Quick summary of my cycling holiday in Tuscany

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Blagger, Jun 23, 2003.

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  1. Blagger

    Blagger Guest

    Thanks to all who suggested spares and packing tips for putting bikes on planes. Tools used were
    allen keys (a bolt mounting the rear rack disappeared on day one, luckily we salvaged another bolt
    from a light fitting) and a crack extractor (!!!) after my girlfriend got her chain wedged between
    the small chain ring and the bottom bracket. (happens scarily often).

    As for packing the bikes we used pipe lagging as suggested and lots and lots of those plastic zip
    tags. The ones we have are reusable and are very good at attaching wheels to frames and pipe lagging
    to chain rings and rear mechs. The chaps at Ryanair (or Stansted / Pisa airport) seemed to treat the
    bikes with some respect and they've done the journey both ways with pretty minor scars.

    We booked up through a website www.hookedoncycling.com but they booked us onto an Austrian tour
    operator Rad & Reisen who seem to be large and well organised in the field of european cycle tours.
    This tour - down the Etruscan Riviera - cost £440 -ish (flights not included) which included baggage
    transfers and six nights b&b in three
    * hotels (not bad at all)

    Anyway, the cycling. Since we were joined on the tour by two middle aged German women and a highly
    competitive Austrian couple of a similar age ( + one girlfriend who was balking at the idea of
    having to do anything strenuous on her holidays) it was never going to be punishing stuff; for
    example the tour representative offered us transfers on a couple of days when hills were involved,
    and the first day did see just me and my better half climbing a 400 foot hill outside Livorno and 35
    degrees of heat (being overtaken by serious looking Italians on road bikes every couple of minutes
    or so). This was Monday morning, before lunch but thankfully in the more enlightened parts of Italy
    they sell beer and other refreshments at regular intervals so we managed not to overheat.

    To cut a long story short, well, the Austrians didn't like us overtaking them at all, did they?
    Well, Mr Austrian seemed quite reasonable but we figured out that Mrs Austrian doesn't like Germans,
    is actually much fitter than us despite us overtaking them every day and that when we had the room
    with the nice view, they preferred their's because it was further from the road and much more
    peaceful (like I noticed after una litre de vino casa too many).

    I digress.

    30 -40 miles a day down the tourist packed Etruscan Riviera just means you don't have ANY ambitions
    to do anything but drink beer when you finally get to the beach sometime in the afternoon. It was
    unseasonably hot but not unrideable for even the semi-lazy. Got in some nice single track riding
    right on the coast (cue barely reasonable girlfriend with bleeding knee and wounded pride 'I
    thought we wouldn't be going off road' etc etc) and some nice inland trails through pine forests.
    We saw one marked 'Hard' - ascent 400m on single track but really, if you're sensible you'll get a
    lift to the top of that one and find a similar sign post saying 'Easy' and scare yourself stupid on
    the way down.


  2. Blagger

    Blagger Guest

    >We booked up through a website www.hookedoncycling.com but they booked us onto an Austrian tour
    >operator Rad & Reisen who seem to be

    Sorry, that's www.hookedoncycling.co.uk

    Cheers.. Si.
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