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Cycling through Parco della Caffarella

Some weekend clubs come and go, but Instabike Roma, despite it’s pop-up name, seems destined to stay. The third incarnation of the Instabike “phenomenon” in the world (after Tokyo and Amsterdam) arrived in Rome about six months ago courtesy of young creative Marco Diotallevi. The idea behind the club, which has its roots unashamedly in social networks, is to get a group of enthusiastic cyclists together (but not too enthusiastic) and go for a picturesque ride which allows said creative cyclists to take photos en route and upload them to Instagram, adding the hashtag #instabikeroma. Attracting the most “likes” for one of your photos in theory get you a free lunch next time round. The Instagram part is completely optional and while the initiative may sound a bit self-conscious, it’s actually just a good excuse to get some friends together, cycle in company without too much competitiveness and visit some beautiful corners of Rome.

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I joined the club this morning for a ride through Parco della Caffarella, the breathtakingly beautiful green park that spreads beyond the Appia Antica from its roots in south-east Rome. The meeting point wasn’t particularly bike-friendly as it involved a trip on the underground with bike and then a dash along Via Tuscolana to reach Gazebike, a bike-hiring resource at the edge of the park for those without their own wheels. But once the ride started, the sense of the starting point soon became apparent. Parco della Caffarella is vast and this route affording the opportunity to ride in parallel with ancient aqueducts over kilometres of unspoilt green. The meeting time was noon, but by the time a few members had hired bikes and everyone was ready, we got going  at about 12.45, riding more or less non-stop until 2.30, when we reached a quaint café-bar on the Appia Antica which sold sandwiches stuffed with sausage and Amatriciana sauce. We then retired to a meadow for an impromptu picnic, after which cyclists were free to make their way home or return hired bikes. In total, a leisurely 14 or so km were covered (not including reaching the meeting point) with around 15 cyclists taking part. Instabike is completely free to join and usually takes place the second Saturday of the month in Rome. See Facebook page for details.

Club name: Instabike Roma

Membership cost: Free

Expenses of outing: Metro tickets, sandwich (around €5)

Equipment necessary: Own bike, or hire bike option (in this case, €7 for the day from Gazebike)

Frequency: Every second Saturday of the month

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Instabike?fref=ts

Words and photos copyright Isobel Lee