Europe - Need Tips: Cycling in Florence, Siena and Cinque Terre
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03-12-11, 04:05 PM
Wife and I'll be visiting those spots in mid-April. Would love to know:
- Places to rent bikes (hopefully road bikes, but not necessarily)
- Places for rides, easy to moderate, with convenient locations
- Any kind of historic sites -- such as where the Giro went or will go through, roads of the Montepaschi Strade Bianchi, any cycling museums, etc., etc..
- Book recommendations relative to cycling in these areas
Thanks in advance!
03-13-11, 11:11 AM
Sounds like a wonderful trip!
I have not done any riding in Italy, but saw this book: http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/italy/cycling-italy-guide-2
Their Cycling in France book was useful on our trip, so I expect this one to be equally good.
Please post any useful links you find in your research, this area in next on our wish list. Cheers!
03-14-11, 09:23 AM
Thanks, Lucille. I'll check that out, and also post what I find.
03-14-11, 10:50 AM
My wife and I did a short tour through the Chianti region a few years ago, wandering our way from Siena up to Florence and then back south (with lots of stops for food and wine!). We rented bikes from this place:
I can't recall exactly what we got, but I remember it being a very fair price on some decent road bikes (Campy Chorus equipped, IIRC). The shop employees were very helpful -- giving us a selection of pedals to choose from, holding bags, etc. The only issue was that no one there seemed to speak much English, but they were very patient with my broken Italian. You should probably reserve in advance -- I think we made our reservations less than a week in advance and got two of their last bikes, which were (luckily) in our sizes.
Let us know how your trip turns out when you get back!
03-22-11, 08:41 AM
Very kind, Mbusha, I'll check them out.
Just so everyone knows, we're not going to be touring by bike; my wife's not avid enough for that. But I think I can lure her into a couple short, pretty rides! (And then maybe drop her off at a book store while I extend it a bit...)
Here's all I've found so far on my own:
A shop in Siena:
A site about cycling in Tuscany with some good links and info:
Keep those cards and letters comin'!
Quick note about renting a bike in Siena -- there are lots of places to rent bikes, but most of them only had heavy montain/city bikes, so I'd be careful about that since there are a lot of hills in the area.
At one point, we did an out-and-back day trip from Siena up to Radda in Chianti via Castellina and then back down to Siena. I think it was about 45 mile ride through rolling hills, vineyards, and olive trees. We had a fantastic lunch in Radda at a random restaurant whose name I can't remember, and stopped once or twice to sample some wine and grappa. The ride profile wasn't too demanding. There trip from Siena to Castellina was a long gradual climb of about 1500 feet, and then it was pretty flat from there to Radda. This made the return trip particularly easy. The first few miles had a bit of car traffic, but the drivers generally seemed pretty aware of bikes and left plenty of space while passing.
I definitely think dropping your wife off for a while in Radda (or possibly Castellina) while you go do some of the surrounding hills would be a win-win since we wished we would have been able to spend a bit more time in Radda but had a pretty late start to the day and needed to get back and return our bikes (added bonus: I believe this was the trip where my wife decided she wanted to do more biking vacations!).
Anyway, just my 2 cents.
03-29-11, 08:09 AM
Thanks for the idea, mbusha, it sounds delightful! Unfortunately, I think it'll be too ambitious. My wife hasn't ridden more than six or seven miles, so I'm thinking a small loop of about that length or a little more, and then drop her off and extend for only another hour or so. I'm getting the idea from my research that the bike stores will have routes to suggest for all levels (I'm guessing they deal with tourists at all levels of fitness).
I'm getting closer to making bike reservations (I'll keep in mind the weight. Happy to rent an alum. road bike, but wary of riding the dirt roads on that, which I hope to do -- something like the Strade Bianchi, which run right nearby). I'd do it on my CAAD 8, but maybe not on a rental bike; too risky.
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