Flexibility With Riding & Non Riding: The Best of Both Worlds

Four riders on a cycling holiday in Puglia

Often the thought of joining a cycling tour in Italy with a group of cyclists whom you have never met, can feel daunting.  All the thoughts of:

I’m not sure if I can ride the distances
I ride regularly, but I am slow
I don’t know if I can keep up with the speed of the group
I don’t want to hold anyone up
I don’t want to be the last in the group, lagging behind
I’m not a strong climber, I hate the hills
I’ll definitely be able to do some of the riding, I’m not sure I’ll be able to ride all the days though.

Do any of these sound familiar?
If they do, there’s no need to worry for another minute. These are the reasons why:

Two riders cycling up a hill lined with cypress pine trees in Tuscany

Supportive Riding Culture

On our Italian cycling tours, we have a supportive riding culture. This means we believe that the people who join our tours are capable of riding the tour, and with the right preparation and mindset, they’ll enjoy the experience on the road at their level.

Let us share with you what happens on the road when you are on tour with us.

We have two ride guides always with the group and depending on the tour, terrain and people, the group can stick together or split with one guide going with the front group, and the other staying with the second group.

If there is a climb, there is a general rule that we all regroup at the top and then continue on.

We also have an easy to use GPS on the bikes, so if someone wants to ride off the front or a little behind, they will have the tools to know when to turn left or right.

We also have a support van at the back of the group at all times.

With the support van, this can be used as little or as much as you like.

By this we mean.

– If you want to skip the first 15km’s or hour of the day’s ride, you can… we’ll put your bike on the racks and when you’re ready, our driver will stop and you can join the group for the rest of the day.

– Or if on say day 3, you ride the first 40km and then take a break in the middle to sit out the “climb” you can change your day to reflect the number of km’s and metres of elevation that suits you.

– Or if on any day, you decide during the day that you’ve had enough, you can elect to sit in the van and chat with our driver. Given our drivers are local, we’re positive you’ll always learn something new or interesting about Italy or the region we’re traversing.

You can also elect to have a rest day whenever you like and join the non-riding partners group in their activities.

A lady on some steps

Flexibility of Riding – Non-Riding Opportunities

For a number of guests who join our tours, having the opportunity to be involved in both the riding program for a few days and then having a day or two off the bike, joining the non-riding partner program, is the perfect way to enjoy their Italian cycling holiday.

Whether it be:

By design; I’d love to join the Giro cycling tour as a rider but may also opt to take a day or two off the bike

By choice; I’d like a day off the bike and would love to come and learn about mozzarella making as part of the Puglia cycling tour

Or by necessity; I’m not feeling well with this terrible cold I’ve come down with so is it OK if I join the non-riding activity today of visiting a pecorino cheese producer as part of the Tuscany cycling tour

The result is always the same. Guests who experience a blend of riding and non-riding activities by creating their own cycling holiday that suits their level of riding, whether by design, choice or necessity, always come away from the tour feeling like they experienced the ‘best of both worlds’.

A lady taking a photo off the ocean beside the tour support van

Testimonials from Guests Who Have Already Taken the Flexible Option

If you are finding yourself worried about holding up the group on the road or what you’ll do if you don’t feel like riding on a couple of the days, then don’t stress as there are many guests who have already done what you’re possibly thinking you’d like to do or at least, have the flexibility to do on tour, should you want or need to.

Here’s a couple of recent testimonials from guests who took the opportunity to ride 6-7 days and enjoy 1-2 days off the bike, joining the non-riding partner activities for the day – one by choice and one by necessity – with both enjoying the support and flexibility.

“I love to cycle but, like many other riders, I worry about my limitations. On the Puglia tour of September 2019, I needn’t have worried. With the fantastic support of the AQTO team, and the encouragement of the other riders, I found myself becoming fitter and stronger to the demands of the terrain and distances.

The AQTO team had chosen outstanding routes, accommodation, eating and cultural experiences. Non-riders need never feel ignored. Thanks to the tour’s flexibility, I took two days off riding to join the non-riders to visit olive and dairy farms. I have learned the finer points of oil and mozzarella-manufacturing and sampled some of Puglia’s finest produce.

Damian and Nancy are amazing hosts and, with their dedicated team, do everything possible to create a wonderful experience, with good humour and no fuss. Their passion for Italy is infectious”. Jane R.



“We had the most remarkable cycling tour of the Puglia region with A’qto.  Nancy and Damian really want everyone to have a good time and enjoy unique experiences including high quality accommodation, riding/non riding activities, food and wine.  Everything was perfect and we felt in every instance, that Nancy and Damian and our guides cared about us and went above and beyond their best to make this trip memorable. We were pleasantly surprised by the diversity of our trip and the flexibility to undertake a mix of riding and non-riding activities.  Nothing was too much trouble and we were welcomed into accommodation and the selected restaurants at times more like relatives than guests.  We would definitely recommend this tour for riding and non-riding partners and will be back to enjoy more experiences with A’qto”. Carmel S.

So if you’re hesitating to join us on one of our Italian Cycling Tours because you’re worried about whether you’ll be able to manage all of the riding, reach out anytime as we’ll be more than happy to help with any queries you may have.




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