Cycle Legs rides are designed not just as a bike tour to get from A to B, but a way to experience the cultures, people, environments and ways of life across the globe. These rides are not just a tour, but an achievement. We cycle the back-roads, past famous castles, monastries, vineyards, rivers, lakes and over mountains. You are beating a new path with AllTrails and you are part of the expedition. It is something that you can be proud of completing, yet it is within reach of almost anyone who is adventurous enough to commit to it.
This bicycling journey begins in the eternal city of Rome where you will be greeted with a welcome dinner, then travels up through picturesque Tuscany and over the Apennine Mountains to Emilia Romagna.
We see some really important cultural and historical sites such as San Gimignano, Siena (optional), Pisa (optional) and the val D’Orcia and its towns (UNESCO world heritage site and one of our local guides' favorite places in all of Italy). These are some of the most visited Italian sites (the val d’Orcia has Montepulciano and Montalcino, renowned for their red wines).
The finale of this leg comes with our arrival in Torino, designated the first capital of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, the home of the House of Savoy, and the leader in uniting Italy under one flag (also home of automotive industries like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Ducati).
Along the way we will learn about the unique features and customs of 9 of Italy's 20 regions as we pedal along quiet roads through country towns, past medieval and renaissance castles and cities. Of course there will also be ample opportunities to sample some of each region's finest wines and foods. Join us for this pioneering bicycling expedition.
Our departure date from Rome is on the same day as the start of the 2012 Tour de France. Some of you might be heading home after arriving in Torino but most will carry on with us on Leg 23 from Torino to Paris where we cycle some of the famous Tour de France routes, crossing the path and catching the action of Le Tour on a day in the Alps, then catch the final day of the Tour in Paris around the streets of Champs-Elysees.
Leg 22 Highlights:
The ancient city and cultural history of Rome before the tour starts
Leg 22 departs on the same day as the start of the Tour de France 2012
Leg 23 Finishes on the same day as the Tour de France in Paris
"Tours 2 France"
Wake up in beautiful Italian accommodation and enjoy a relaxed breakfast before mounting your treadlie and heading off with 20 plus cyclists. We have a designated meeting point up the road for morning tea, then again we will have a lunch stop allocated around midday before finishing the day's ride in early afternoon.
We usually arrange the evening meal in our accommodation or close-by where our local guides direct us to the best culinary eateries. In the evenings you may relax in your room or socialise with some of the other riders and locals in the town or at our accommodation. After dinner enjoy the nightlife in this fascinating country or relax in the comfort of your hotel.
In general most days on tour have a similar structure but a cycling holiday like this can throw up any number of exciting opportunities and challenges which can change our plans or approach to the day.
This is a fully supported and guided bike tour where we look after you day and night. It truly is a cycling holiday like no other.
Meal and accommodation inclusions noted as B, L, D, A (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Accommodation)
ROME Friday, 29th June 2012
Arrive early to visit the eternal city - with more than enough monuments, ruins and small streets to visit we highly recommend spending a few days here.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do and like most other travellers, visit St Peters Basilica, Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums, all part of this structural marvel, the dome beautified by Michaelangelo. The Colloseum is another Italian treasure, its size and history is fascinating, where you can sit down and try to imagine the scene of many deadly gladiatorial and wild animal duals to the death, amid the roar of the crowd. The Pantheon, built around AD118-125 and the Piazza is spectacular.
The Roman Forum is a huge complex of ruined temples and is well worth a visit, plus a great view from Capitoline Hill, a two hour walk, where the oldest public museum sits. Piazza Navona, originally built as a stadium for chariot races, with its central fountain, is now lined with cafes and is the home of tartufo ice cream. Maybe hire a bike or be shown the best of Rome with a local guided tour company.
You will be welcomed in Rome with a dinner tonight to meet the crew and your fellow cyclists joining you on the ride.
ROME to TUSCANIA, 120km Saturday, 30th June 2012
B D A
Highlights: Ride along the Tiber River, Tuscania
Our ride out of Rome takes us on a 20km bike path along the Tiber River from the Vatican. Enjoy the views of this great city as we head north past fishing villages, quaint little cottages and lovely architecture, to Tuscania, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Dinner together tonight.
TUSCANIA to SAN QUIRICO D'ORCIA, 100km Sunday, 1st July 2012
B D A
Highlights: Pedal the Val d'Orcia valley.
We pedal across the 'Tuscia' today, a remote part of Italy that formed the southern part of Etruria (the heartland of the native inhabitants of this region - the Etruscans). This is a horizontal landscape made up of layers of previously airborne volcanic ash. We pedal by and through several ancient, inactive volcanoes, specifically that of Lake Bolsena, today a popular summer destination for families seeking nice lake beaches. Our ride takes us along the ancient Roman road 'Cassia' as we wind our way into one of Italy's most picturesque valleys, the Val d'Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage site so named for the interaction between humans and landscape. Our destination is San Quirico d'Orcia, perched on the northern edge of the valley and so affording a fantastic view over the dry rolling hills lined with classic Tuscan cypress trees. Our hotel has a stunning swimming pool with a great view over the valley. Dinner together tonight.
SAN QUIRICO D'ORCIA to SAN GIMIGNANO, 98km Monday, 2nd July 2012
Highlights: San Gimignano and it's medieval towers
We'll pedal north toward Siena today, along the famous (or infamous!) Tuscan hills. Gear down and spin and you'll be up and down these hills in no time! We're skirting the big city of Siena to reach the smaller town of San Gimignano, picturesque for its historic towers that dot the horizon as we approach town. Our hotel is just 1km outside of town with a lovely swimming pool in which to relax after the day's ride. There is a pathway for those who want to walk into town which is definitely worth it.
SAN GIMIGNANO to LUCCA, 90km Tuesday, 3rd July 2012
B D A
Highlights: Walled city of Lucca, vineyards of Tuscany
We continue north along the vineyards of Tuscany and wheat fields full of poppies. Our destination is Lucca, a wonderful medieval town that still retains an intact 17th century wall. Dinner together tonight.
LUCCA (Rest Day) Wednesday, 4th July 2012
Highlights: Enjoy Lucca, or take a side trip to Pisa, Home to Puccini
Lucca was a Roman town and one of medieval Italy's most prosperous city-states. Today, Lucca retains its medieval charm with its small shops and sidewalk cafes. Take a day to relax, or if you feel the urge we can organize a trip to Pisa for a visit to the leaning tower. No bicycling today.
LUCCA to EQUI TERME, 91km Thursday, 5th July 2012
B D A
Highlights: Pedal the foothills of the Appennines
We ride into the foothills of the Apennine Mountains. We'll spend a good part of the day in the Garfagnana, a vast chestnut forest north of Lucca. Dinner together tonight.
EQUI TERME to SALSOMAGGIORE , 141km Friday, 6th July 2012
Highlights: Cross into Italy's culinary heartland, Emilia Romagna
We have flirted with Italy's Apennine Mountains for four days now without crossing them. Well, today we head up and over to the north side of the Apennines. We leave 'Mediterranean Italy' and head into the Po Valley which enjoys a more subcontinental climate.
SALSOMAGGIORE to CASTELLO DI SAN GAUDENZIO , 130km Saturday, 7th July 2012
B D A
Highlights: Rolling hills and flat riding, beautiful restored castle hotel
Our ride today takes us through the foothills of the 'Oltre Po Pavese' south of the Po River through the foothills of the Apennine Mountains and out onto the flat Po Valley. Our hotel tonight is a restored castle. Dinner together tonight.
CASTELLO DI SAN GAUDENZIO to ASTI, 97km Sunday, 8th July 2012
Highlights: Enter Piemonte Region, bicycle through wine country
We follow the flat Po Valley for the most part today on our way to Asti, Piemonte. We end in one of Italy's most up and coming wine regions where vineyards produce many of the famous Piemonte wines, including Barbera d'Asti and Asti Spumante.
ASTI to TORINO (TURIN), 75km Monday, 9th July 2012
B D A
Highlights: arrive in Torino - home of the Savoy family
Our final ride is relatively short today and it takes us into Torino, the seat of the House of Savoy and the first capital of a unified Italy beginning in 1861. We'll celebrate our journey through Italy with a group dinner tonight.
TORINO (TURIN) Tuesday, 10th July 2012
Whether you are continuing to pedal to Paris on Leg 23 or staying in Torino and Italy, thank you for sharing the good times with us and buon viaggio!
FRIDAY, 24TH AUGUST 2012
Written by Cyclist
"When I finished up in Torino, I was a bit dirty on myself for not signing up for the Torino to Paris to leg. I really enjoyed my time. The accommodation and food were fantastic and it was evident that it had all been well researched. Would love to do Torino to Paris in the coming years." David A (VIC) Rome to Torino 2012
FRIDAY, 24TH AUGUST 2012
Written by Cyclist
"Riding in Italy and France in June July was always going to be very special and it didn't disappoint. Being able to share with others some of the unique parts of Italy and France was a terrific experience and will always be a cherished memory." Barry S (WA) Rome to Paris 2012
WEDNESDAY, 15TH AUGUST 2012
Written by Cyclist
'''Susan, I want to again say how much I appreciated your kindness and understanding to myself. I do believe that you were instrumental in my doing the riding that I did do. You did a great job as a leader!! Great trip, great moments to think back on and lovely memories to keep. Take care and please know that all your efforts and kindness never goes unnoticed." Diane S (WA) Cycle Legs Rome to Paris 2012
MONDAY, 13TH AUGUST 2012
Written by Cyclist
"Hi Guys, I had a wonderful time on the ride from Rome to Paris." Sharon W (NSW). Rome to Paris 2013
TUESDAY, 24TH JULY 2012
Written by Cyclist
"A most enjoyable trip. Well worth the effort." Greg T (NSW) Torino to Paris 2012
Question not answered below?
Feel free to contact us at any time through our website ‘Contact Us’ page, phone or email. We love what we do and want to get you on the best bike ride for you. Speak to us about what's on your mind and we'll help you make your decision.
What is the accommodation like on tour?
Comfortable 3 and 4 star hotels and country estates
Accommodation of the most suitable standard is chosen on research trips of the route. All rooms have en suite facilities, and are usually at least at a 3 star level but in the bigger towns we can source great 4 star properties. In the smaller villages or more rural areas we often get lovely and interesting accommodation full of character and personality, or a country estate to enjoy for the evening.
We choose accommodation that is bicycle friendly, with good restaurants and near to town centres.
Sharing rooms – how does it work?
On the online entry form you can nominate any travelling companions that you would like to share a room with and/or be accommodated close to so that couples or friends can be roomed together. This can be in a double bed or in twin beds. If you are travelling alone like many of our riders, you can choose to 'twin share' where single riders are paired with other riders of the same gender and sometimes changed at each accommodation to create interest in sharing rooms. Single Supplement is also available for those that would like their own room for the whole trip. If you are a chronic snorer or have other habits that may affect your fellow room-mates we suggest booking your own room.
What about the food?
We provide daily quality breakfasts and most dinners. A balanced diet with plenty of carbs, proteins, fruit and vegies. There are plenty of great bakeries and cafes along the way for you to pick up lunches and snacks as you wish. We provide most dinners including welcome dinners on the first and last evening. On other nights you are free to explore the local cuisine offerings at your leisure with a few hints and recommendations from our local guides.
Please speak to us about any specific dietary requirements that you may have.
Yes, you can hire a bike and we encourage you to do so. The cost is $100 for Leg 22 and $150 for Leg 23. Hiring a bike will help you avoid any hassles that arise on occasion with travelling on airlines with bicycles. You can also bring your own seat and/or pedals to give you that little bit of 'home comfort'.
Hire bikes available:
Road Bike: with 'drop' handle bars, 30 speeds and 700 X 25 tires. Lightweight, responsive and comfortable Van Nicholas Titanium frame bikes. Bikes come with a combination of Shimano Ultegra and 105 components.
Hybrid Bike: flat handlebars, 700 X 35 tires and an innovative internal hub gearing system that offers you the same range as a traditional 27-speed hybrid. Originally designed as a compromise that blended the efficiency of a road bike with the trail-worthiness of a mountain bike, hybrids have become a popular choice with riders who prefer a flat handlebar and a more upright position.
Hybrid Mixte Bike: (sometimes called 'womens bikes') hybrid bikes with a step-through frame for shorter people or for people who don't want to swing their leg over a standard frame's top tube. Internal hub gearing system that emulates 27 speeds and 700 X 35 tires.
When you make your booking just tick the box for bike hire and we will organise it for you.
What bike mechanical assistance is provided?
A tour guide with bike mechanical knowledge will be part of our crew and will have most items that are required, including a good stand-pump for different valves. The bike parts used for replacement will be charged at shop prices. Labour is free for the first fifteen minutes, there after costs may be incurred at the mechanic's discretion. Cyclists with rare or different bikes are asked to contact us at AllTrails as parts can often be very difficult to obtain.
What kind of bike is best?
Road bike is best but you could also choose a hybrid or mountain bike with slick tyres. Contact us to discuss the terrain of your chosen leg(s). In some places that we go to, bike shops and spare parts can sometimes be difficult to find so you need a good reliable bicycle.
We can organise bike rental through our local contacts in Europe.
A specialist road bike is best on our European route as the roads are generally very good although flat handlebars will give you more stability and maneuverability and you will also be able to increase your awareness of the amazing scenery and atmosphere from a more upright position.
A strong, light frame, straight or drop bars and comfortable seating position. Smooth road tyres, triple crank set, with 15 gears or more. This ride is about seeing the scenery, the lifestyle of the local people and the many things that present themselves on the journey.
ALL BIKES NEED:
- Good braking system.
- New tyres (smooth road surface tyres, no nobby tyres)
- New tubes
- Rear-vision mirror. Cyclists often deviate a metre or two out on to the roadway when turning their neck around to see what is behind them, so a mirror is very helpful to see who and what are behind you and how close. When you get used to using one they are great.
- Triple chain ring. There are a few hills that are quite steep and a triple chain ring on the front set is a handy helper when you have run out of gears when climbing.
We also strongly suggest:
- Allen key set (self serve)
- Bike computer to keep track of your distance, speed, elevation etc.
- Bum bag for your camera and other valuables.
What pace/ability do I need to participate in a Cycle Legs ride?
These Cycle Legs Europe tours will average just over 100km per day so to ride the full distance each day you really need to be a reasonably keen cyclist, however not necessarily fast, but consistent. We are also taking support vehicles and we encourage those that are only interested in riding part of the way each day to come along on the tour and jump in the bus when they feel that they have done enough. We will try to allocate pickup points at around 20-30km and also 70km for those pickups.
In most cases we will head out early after a good breakfast and be finished the full day's ride by early afternoon. If you want to do the full distance each day, try to get to a point in your training where you are comfortable riding 20-25/km per hour on the flat which is the speed that we will cruise at under good, flat cycling conditions.
We suggest that you do most of your training on the bike, on the road – not indoors on a trainer. On the road you are getting the goods and the bads of cycling, especially passing traffic, potholes, people and other obstacles. Try to get up to a level where you can ride a 125km distance for 2 days in a row or more.
Do I need to carry anything on my bike?
We suggest you carry a spare tube, a full water bottle and your own personal goods such as camera, wallet and perhaps rain gear if it’s threatening. We transport your luggage, day packs, food & extra water. A detailed list of what is required and provided will be sent to you in your pre-tour info pack.
What sorts of people join our rides?
People from all parts of Australia and overseas. Ages generally range from 30 - 70 with the average age about 50 years old. Adventurous cyclists usually about 40% women & 60% men with a mix of singles, friends and couples.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
Yes, yes, yes. Make sure that you are covered for every country that you are travelling to and ensure that you are covered from and including the day you leave and arrive back home. Due to the nature of our rides we are sometimes in remote areas during the course of a ride. Ensure that you have medical insurance that would cover the cost of a helicopter ambulance to transport you to the nearest hospital.
We also recommend getting your travel insurance in place immediately after you book your ride so that you are covered for any events which may lead to you having to cancel your trip.
Do I need a Visa?
In many cases you will need a visa to enter countries on our Cycle Legs route. A visa is a form of permission for a non-citizen to enter, transit or remain in a particular country. We do not issue visas for overseas travel and cannot provide definitive information on visas. Only the representatives of the countries you plan to visit can provide up-to-date information about their visa requirements. For all countries, contact your nearest embassy or consulate of the country you intend to visit well in advance of travel. For Australian passport holders, additional advice can be found on the Smartraveller website www.smartraveller.gov.au.
Who are our local tour operators/guides?
Phil and Susan McDonald, owner-operators of AllTrails, will be part of the crew on each of the Cycle Legs rides but we also have some very impressive and knowledgeable local bike tour operators that we partner with in each region that we visit on our Cycle Legs route. Experience Plus, our chosen partner bicycle tour company in Europe, has operated for 40 years and has many high credentials. These local partners will be helping us navigate through their countries assisting us in understanding and appreciating the local cultures and people and also helping with communications and guiding. You can find more information about our local partners in the information section of each ride.
Political unrest, natural disasters, and other issues in the local area?
Full reconnaissance trips are done along the route of our Cycle Legs tours before we host a tour on that route and we avoid any places that we deem to be too dangerous to ride through. Safety is without question our number one priority. Phil and Susan, owner-operators of AllTrails are often part of the crew and riding group on the legs to London so safety will be constantly monitored before and during the trip.
In saying that, a Cycle Legs ride is more like an expedition than an average bicycle tour, so there may be times when we are faced with unexpected and unavoidable difficulties. We will tackle these hurdles with the utmost consideration and professionalism as we have always done. We recommend that you visit your local government travel advice website such as www.smartraveller.gov.au (Australian passport holders) to learn more about your destinations, and feel free to contact us in regards to any specific queries that you may be concerned with.
How and when can I book?
Right here, right now. Click the 'Book Your Place Today' button, or call us in the office on +61 3 9645 3355 or email email@example.com for more information.
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