Electronics Curse

Well Tuesday was a bit of a bummer all round. Not much progress and it was a fairly boring day. Still enough to write a descent post about.

Todays mission was to head into Turin to get my camera fixed after it was caught up in a accident, where it swung into a rock stuffing up the the function to retract the lens.

The shop that I had to visit was about 5km away from the train station, but I didn’t particularly want to stay in Turin for the whole day. So I brought my bike in on the Train to ride back home after.

I reached the shop alive, whilst riding through the dense Italian traffic. I brought a helmet but it was nice to ride with out one but I felt naked. Although when riding on the road I always felt safe. I know it only takes one fall and one unlucky incident to hit your head but I wasn’t riding fast I was cruising and I was well aware of my surroundings.

Cars here (Italy) just pass you, giving you a car space gap. If they can’t pass you they just wait patiently and cruise on by when they can. There is no horn action there is no aggressive nature towards cyclist. Even in the hectic intersections they see you and let you pass. You get the sense the road is shared and not owned by the motorists.

As long as you don’t do anything stupid you’re safe. Even then, I have seen a cyclist do something stupid and the cars just move around it or just let it happen. No yelling or abusing. The only anomaly would be that Italian drive that grabbed my arm on that descent in the country.

Arriving at the camera shop I booked my camera in. The options were, more or less, if I could prove warranty they would send it off to Cannon and it would be a week to ten days before I got it back. If I paid, they would order in the parts and fix it there for about 100 euro. But they said they would ring me and quote me on time and price either later this evening or tomorrow.

So after this I was riding back to Mazze’, which is where I am staying. I was going to follow the river through Turin then take the back roads through little towns to Chivasso and then up to Mazze’.

Since my purchase of an Italian sim I have been able to use the internet more often and use google maps to help me navigate the foreign roads. So I headed off through Turin to go back home. I stopped at this bike shop that I spied while cycling up to it. I had forgotten to bring lube over with me to Europe so I thought this would be the best time to pick up some.

I went into this very nice bike shop, kitted out with top of the line BMC mountain bikes and road bikes. After some confusion of what I wanted with the guy who was helping me. The guy bringing out all sorts of chains when I pointed to my chain and said “oil” or “chain lube” we went into the back of the shop to find some chain lube. No dice. He said he had run out and some more would be in Saturday. I was a bit miffed at the fact that such a nice bike shop that looked well stocked had forgotten to get one of the popular items that a bike shop stocks.

No worries, I was off on my ride back to Mazze’. Frequently stopping and checking my phone to see if I was heading in the correct direction until I approached this odd intersection with a funny round about. I stopped, found out where I had to go and made a B line to my desired road. Popped the phone back in my pocket. Bunny hopped over one of the traffic islands and started to ride off, when I heard something drop on the ground. I looked back and there was my iPhone face down, and some how the flip cover had come up and off the screen and my heart sank. I pick up my phone and turned it over to the screen and it has 2 huge cracks in the bottom third of the screen.

Great! So now my camera is broken and my iPhone is cracked, and at the beginning of this trip I had to get my wheel on my bike fixed. This trip is already starting to be a hassle and become a bit expensive and I am a little more than a week into my 3 month trip.

Eventually I arrived home after a battle all the way back with the head wind in the primed heat of the day. Having a break in Chivasso to have a bite to eat and to Skype my family. Telling them all about my woes and troubles.

I picked up a friend who drafted behind me most of the way back from Chivasso, but since he was on skinny tyres (a road bike) he didn’t like it when I went straight onto a fire road that went behind farms and lead me straight to my town.

I will see what the bike shop says tomorrow.

Walking Turin

Turin is very pretty in a medieval way, much like most of Italy. Old buildings, grand buildings and some odd buildings. Cobbled road meeting bitumen roads. Lots of people walking around and the area it is in seems to be prone to freak storms.

On the train journey in, it started to rain. Once the train arrived in Turin it was pelting down with heavy rain, wind sending the rain in at a 45 degree angle and you’d be lucky to see further than 30metres. It was a slow start to the day to see if I could get my camera fixed.

Having to wait for some time for the rain to stop and also having to wait for the information help desk to open. I had to kill some time, I did this by having a coffee. The information desk finally opened at 9am. I went in and asked for directions to the best place to get my camera repaired. She showed me on the map and told me about the best store that is near the station which is almost the centre of Turin. So off I went. The storm had passed and it was trying hard to keep drizzling but it was fading.

Luckily the camera store was close by, unfortunately it wasn’t open and it only took me 5 minutes to get there and it was about 9:30am. So I went off to find a cafe. But then my bladder said I had to go the toilet.

Now I was quite far from the train station which I knew had a toilet. So on my way back I was looking into venues and I couldn’t see any toilets. This is probably the down side to Europe, or Italy perhaps.

Arriving back at the train station I found the toilets. 80c to use them… no thanks. I just went into the cafe that I knew had a toilet and waited in line. By this time it was a little after 10am and that should be around the time when most shops should be open.

Nope! The store was still shut. Anyways I thought it might open at 12. I headed off to find this internet cafe that I was told about and I arrived there and asked about the internet. No internet. Ok, so now another long walk back to the centre.

I decided I should get a sim since the one I had was out of credit and I had no easy way of topping it up. After some discussion with the helpful phone “3” guy he set me up on a sim that will be handy for a few other countries. I always feel odd when anyone holds my passport, as if they are going to take it and I would be stranded in this country.

It was getting close to 12 so time to check on the store.

Approaching the store it didn’t even look like it was going to open today. I spoke to the nice lady at the information desk back at the train station and she said, “Oh it doesn’t open until 3 today”. Ok. So I have to kill three hours just to see if they can fix it. She also recommended at general electronic retail store, which I went past a couple of times now, but off I went and paid it a visit.

They more or less said they can send it off to the manufactures but it might take two weeks. They also referred me to this store in the suburbs that fix cameras but it would be a trip I would have to make another day.

After killing some time and getting some lunch I arrived at the open camera store and I showed them the camera and they gave me the exact same information as the previous store that I visited.

So my looks like I am not done with Turin yet and I will have to do some cycling through Turin on Tuesday.

Finally Mountain Biking!

Sunday was an actual MTB ride. 
We headed into Pinerolo to meet up with some friends of Liz’. Liz is who I am staying with in Mazze’ in Italy. We had to drive up and over Sestriere and down into a valley where we pulled up to a huge mountain glaring down upon us. 
The people who we were riding with said it was about a 3hr ride. Roughly 2hrs up and 1hr down the other side. So we set off cruising with the group for about, 30 seconds when Alex and I rode off at our own pace which was about… four times their pace. 
This was a solid climb with sections reaching 18% with a 8% minimum on the whole climb. We hit the top at 54min and waited… and waited. Not realising I was getting toasted by the sun because it was really really cool up onto of this ridge. 
Whilst Alex and I were waiting we were sitting down, looking down into the valley where we rode from when this huge March fly landed on my leg and bit me. Semi-shocked, I whirled my hand down onto of it. Missing it. But what I had forgotten was my point and shoot camera was attached to my wrist and it followed my hand and swung straight into a rock, Now the lens won’t retract and I can’t take pictures. Now I have to venture into Turin to see if it is fixable. Bugger.
When everyone arrived we hung around at the top with the other riders taking pictures. I tucked my camera back into it’s case and they showed us the track heading down the hill that we were taking. It was steep narrow and looked like a hell of a lot of fun. 
I jumped onto my bike and stormed down. Flicking my back wheel around corners and expecting the unexpected. About a third of the way down I couldn’t pedal so I stopped. My chain had over lapped it self. So I unkinked it. But it had already damaged it self with bent links. I have only done about 100km on this chain. Brand spanking new chain pretty much and now it is trashed. Luckily I have a spare chain but it is a bit a bummer having to use it so early in the trip. Things are going up and down at a serious speed on this trip.
Oh well, could be worse. I am still feeling 100% besides a little bit of sunburn and a little back pain. Nothing like a bit of sunscreen and stretching can’t fix.
I would be uploading more photos to the blog but I am using a friend pocket wifi internet and I don’t want to use it all up. So only text posts for now. But here is a link to one of the guys facebook group that we rode with.