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Thread: Bicycling In Tuscany

  1. #1
    cwbrick is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
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    May 2020
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    Default Bicycling In Tuscany

    We're a couple of older (68) male bicyclists of intermediate skill who are looking to enjoy a modest, self-guided, week-long cycling adventure in Tuscany in the spring or fall of 2021. We would prefer not signing up with any of the companies that offer cycling tours (due to cost) and would prefer to stay in one general location as a "home base" while exploring the area and then returning each evening to our B&B. We have never traveled internationally with our bicycles, so we are not knowledgeable of the best way to either bring our bicycles on the plane as checked baggage, or ship our bicycles ahead of time to our final destination. We do not wish to rent bicycles in Italy. We anticipate staying at a B&B we may locate on line for our entire stay and also renting a car. Has anyone done something like this? Would you have recommendations for how to get our bicycles to Italy, where in Tuscany to search for a B&B, etc. Thank you. Chuck B.

  2. #2
    wbmac is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
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    The people that I have known to travel with bicycles use a case that holds their bicycle in a largely disassembled condition. It would be possible to use some kind of bicycle box for transport but then you must store the box at the end or possibly have to get another. Check with the airlines to see what they offer. I know that some airlines were better than others for transporting bicycles. They may store a box..Unless you have a perfectly fitted bicycle I would expect that the cost to rent bicycles would be close to the cost of transporting. It is possible ,even easy, to rent top quality bicycles in Europe...but I know that is not what your plan is.
    Doing some research and specifically talking to the airlines is a good place to start. You would not be pioneers in the bicycle transport option. I would suggest finding a forum where bicycling/travel is the main focus.
    I am most familiar with the city of Lucca since I have been there many times. There are a variety of day trips to visit vineyards, wineries and breweries. The Via Francigena is a very well known route and within a week the 137km to Sienna could be an option. Certainly a quick option would be to ride around the walled city but on a bike it's short, but stopping for a coffee or meal along the way would help you get your bearings.
    If Lucca is your destination I have a recommendation to help find reasonably priced accommodations; Luccabookingholiday.com - Antonella has helped me. Her pricing will be much better than going to Airbnb. However, most of her accommodations are around Lucca. I imagine there are other agencies that are similar for other localities.

    Hope that helps

  3. #3
    Lourdes's Avatar
    Lourdes is offline Administrator - DiscoverTuscany Team
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    Ciao cwbrick,

    How is your planning going for your trip next year? I know it isn't easy, considering how travel in general is limited at the moment, but it is always possible to plan for the general parts of the trip and wait to set up specific dates once the situation has changed as regards travel and the virus.

    As wbmac recommended, I would also start with the airlines. I know that it is possible to transport your bike as checked luggage but each one likely has their requirements as to how to carry it on. I know there are hard cases you can use, disassembling part of the bike so that it fits. If you search online, you'll see that these cases exist and it will just be a matter of getting the right one for your bike.
    I would not consider shipping them ahead of time, other than through a courier that would guarantee the arrival in a perfect condition as they were shipped. You could look into both options and see which one is least expensive, or gives you better sense of security.

    However, as Tuscany is a cycling destination, you should also look into renting a high-end road bike here. There are many companies that offer both tours as well as just rentals and they are good bikes. As far as cost goes, it might be cheaper than doing checked baggage or shipping so definitely look into it as well. Another plus to renting is you could rent road bikes for a few days, and also mountain bikes for a few more days. There are many gravel roads called "white roads" in the region and paths in the woods that are perfect for mountain biking.

    As far as your base, do you anticipate doing bike rides every day? How comfortable are you with hills? Do you want to experience a mix of flat with hills? Chianti and the Val d'Orcia are very popular areas to explore with bikes, but Chianti is definitely more of a hill territory (both are but Val d'Orcia's hills are more gradual). Pretty much all the towns/villages are at the top of hills so between them means going downhill and then back uphill to the next town. If you stay in either area, you can most definitely head in a different direction every day and not get bored. I particularly love the area between Castellina and Castelnuovo Berardenga and Siena, it has a lot of hills but also a lot of vineyards and small towns and is close enough to Siena and to the Val d'Orcia to allow you to head down that way as well on longer rides. It would give you the chance to experience both.
    If you prefer some flatter rides, then I would suggest staying closer to the coast, in the area near Volterra or San Gimignano. That would allow you to head east towards Chianti on some days, but also west towards the coast on other days.

    You can check out https://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/ for places to stay at. In the countryside many farmhouses offer either apartments or rooms as a B&B (or both options) so you have lots of options. I think it is more important to decide the general area you want to stay first, then look for something appropriate. Many places welcome cyclists and have the space for storing them safely.

    If you're planning to rent a car in any case, look into flying and renting out of Pisa airport, simpler than Florence.

    Let us know at what point you are so that we can offer more suggestions where you need them! Have a great day!
    In the beginning stages of planning to come to Tuscany? Make sure to read Where to Stay in Tuscany WITH a car and Where to Stay in Tuscany WITHOUT a car for ideas on where to stay in Tuscany. Also read When to Visit Tuscany to decide when is the best times for your visit.

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