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Hi folks, a buddy of mine and I are thinking of bike touring in italy for about a week to ten days in early september. We ride roadbikes, would ride 40-60 miles daily, and are very fit. I like the long climbs, but I don't know if he enjoys climbs as much as I do, so a mix would probably be best for both of us. We both prefer the outdoors and natural beauty over city stuff. Few questions:

- where can we go to find good, accurate information?
- is it possible to rent good roadbikes in italy, or is it better to bring our own bikes on the plane?
- any particular website, books, or outfitters that you recommend? (same question as the first, i guess)
- any particular locations that are unbeatable? i've heard of tuscany, and personally salivate over the stelvio, gavia, and mortirolo, but would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!
 

· merckxman
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For sure: Bring your own bikes

and, I suggest you study the routes that many tour companies use in the areas you are interested in and make up your own itinerary.



trihiker said:
Hi folks, a buddy of mine and I are thinking of bike touring in italy for about a week to ten days in early september. We ride roadbikes, would ride 40-60 miles daily, and are very fit. I like the long climbs, but I don't know if he enjoys climbs as much as I do, so a mix would probably be best for both of us. We both prefer the outdoors and natural beauty over city stuff. Few questions:

- where can we go to find good, accurate information?
- is it possible to rent good roadbikes in italy, or is it better to bring our own bikes on the plane?
- any particular website, books, or outfitters that you recommend? (same question as the first, i guess)
- any particular locations that are unbeatable? i've heard of tuscany, and personally salivate over the stelvio, gavia, and mortirolo, but would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!
 

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for outdoors/natural beauty I would stay in North America - Europe, with a few notable exceptions does cities better - Europe's all about cool cities - even small cities/towns in Europe are very urban i.e. people live very close to each other/on top of each other - the countryside in Europe is for the most part very tame, seldom remote and usually full of people - North America with some exceptions does outdoors better

for information on Italy - get a Lonely Planet/Rough Guide - for information about cycling in Italy look here: http://www.trentobike.org/

if you're fit, 40-60 miles a day will leave you with more than half of the day to kill

IME it is not possible to rent decent roadbikes or mountain bike in any European country

Tuscany is great - as are the Lakes, the Amalfi coast, Sicily, Rome... you can't go wrong

if it's your first trip abroad - leave the bikes at home, rely on local transport and enjoy being a tourist - you'll walk more in a day than you do in a week at home - call it cross training
 

· gastarbeiter
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M.J. said:
even small cities/towns in Europe are very urban i.e. people live very close to each other/on top of each other - the countryside in Europe is for the most part very tame, seldom remote and usually full of people
yeah, right...



 

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you can find the same outdoorsy thing/rides closer at hand in North America - why travel to Europe to avoid the cities? BTW notice how many people are in those pictures? a scenic ride in the coutnry with a couple thousand of your friends...
 

· gastarbeiter
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M.J. said:
you can find the same outdoorsy thing/rides closer at hand in North America - why travel to Europe to avoid the cities? BTW notice how many people are in those pictures? a scenic ride in the coutnry with a couple thousand of your friends...
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

dude, there's a reason why there were so many people on the road: the pic was taken during a Gran Fondo.

I'm fully aware that there's stunning landscapes in the US. Of that there's no doubt.

believe it or not, some of us do not suffer from cultural agoraphobia or cycling xenophobia, and actually enjoy experiencing different cultures, especially ones that share a passion for cycling.

PS - i highly doubt you find the 'same outdoorsy things/rides'. similar maybe, but def not the same.
 

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trihiker said:
Hi folks, a buddy of mine and I are thinking of bike touring in italy for about a week to ten days in early september. We ride roadbikes, would ride 40-60 miles daily, and are very fit. I like the long climbs, but I don't know if he enjoys climbs as much as I do, so a mix would probably be best for both of us. We both prefer the outdoors and natural beauty over city stuff. Few questions:

- where can we go to find good, accurate information?
- is it possible to rent good roadbikes in italy, or is it better to bring our own bikes on the plane?
- any particular website, books, or outfitters that you recommend? (same question as the first, i guess)
- any particular locations that are unbeatable? i've heard of tuscany, and personally salivate over the stelvio, gavia, and mortirolo, but would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!

I lived and raced in Italy for a year, and always find myself going back every year as the riding is great. I almost always bring my bike, but you can find good bike rentals in some places. Here is a good one http://www.florencebybike.it/. When I go to Europe on Business sometimes I hop down to Italy fto ride for the weekend, I usually rent from them.

As for where to go..... stelvio, gavia, and mortirolo are great but you better be in serious shape, espcially the Stelvio....that is some serious climbing. I love to climb long climbs like that but you need to be ready for it.

Tuscany is awesome, if you need a tour company a friend I used to ride with has a tour company http://www.besttuscantours.it/ ask for Dominico.

As for crowds in the country??? I have no idea what he is refering to.

PM me if you have more questions.
 

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er, check my profile, see where I live, check my ride reports and keep the attitude in check

homey ain't looking to do a Gran Fondo or an e'tape - he wants to avoid cities and enjoys riding in the outdoors at expected distances 40-60 miles with a buddy who doesn't appear to like hills - Europa seems a long way to go to get that particular fix and Italy is a place where you have to try pretty hard to acheive it

whenever I look for/do an outdoors away from cities experience in Europe I am always disappointed because I compare it to what I would expect in North America - does that mean I think Europe's ugly? no - does that mean there's not good riding here? no - does it mean that that flying from the states to ride in the Italian countryside is crazee? no - but maybe what this guy is after isn't best found in Italy

so often people in the states have a romantic ideal of a Europe that seldom exists
 

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M.J. said:
er, check my profile, see where I live, check my ride reports and keep the attitude in check
I will do my best to keep the attitude at a minumum, but I respectfully dissagree with you.....I am sorry to hear that you are trapped in London. I lived in that unfortunate country for 3 rainy years, with the combo of traffic and rain I cannot think of a worse place to ride a bike. Maybe Shanghai or Mexico City

In addition to 3 years in London I also lived 2 years in Spain, 1 in Italy, 6 months in CH, and 6 months in France. Much of this time was spent on a bike training or struggling to hang off the back of a peloton going 50 kph. I now live in California but business takes me to Europe 1-5 times a year.

M.J. said:
Italy is a place where you have to try pretty hard to acheive it
I cannot think of a better place to ride a bike then southern Tuscany, the Crete Sensi is amazing. It's only problem is the opposite of your complaint, there is not much happening. It is pretty quite off the bike. Umbria, The Maremma, The Dolomites....I love the Dolomites but you better be in shape to climb.

I would recomend a hotel just outside Florence, then you don't have to deal with any traffic yet are close to town. There are many to chose from, I usually stay with friends. I have never stayed at this place but it seems to fit the bill http://www.villamontartino.com/

M.J. said:
so often people in the states have a romantic ideal of a Europe that seldom exists
It exists, I am sorry to hear you have not found it. I have found it in Tuscany, Provence, Umbria, Maremma, Landes, Elba, Burgendy and many, many more places...the Alps, Lake Annecy, Lake Como..... The hills in Tuscany are rolling, with the exception of Consuma and Abitone they seldom gain more then 1000 feet. Very managable.
 

· merckxman
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Stelvio

I just rode the Stelvio this morning. 47 numbered switchbacks to the top. To OP: Fantastic but you better be in shape or you'll find yourself walking or making a U-turn.
surftel said:
I lived and raced in Italy for a year, and always find myself going back every year as the riding is great. I almost always bring my bike, but you can find good bike rentals in some places. Here is a good one http://www.florencebybike.it/. When I go to Europe on Business sometimes I hop down to Italy fto ride for the weekend, I usually rent from them.

As for where to go..... stelvio, gavia, and mortirolo are great but you better be in serious shape, espcially the Stelvio....that is some serious climbing. I love to climb long climbs like that but you need to be ready for it.

Tuscany is awesome, if you need a tour company a friend I used to ride with has a tour company http://www.besttuscantours.it/ ask for Dominico.

As for crowds in the country??? I have no idea what he is refering to.

PM me if you have more questions.
 

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merckxman said:
I just rode the Stelvio this morning.
That photo always scares me.

How did it go? did you drop down into Bormaio or are you staying in Bolzano?

Have you ever ridden Ventoux? If yes which do you think is harder?

I have always thought the first 15km of Ventoux was insane as there are no turns, just non stop 9-11%....But everytime I see this picture of the Stelvio I always think, "There is nothing harder then this"

Myself and all the other RBR Euro geeks expect a full report
 

· merckxman
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Mt. Ventoux vs. Stelvio

I have had a crazy one month of cycling starting in June: 1 week cycling around Corsica, Mont Ventoux, Maratona dles Dolomites and the Stelvio.

Mont Ventoux, for me, was a bit harder. Perhaps the weather contributed to that. It was hot, hot, hot when I did Mont Ventoux and I don't think there was a droplet of oxygen through the 9-10% wooded section. The climb yesterday of the Stelvio started at a temperature of 9c so it was nice and cool. One of the big differences between the two is that the Stevio has so many switchbacks whereas Ventoux only has two (and those are near the top). One one hand you need to concentrate more going up the Stelvio but each turn does provide a moment of rest whereas Ventoux just keps coming and coming at you. I liked the scenery better on the way up the Stelvio as you have a beautiful glacier on your left. The prize for the view from the top would have to go to Ventoux.

The Mont Ventoux ride was interesting also in that I rode along with Eros Poli who won that stage in 1994 in a 170km escape.

Stelvio accomodations: We stayed in a hotel in the valley of Prato allo Stelvio.





surftel said:
That photo always scares me.

How did it go? did you drop down into Bormaio or are you staying in Bolzano?

Have you ever ridden Ventoux? If yes which do you think is harder?

I have always thought the first 15km of Ventoux was insane as there are no turns, just non stop 9-11%....But everytime I see this picture of the Stelvio I always think, "There is nothing harder then this"

Myself and all the other RBR Euro geeks expect a full report
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks

Hi folks, thanks for all the advice. To answer a few of the questions raised -

my friend will be in Italy for a month for med school related stuff. That's why we're going to Italy. While there, we want to do something outdoors, and thought of hiking or cycling. We've done loads of hiking together, but no road cycling trips (did a 100 mile mountain biking trip in Canyonlands National Park in Utah once though). So we settled on road cycling.

I'm an experienced cyclist - have biked a lot in Washington and California mountains, and last summer did Ironman in Germany, visited the Tour and rode up Courchevel, Galibier, and Alp d'Huez, and bike toured in Switzerland, including the Grimsel and Furka passes in the same day (while loaded down with panniers). So the Stelvio will certainly be hard, but I think I can manage. My friends (there are 3 of us now), while extremely fit, are much newer to cycling and won't be able to prepare for such hard climbs. So we decided to do Tuscany, since that seems universally recommended, and hilly, but not too hard. We'll probably end up doing 50-75 miles a day. Don't mind riding and chilling on vacation. I'm thinking of going a few days early and hitting Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo if possible and then meeting them in Florence or somewhere.

Thanks for the links for bike rentals. I might take my bike, but mine is an old one and I hate the hassle of taking the bike around, and storing the bike box somewhere.

I'll try and remember to post pics when I get back. Any other advice would be appreciated. I thought of buying Lonely Planet's guide to cycling in Italy - any recommended books?

Thanks everyone!
 

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trihiker said:
Hi folks, thanks for all the advice. To answer a few of the questions raised -

my friend will be in Italy for a month for med school related stuff. That's why we're going to Italy. While there, we want to do something outdoors, and thought of hiking or cycling. We've done loads of hiking together, but no road cycling trips (did a 100 mile mountain biking trip in Canyonlands National Park in Utah once though). So we settled on road cycling.

I'm an experienced cyclist - have biked a lot in Washington and California mountains, and last summer did Ironman in Germany, visited the Tour and rode up Courchevel, Galibier, and Alp d'Huez, and bike toured in Switzerland, including the Grimsel and Furka passes in the same day (while loaded down with panniers). So the Stelvio will certainly be hard, but I think I can manage. My friends (there are 3 of us now), while extremely fit, are much newer to cycling and won't be able to prepare for such hard climbs. So we decided to do Tuscany, since that seems universally recommended, and hilly, but not too hard. We'll probably end up doing 50-75 miles a day. Don't mind riding and chilling on vacation. I'm thinking of going a few days early and hitting Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo if possible and then meeting them in Florence or somewhere.

Thanks for the links for bike rentals. I might take my bike, but mine is an old one and I hate the hassle of taking the bike around, and storing the bike box somewhere.

I'll try and remember to post pics when I get back. Any other advice would be appreciated. I thought of buying Lonely Planet's guide to cycling in Italy - any recommended books?

Thanks everyone!
You will have a blast. FYI, you will need a car to fully explore Tuscany. Don't be scared driving in italy is not so bad and there is parking in Florence. There are a few areas near the Arno, you will see the blue marks on the road and the little machine you have to feed to get your ticket. Make sure you check the signs becuase certain nights are street cleaning and they will tow your car. You can rent a bike rack at Florence by bike, one of those little ones that fits on the back of the car.

Depending on how much time you are there think about renting a house or apartment. There are 100's of them thru out Tuscany, many are very inexpensive and are the best way to travel with 3 people. Just google "tuscany vacation rental" Some rent by the day, most by the week.

Bring your rain gear as it can be a little wet at that time of the year, it will be mostly sunny but on occasion a big burst will come out of nowere. My wife and I went for a week last year the first week of Oct and we had a couple of days of rain, and when I lived there I remember September having more rain then other months.

If you want some big climbs head east to the Ruffino area to the Passo della Consuma, I think it is about 3,000 feet of vertical. Also Abitone is a big climb to the east.

The traffic can be bad around Florence but once you get out of the city it is peaceful. The Italians drivers are really cool to riders, they may get little close at times but unlike in the US where this is usually a ******* who wants you off the road the Italian is just showing you his driving skills ;). Think about spending a few days south of Siena in the Crete Sensi/ Val d'Orcia. When you see the postcards of Tuscany the best ones are in the Crete. The road from Pienza to Multipuciano is awesome. The hill towns in that area are the real deal.

Get a good local map, I have one I got at Borders that is sealed in plastic so it does not fall apart in my jersey. I think I have ridden most roads in Tuscany but I still bring a map just in case. I love riding the "white" roads. They are crushed granite and cover most of Tuscany. Some people don't like them, maybe scared of flats, loss of traction etc. I love them becuase of the peacefullness and great views.

If you have any questions PM me and I will do my best to answer them.
 

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touring in Italy

Hi, trihiker, I'm an italian rider (both MTB and road), I'm living in Florence; If you think I'll be in able to be helpfull for you contact me (for a ride around here too) and let me know how can help you.
The Hills around Florence is not like Gavio or Mortirolo for sure but there were many beautiful rolling ride and same good elevations change too (any hill can be hard if you take it fast).
I'm a Granfondo middle of the pack, over the hill racer, I'm very happy to make same overseas friends.
Paolo
 

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Road Bike Touring In Italy

Ciao Trihiker

Why don't yuou check out my website www.besttuscantours.it as we offer road bike touring services including rentals and lodgings and some great itineraries. September is a great time to tour in Tuscany.

I have logged over 50,000 Kilometers racing training and guiding is Tuscany and can introduce you to the best the region has to offer.

Thanks

Paolo drop me an email I would love to ride with you I am in Flroence also.
[email protected]
 

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The wife and I would like to do a tour in Italy.

Best Tuscan Tours said:
Ciao Trihiker

Why don't yuou check out my website www.besttuscantours.it as we offer road bike touring services including rentals and lodgings and some great itineraries. September is a great time to tour in Tuscany.

I have logged over 50,000 Kilometers racing training and guiding is Tuscany and can introduce you to the best the region has to offer.

Thanks

Paolo drop me an email I would love to ride with you I am in Flroence also.
[email protected]
Do you have a ride or could you put something together where we stay in nice places and ride 100 miles a day for a week or 10 days?
 

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MB1 said:
Do you have a ride or could you put something together where we stay in nice places and ride 100 miles a day for a week or 10 days?
If I could ride 100 miles a day for a week or 10 days I would live on cheesecake, coffee, and beer. Nine and a half months until I leave lousy old Hawaii and head to Sardinia. Woo hoo.
 

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Best Tuscan Tours said:
Ciao Trihiker

Why don't yuou check out my website www.besttuscantours.it as we offer road bike touring services including rentals and lodgings and some great itineraries. September is a great time to tour in Tuscany.

I have logged over 50,000 Kilometers racing training and guiding is Tuscany and can introduce you to the best the region has to offer.

Thanks

Paolo drop me an email I would love to ride with you I am in Flroence also.
[email protected]

Dominick! It is a small world.

Anyone who is going to Tuscany should drop Dom an email,He is the best guide you can hire. He knows every road and can hang with the best of them. He also knows all of the best resturants in Tuscany. Highly recommended, he is my first call everytime I am in Italy.

Dom you can probably guess who this is by my member name. Hope all is well in Italy, I am sure you are book full this summer.

Stormy and I are going to Oktoberfest for "Business" want to come?

Mike
 
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