5 Great Reasons to join a Bike Tour of Tuscany
Touring Tuscany by bike is widely considered one of the best ways to see it all - the landscapes, the culture, the food and wine, and the people. Cycling through the valleys, vineyards, and hills of Chianti, Val d'Orcia and Cortona will offer you a once in a lifetime opportunity of sensations, vistas and memories. This large region features practically an unlimited number of itineraries to choose from, and twice as many vineyards, restaurants, cafes, and towns to add to your route. Though basically an uncomplicated activity, biking while on vacation gives rise to a series of planning obstacles that you can easily overcome if you choose the services of a bike tour.
Used to doing it on your own? Undecided if an organized bike tour is the best solution? Here are our five great reasons why you should consider a bike tour.
1. Get Close & Get Personal
Undoubtedly one of Tuscany’s claims to fame is its fabulous landscape and if you think it is amazing on a postcard then just imagine it up close and personal. But do you know where to find that picture perfect spot on the roads of Tuscany? Who better to help you find them all than someone who is familiar with the lay of the land - an expert guide.
Cresting a hill in Chianti and being greeted with hectares of vineyards; curving the back roads to find a huge field of sunflowers; cruising downhill to the skyline of Florence. This is what we mean when we say getting close and personal.
As you pedal down the characteristic “white roads” and "low-traffic" routes, you will be in a position to stop for photos, and meet the locals; maybe it’s the farmer herding his sheep, the vineyard owner checking their grapes or another biker (Italians are avid bikers!) The services of a bike tour agency include tried and true itineraries with programmed stops at vineyards, special restaurants, and gelato shops.
2. It is for Everyone
Occasional biker or die-hard cyclist, there are itineraries that will work for everyone! Especially if you have a qualified bike tour agency organizing the details. It may look as if Tuscany is composed only of daunting hills and mountains but an expert bike guide will map out an itinerary that is do-able for your skill level. There are several well-marked itineraries that you can follow on your own or you can rely on an organized tour, which has a team of professionals to provide backup assistance throughout the tour.
A seasoned Tuscan biker explained that Tuscany provides lots of opportunities, he listed off some of his favorites:
In my opinion, the path called Sentiero della Bonifica or trails along the Tuscan coast and through the valleys are where you will find flat lands that invite even the most inexperienced biker. The hills of Chianti, or the Val d’Orcia can easily be navigated with little fatigue.
There are several possible itineraries, and a local guide will know how to avoid steep slopes and busy roads. The more challenging itineraries in Casentino, Mugello, and Pistoia will excite experienced bikers who like to pump through demanding ascents and coast down mountains.
3. Combine Activities
When time is limited and you still want to do it all?! And why not, you are on vacation! A bike tour of Tuscany will bring the beauty of the landscape within your reach while providing you with lots of opportunities to add more to the mix. This is where an expert local guide comes in handy, they know what there is to see, and they know how to get your there - in the easiest and safest manner. That's what they are there for.
We all know you work up an appetite when biking, and … let’s admit it, you can get pretty thirsty out there. A great idea is combining your photo opportunities of the landscape with stops along the way to savor the deliciousness of the Tuscan menus and cantinas.
Traveling with kids? Then between racing from one hill to the next, you can include stops visiting small towns and searching out the best gelato -- ever! Plan stops at small towns, like that of San Gimignano, San Donato or Buonconvento for a walk around the cobblestone streets, churches and then indulge in tasting a few gelato shops.
|ORGANIZED BIKE TOUR||SELF GUIDED TOUR|
|Tested Itineraries appropriate for your skill level||Creating your own itinerary|
|Different departure & arrival points||Circular itineraries, starting & ending in the same place|
|Local experts to guide & introduce you to special vineyards, towns or experiences||Spontaneity of the day|
|Support van with energy snacks & assistance||You’re on your own|
|Semi-private groups: Meeting new people||Absolute privacy|
|Quality equipment & safety ware||Bring your own bike or rent|
4. Every Season has its Charm
However, having said this it is obvious that inclement weather does not make for fun pedaling. No matter when you are coming to Tuscany for vacation, you will find that a bike tour will reveal something special and memorable. Spring, summer, fall, and winter are filled with treasures that are best when encountered while pedaling the back road itineraries.
Think of the fabulous colors of spring and its fields of poppy flowers, and summer with the bobbing yellow sunflowers or fall with the kaleidoscope of orange and red in the vineyards. Even winter, though this is definitely the least hospitable season, will surprise you with views of castles that are hidden under the foliage -- yet when the trees are bare, they are easy to pick-out.
The thing about a bike tour in Tuscany, the agency comes prepared. Though they can't compensate for cold or freezing temps, and wintery-blustery days, they are prepared for the other seasons. It is advisable that all tours in July and August start in the morning - the earlier the better - to avoid high or uncomfortable temps.
If the climate doesn't play out the way you want, then you can hop in the support van and finish the tour on four wheels instead of two. The support van also guarantees immediate assistance when that last hill took your breath away (literally) or you need an energy boost or drink of water.
5. It’s Quality Time
Sometimes the vacations can whizz by, and all that remains is a blur of museums, monuments, and shopping. While each one of these activities is awesome - it can occasionally feel like nothing remains. Especially for the kids. Yet a bike tour provides sensations and creates memories that will live forever with you. And not just because you had some great photo opportunities!
When you take an itinerary ad hoc for your skill level, which showcases the beauty of Tuscany then add new friends, laughter and the exhilaration of some physical activity, well you have the recipe for quality time for yourself and your family, friends or sweetheart.
Quality time also means not having to worry about the details, a bike tour will cover the pick-up and drop-off, they check that the equipment is well maintained and they make all the reservations at restaurants and cantinas.
We seem a bit biased towards doing a tour as opposed to biking on your own - and that's just not true. The DiscoverTuscany team has a biking enthusiast who constantly is offering tips and pointers on new and fun routes to take. But he is also the first to say, if he was on vacation with the family - he would want to leave the planning and logistics to someone else.