It’s the time of the year when many of us start longingly thinking about our next vacation, and I’d like to add the possibility of a self-guided cycling tour in Italy’s Tuscany region to your list.
Simply put, Tuscany is a treat for all of a cyclist’s senses. The many pleasures of Tuscany include cycling past structures that were built by the Romans, gazing up at impossibly picturesque hilltop towns, and enjoying the smell of olive groves and vineyards (some dating back to 1000 BCE!). At the end of a long active day, those pleasures can extend to sipping a Chianti with your very fresh, very local, and exceedingly simple yet mouthwatering meal.
It’s difficult to do justice to Tuscany’s historical and cultural heritage. Were I to write the region’s resumé, it would contain entries such as “birthplace of the Renaissance”, “home to 7 World Heritage sites including Florence, Siena, and the Cathedral of Pisa,” and “birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Puccini, and Botticelli.” The list certainly goes on, but I think you get the point.
On the one hand, the type of cycling vacation one picks is a matter of personal preference. On the other hand, different geographies are sometimes better suited to one type of tour over another. Having toured Tuscany and experienced self-guided and group cycling tours, I can at least provide one person’s perspective as to why a self-guided bike tour and Tuscany make for a great combination.
At LifeCycle Adventures, we define the three key elements of a self-guided trip as: 1) you only vacation and ride with the people you choose; 2) you pick the dates, the itinerary, the hotels, and everything you do and we make all the arrangements; and 3) you don’t have a guide escorting you with every turn of the crank. At the same time, you still have all the services you would expect (and sometimes much more), such as luggage transfers, wine pickup service, van support on demand, and a 100% pre-planned trip.
Tuscany is all about the quaint, the rustic, and the intimate. It’s not a place best enjoyed with a large cycling tour group accompanied by a van with 20 bicycles on the roof blocking a cobblestone street. You want to cycle at your pace, taking it all in, always experiencing every site you encounter in the exact way it should be experienced. The locals are exceedingly warm and helpful, and one need not worry about cycling without a guide-in my opinion that could be intrusive, and certainly unnecessary.
A Day of Cycling in Tuscany
Read about a typical day in a LifeCycle Adventures itinerary. It will give you a good sense of what a Tuscan cycling vacation is all about. It’s about cycling on rolling country lanes and through one-street villages while savoring all the libations that the locals have to offer. At the end of the day, luxuriate at a local spa or bed and breakfast, and tour a World Heritage site. It’s all there.