Old 09-25-06, 07:29 PM
  #1  
R900
Double Secret Probation
 
R900's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Eastern Indiana
Posts: 2,578

Bikes: Madone 6 series SSL, Cannondale CX9, Trek TTX, Trek 970, Trek T2000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Tuscany, Italy Bike Tour – Long, 56k Beware

We spent the second week in September in Southern Tuscany. We flew in to Florence, Italy for our tour with Trek Travel. Of the 400+ pics we took I selected a few that might be of more interest to bikers and give a general feel of the region. Tuscany is AWESOME, and Trek Travel does a fantastic job, we enjoyed every minute of the tour, and would happily go again.

We rode Trek Madones, although a few in the tour group opted for hybrids. The bikes were in excellent condition and well tuned and ready to roll, they had about 100 stems to accommodate fitting each bike. Rides varied from about 15 miles on the first and last days to a long of about 45 miles. Mileage could vary depending on what the rider wanted to do. Some tours include more mileage, and extra loops were always available. The most I climbed was about 3,200 ft; most days were around 2,000 ft. We would basically ride from resort to resort, although a couple nights we were able to stay in the same place. Hotels and resorts were outstanding. In the morning you would simply leave you stuff out by your door after breakfast, ride your bike to lunch, and when you arrived at the next hotel it was in your new room.

The trip also consisted of various wine tasting, cheese tasting, pizza and pasta making, as well as a couple 4 –course dinners. The Italians know how to eat. Our guides prepared a couple lunch picnics that were outstanding. Trek Travel really takes care of all the details, we were able to relax enjoy the biking and sites, and just have a great time.

Italy is awesome. We arrived in Florence and it’s a busy city, with scooters, bikes, mini-cars, and people everywhere. There are many beautiful sites to see, we spent most of our time (before and after the tour) just walking around. I did find one nice bike shop that specializes in offering tours themselves. The shop had lots of Bianchis and plenty or Campagnolo stuff and well as Italian clothing. We also took the train to Pisa, a very nice city and of course saw the leaning tower.

What I liked the best were the people, very weathered and friendly, most everyone returned a greeting when spoken to. One pic is my wife passing a local rider. They use bikes everywhere – it’s the culture. Didn’t really see any fat Italians, people enjoy wine and food, but also work very hard. The one pic shows a Lamborghini tractor. The grape harvest was just beginning while we were there.

The landscape is spectacular, it had been very dry (should be a good year for wine). Shades of brown, tan, were awesome. Speaking of wine, they take it very serious. I’m not much of a wine drinker, but appreciate the passion for it. The small villages on the hills were wonderful. The one thing you realize is everything is so old. The land has been used for centuries and all the nutrients drawn out, they use what they can and make to with what they have. It was amazing how many linens, etc… were made in Italy, no large mass market importer selling cheap stuff. Italians produce all sorts of goods, most seem to be of high quality. Hard to really describe being there; it’s beautiful and inviting, everything you think it would be.

Biking along the quiet county roads was a real pleasure, drivers seemed to look for bikes, and I felt safer on the roads (no shoulders) in Italy then back home. Not once did I get yelled out or have a near death experience. Often passing a local on bike, or another tourist, it’s a wonderful place to bike.

I would love to go again, we enjoyed the tour and group much more then we thought we would have. Also taking care of many of the day decisions made it that much easier to take in the people and landscape. We were there 10 days, biked 6, and spent about 3 traveling, a long time to be away from our young children, but it was a wonder place to spend our 10th anniversary.

Thanks for looking – Pictures in no particular order…

Picnic Lunch...



Me with my Bianchi cap on...



Lamborghini tractor...



Hows this for a bike Rack...



The Arno River in Florence...



Leaning Tower...



Bikes everywhere in Florence...



Countryside...





This was a fast downhill...

R900 is offline