allows you many vantage points for village views, medieval ruins of churches, and small castles of the Apennino Tosco - Emiliano.
This is a historic route and if you were wanting you can ride along the hills that connect towns between Bologna, Florence, and beyond.
David Piacenti is co-founder of Chainsmith. Retail Buyer, Mechanic, Bike fitter and rider, David has over a dozen years experience working with high end road bikes and brand partners.