Tuscany: Cycle Siena and Chianti
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were many: the long gradual descent from Castellina in Chianti to Poggibonsi with the smell of pine and wood smoke and unfolding views of the beautiful town of San Gimignano through vineyards; looking out across the countryside in the morning with clouds nestling in the valleys; Siena and its beautiful architecture - a real gem of a city.
What did you think of your group leader?
Radu, our leader was a really friendly, helpful and professional leader with a great sense of humour. He ensured the group's safety and enjoyment of the trip was uppermost and - together with Reece (who was providing the vehicle support) - made the trip really enjoyable. They kept the good quality bikes in excellent order and provided regular coffee, water and snack stops along the way. Radu was a really good cyclist, to boot, and catered for a wide variety of cycling abilities - so that everyone was included and was able to get the most out of the trip.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The usual stuff: cycling shorts, gloves, glasses and waterproofs (we had some cool and wet weather at the start of our September trip - although it steadily improved through the week (so take sun block as well). Always have water with you - even when you have vehicle support nearby. A mobile phone is recommended, too. If you prefer having stuff with you but not on your back consider taking a rack and pannier if your luggage will accommodate it - as these bikes weren't supplied with either (some trips do and it's worth finding out beforehand). Although this is a moderate trip, it is quite hilly - so it's worth going out and doing a few hills before before you go on the holiday.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The Strade Bianche (the White Roads) that we cycled a few kilometres along were an interesting addition to the trip. This holiday is a great introduction to this part of Tuscany and includes all its classic ingredients: rolling hills, beautiful cities, towns and villages, vineyards, friendly people and great food and wine. Cycling is a fantastic way to sample all these ingredients.