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  1. #1
    mtb and roadie
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    Touring in Tuscany

    I'm looking for information about road biking in Tuscany. I'm not actually touring, but this category sounded the most promising.

    Anyway, I am planning a trip to Italy the end of September. I will be spending 6 days at an agriturismo 10 km. south of Siena. This will allow as many as 4 days of biking. I'd like to take spoke rides from the place I'm staying, probably keeping the round trips under 100 km each day (a little more would be fine too.)

    Lonely Planet (LP) suggested a hybrid or mountain bike for ultimate flexibility. LP said there were a number of dirt and gravel roads. I do both mountain biking and road biking. I am definitely more of a roadie and would prefer to ride a road bike on paved roads. My idea of a perfect ride would be a 40-50 km road ride to a small town to meet my wife for lunch and sightseeing.

    Should I heed the words of LP and rent a hybrid or mountain bike? I assume if I only bike 4 days there will be plenty of road rides to keep me interested. How is the traffic if you stay on paved roads? Does anyone have suggestions of rides originating south of Siena in the range I've mentioned above? What kinds of things should I consider when planning rides beyond what you'd normally consider? Any other information or suggestions would be appreciated.

    I searched the forum for information. After looking around for about 10 minutes I decided to start this thread. I apologize in advance if a 10 min. search isn't enough time to justify starting a thread. Thanks in advance for the information.

    Arwin

  2. #2
    mtb and roadie
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    Clarification on distance

    In my original post I said
    My idea of a perfect ride would be a 40-50 km road ride to a small town to meet my wife for lunch and sightseeing.
    By 40-50 km I'm talking one way. Thanks.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by arwin
    I'm looking for information about road biking in Tuscany. I'm not actually touring, but this category sounded the most promising.

    Anyway, I am planning a trip to Italy the end of September. I will be spending 6 days at an agriturismo 10 km. south of Siena. This will allow as many as 4 days of biking. I'd like to take spoke rides from the place I'm staying, probably keeping the round trips under 100 km each day (a little more would be fine too.)

    Lonely Planet (LP) suggested a hybrid or mountain bike for ultimate flexibility. LP said there were a number of dirt and gravel roads. I do both mountain biking and road biking. I am definitely more of a roadie and would prefer to ride a road bike on paved roads. My idea of a perfect ride would be a 40-50 km road ride to a small town to meet my wife for lunch and sightseeing.

    Should I heed the words of LP and rent a hybrid or mountain bike? I assume if I only bike 4 days there will be plenty of road rides to keep me interested. How is the traffic if you stay on paved roads? Does anyone have suggestions of rides originating south of Siena in the range I've mentioned above? What kinds of things should I consider when planning rides beyond what you'd normally consider? Any other information or suggestions would be appreciated.

    I searched the forum for information. After looking around for about 10 minutes I decided to start this thread. I apologize in advance if a 10 min. search isn't enough time to justify starting a thread. Thanks in advance for the information.

    Arwin
    The "strade bianche" (white roads) are very minor roads, marked in white on most road maps. Most of them are covered in well graded white gravel, which is the other reason for their name. A lot of these roads were once paved, but after more modern roads were built nearby the local highway agencies stopped repaving them, they just filled in the potholes, etc. with gravel. After a few years the roads became mostly or entirely well graded gravel. They are very well graded and smooth, lots of people ride on them with road bikes equipped with 700x25 or 700x28 tires. If your road bike will take tires this size, you could put together some really nice rides using a mixture of paved and unpaved roads. The TCI (Touring Club Italiano) 1:250 000 map of Tuscany is a good starting point to plan your rides. Litografia Artistica Cartografia (LAC) makes really nice 1:150 000 maps of the individual provinces. Both are available from http://www.trektools.com, you should get them before you go. When you get to Tuscany the folks at your agriturismo might have even more detailed maps to loan you.

    I spent two weeks in Tuscany last May, it's hard to go wrong in the part where you're going to be staying. Montepulciano, Monticchiello and Pienza are all really pretty little towns, try to plan your rides to go through them. Try to spend a day in Siena, but try to spend some time wandering the streets of the old town BEFORE the tour busses start to roll in at around 10:00 AM.

  4. #4
    mtb and roadie
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    Thanks for the info

    Thanks Mark,

    I have ordered the maps you mention on trektools.com. I'll post back when I return how things turned out. The buddy that is accompanying me on the trip thinks we should rent cyclocross bikes. Not a bad suggestion from what you've written. Your post has me even more excited about this trip. Thanks for the information.

    Arwin

  5. #5
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    Bicycling in Tuscany is probably one of the best bicycling experiences I've had and that's saying something. We took trips to San Gimignano, and Montalcino. We also road a couple of loops that included Sovicille and Ancaiano. The route to Montalcino included about 10k or 6 miles of strade bianche. I'm not sure what the tire size on our bikes was 25c at most (we rented bikes). It was no problem to ride on the packed surface with a road bike confirming Mark's advice.

    We stayed at an Agriturismo, Palazzo a Merse. Palazzo a Merse is located close to the Siena to Grosseto road and is easy to find. It is operated by Andrea Rossi. Andrea is a cyclist and he was able to provide directions and suggestions for the four rides we did. Andrea also rented the bikes for us. Good bikes too equipped with a combination of Campy Chorus and Record! All we had to do was show up. I would recommend this establishment to anyone interested in a cycling trip where you want to keep a central base.

    I hope this recommendation isn't considered crass commecialism on this forum, but Andrea was a great help.

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