TUSCANY: PISA TO CINQUE TERRE RIDE
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Enjoying the long, fast sweeping descent to Vinci on on our third day of cycling. Having a delicious picnic at the top of a tough, but satisfying climb into the mountains and enjoying great views from our lunch stop with the rest of the group. Being with a friendly group, willing to stay cheerful and keep cycling after a day of extremely wet weather at the start of our trip.
What did you think of your group leader?
Mike and Nathan were our two group leaders - and they took turns guiding and providing vehicular support on alternate days. Both were extremely friendly, experienced, professional and capable leaders and their characters complimented each other. Mike had an in-depth knowledge of the area - in terms of its countryside and culture and and advised us really well both when briefing us on the day's ride and on food and wine choices in the evenings. Nathan, too was an accomplished guide and provided excellent leadership and support to the group. The vehicular support was the best of any cycling trip I've been on - with the van stopping regularly and having plenty of snacks, water and our day sacks available whenever needed. Both guides chose really excellent places to eat in the evening (and for coffee stops during the day) and were really good at making it really straightforward for the group to divide up the bill at the end of a meal.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Always take plenty of clothing (you can leave it on the van on a trip like this). We had some really wet weather on the first two days of our trip and needed our waterproofs and extra layers on some occasions (a fast shady descent when sweaty or wet can be pretty cold - even on a relatively warm day). Ensure you take have the normal cycling gear: gloves, cycling shorts, suglasses, helmet and a mobile phone - and always carry some water with you.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I love Italy for its countryside, delicious food and wine and friendly people. Cycling on a trip like this is an ideal way to discover all three. We had a really enjoyable and varied week of cycling with two great guides and a friendly group of people that all got on well (all thirteen of us stayed together at the end of the holiday on the free day at Cinque Terre and ate togther every night). The cycling itself was really good - challenging enough to feel you'd earned the coffee stops and good evening meal.