Today's pedaling started just after sunrise and I was soon in Marsala for an espresso and sweet roll. Riding along this part of the coast is fascinating as cities appear around a bend and inflate as I near. The margins are industrial or for warehouses and auto repair and then come poorer residential districts with big box stores. Next, more dense housing and apartments surrounding the port and the cobble-stoned historical centre, where you can find older guys sitting outside cafés, downing espressos and chatting and gesturing away, as we might imagine from movie scenes.
From Marsala, it was on to Trapani for a spin through the city and a couscous deli lunch before a rise of 800 meters from the sea to Erice, a castle town overlooking Trapani.
I was told I could take my bike on the tram but decided to huff it up the many switchbacks as my legs and will were feeling strong and I had gotten used to hard riding the past week. The final 200 meters proved a week' straining was far too little and I only managed it in stops and starts.
It's often said that the many objects we use are an extension of our bodies--that we shape these items to accommodate our purposes. Chopsticks for our fingers, the computer for our brains, etc. For the inventors and the designers this may be true, but I wonder if it is not more the case as users that we are shaped by our common items. Does the cameraman not see a framed universe? Are not the arms and hands of a bread-maker molded by the dough? At least on this tour I've seen how I have become the bicycle. The early lower back and shoulder pains have ebbed away, I no longer wobble with the weight of back panniers on curves, my hands are less numb after a days ride, I crouch more when I ride and even my saddle sores have disappeared. Without my bike, I feel, well, a little bit naked and after an off day, I'm eager to push the pedals and feel the breeze on my face.