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Old 11-25-09, 07:59 PM   #1
LindaB
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Have you cycled in Umbria, Italy?

My husband and I will find ourselves in Umbria (near Lake Trasimeno) in April after a family wedding, and hope to set off on a 7 to 10 day tour. I'm finding routes in Umbria hard to come by, compared with Tuscany (which we toured very thoroughly and enjoyably in Oct, 2000). I'm looking at a loop from Lake Trasimeno over to Umbertide, then to Assisi, Spello, Montefalco, Spoleto, Todi and ending in Orvieto.

My biggest concern is really steep grades - we can climb a long time as long as we don't hit too many 10+% hills. The best info I've found is the loop rides shown on www.bikeinumbria.it. These are helpful, but I would love to hear from someone who has cycled in the area. Thanks.
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Old 11-25-09, 09:17 PM   #2
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The road up to Montefalco has a section that is 22%. It's short(but brutal with loaded bikes) but the rest of climb was pretty steep too. That was the longest steep climb we did.

A couple of backroads into Spoleto as well as Perugia were 15-20% though the main routes are less steep.

The other towns we visited were Trevi, Betona which had more gradual climbs(not more than 10%).

You can pretty much expect a climb to get into town.

Our loop was Spoleto->(Trevi)->(Montefalco)->(Spello)->Assisi->(Bettona)->Perugia
With 2 nights each in Spoleto, Assisi and Perugia. We toured with Blue Marble:
http://www.bluemarble.org/RteUmbria.html#itinerary

I suggest bringing a triple or at least a compact.

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Originally Posted by LindaB View Post
My husband and I will find ourselves in Umbria (near Lake Trasimeno) in April after a family wedding, and hope to set off on a 7 to 10 day tour. I'm finding routes in Umbria hard to come by, compared with Tuscany (which we toured very thoroughly and enjoyably in Oct, 2000). I'm looking at a loop from Lake Trasimeno over to Umbertide, then to Assisi, Spello, Montefalco, Spoleto, Todi and ending in Orvieto.

My biggest concern is really steep grades - we can climb a long time as long as we don't hit too many 10+% hills. The best info I've found is the loop rides shown on www.bikeinumbria.it. These are helpful, but I would love to hear from someone who has cycled in the area. Thanks.
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Old 11-26-09, 11:16 AM   #3
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You will certainly enjoy cycling through Umbria as the countryside and towns are beautiful.

However my main memory of touring in Umbria this past summer is of it being a very hilly region with a lot of gruelling steep grades. Most of these were found on the roads heading into/out of the beautiful medieval hilltop situated towns, Todi and Orvieto being two examples. Coming out of Todi we were delighted to stumble on a 21% downhill grade and it wasn't until we were at the bottom that we realised we had picked the completely wrong road and would have to backtrack which was not very enjoyable. Approaching Todi from Spoleto would most likely avoid this road though and you could take a much more gentle route up. Orvieto is a simply stunning walled city high on the top of a flat hill in the centre of a vast valley and unfortunately whatever direction you approach it from requires a long relatively steep climb as there are only two roads into the town.

Don't let this put you off though, as though getting into the towns themselves can be tough, you have to remember that you always get to go out of the towns down similar grade roads Also, the cities themselves are simply fantastic with labyrinths of medieaval alleys and streets. Perugia is well worth a visit if you have the time.
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Old 11-26-09, 10:23 PM   #4
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I went through part of Umbria when cycling around Tuscany a few years ago, I went from Spoleto to Norcia, across the Plano Grande and onward to Assisi. My memory is of very scenic, but very rugged countryside, and the best cycling roads tended to be narrow and steep. My advice is to put the lowest gears you can on your bikes, travel as light as you can, and accept the climbs as the trade off for the beautiful scenery.

Some of the main roads aren't nearly as steep, but they are more likely to have tunnels (that's how they avoid being steep). Get a good map that shows the tunnels and bring lights if you plan on riding these roads.

The Touring Club Italiano (TCI) regional maps, usually in a 1:200,000 scale, are excellent cycle touring maps. They show lots of minor roads, and have relief shading to give you an idea of how steep the terrain is. They also mark the steeper climbs/descents. Get them from www.trektools.com .
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