Cycling in Italy is a dream for many. Italy has much to offer and a bicycle provides quiet access to it's many charms. My idea of the perfect Italian vacation includes beaches, mountains and village life. Small town Italy is a paradise for cycling, with hundreds of miles of scenic roads within easy day trip access.
I considered bringing a bike with me. A road bike or touring bike with a triple would have been a good choice. However, I would have needed to spend somewhere in the $800 to $1300 range and then pay $150 to fly it in each direction. I would need a rental car to transport the bike from the international airport to my final destination. I also would have needed a day at a local bike shop to assemble and adjust the bike after unpacking it. I decided to buy a basic hybrid bike apon arrival.
I immediately purchased a Trek adventure bike ( http://www.trekbikes.com/it/it/bikes...series/8_1_ds/ ) for local exploration and to eventually use for multi-day tours. It turned out to be an ideal bike for my riding. It climbed well, with a deep gear range and the frame is stiff enough for a larger rider and some pedal mashing. The saddle and pedals were surprising comfortable and held up well. The tires rolled well and had enough traction on dry gravel. The cost was reasonable and performance was never an issue.
My plan is to ride about 250 miles and climb about 20,000 ft over eight days, using Amantea as my base. The biking is truly epic here. Here is today's route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/fullscreen/410329428/
I'm staying about 125 miles south of Amalfi. My routes have minimal traffic. I used a older coastal road that was the main north-south coastal road until about 1965. My routes follows the old road for the first 6 miles, and then I'll climb at a 5% to 10% rate for 4 or more miles. On the return trip, I came down a narrow one and a half lane road. It was steep, with a long string of 20% switchbacks, dropping about 1500 ft in 4 miles.