09:00 – Italian bakers can’t stop themselves implanting every roll and croissant with a big dollop of jam, and a certain type of English cyclo-tourist can’t stop himself wedging slices of cheese and salami into this unfortunate mix. ‘Not today, dad,’ pleads Lilja. But by the time she does so, and I realise that today there’s no need to take 49,000 calories onboard at breakfast, it’s too late – force of habit sees a locust-like devastation of the buffet.
10:00 – We roll out into the hottest morning yet in Lycra-free civvies, for a modest 30km circular tour of the Costa Smerelda. Modest? Look at us go. Last week suggesting a family ride of that duration would – and indeed did – have seen me called up before a kangaroo court on charges of gross inhumanity.
11:00 – This isn’t so much the final stage as the post-victory open-top bus tour, undertaken at very gentle speed and with a couple of team members nursing slight hangovers. Porto Cervo marina is a definitive billionaire’s playground, the quayside lined with Abramovich-grade superyachts. Cycling past them on our dusty, trusty steeds is frankly hilarious. A party of sour-faced oligarchesses looks down at us with extravagant disdain from a rear deck. We decide it’s envy, as they’re clearly enjoying their holiday a lot less than us. Guiding Jonny’s support vehicle out of the crowded car park I manage to very slightly delay and thus enormously distress a medallion-chested old prune in a Mercedes convertible. ‘I’m so sorry,’ I say, just a little sarcastically. The seams of his face-lift strain to bursting point. ‘You are not sorry! You are stupid!’ I’ve never felt happier with my decision not to acquire immense wealth.
12:15 – Round the coast to Baja Sardinia, a more approachable resort with a proper beach and even the odd price ticket on display in the boutique windows. The sea fulfils the promise of the Emerald Coast’s title – if there’s clearer, bluer water anywhere else in Europe, I’ve never seen it. Gelati and Cokes by the sand to see us through the undulating loop back to the hotel, through a neat scenic summary of our trans-Sardinian adventure. Shiny dark green shrubs in dry ochre, hills studded and crowned with Temple of Doom rock stacks, a gigantic blue sky. A sweaty family sing-song takes us up to the final brow, then it’s a whooping, legs-out descent for the very last of 233 kilometres.
A journey that sometimes seemed too long, but now, with the bikes laid down in the orange dust for the last time, seems much, much too short. A wild and magnificent island, and a wild and magnificent adventure.
- Sardinia Day 4: Pushing inland Tim Moore + family take on the mountains and triumph .
- Sardinia Day 1 – Heathrow to Alghero…just. Tim Moore.
- Sardinia Day 5: Freewheeling down to the coast our bicycles sense pizzas!
- Sardinia Day 3: Italian Ice cream brings back the smiles plus a salute from a slick peloton.
- Getting the bikes ready for Sardinia. By Tim Moore