This week we’re celebrating some of our favourite guest reviews of 2019 – the ones that brought true magic to a guest’s cycling holiday – and sometimes a tear to our eye.
Whether it was a rider who enjoyed a challenging, yet totally rewarding riding experience or a non-riding partner who embraced the daily travel program and the ability to share the experience with their partner, we feel privileged to have been able to create memorable experiences for so many of our guests in 2019, and are looking forward to be able to do it all again in 2020.
We’ve picked out our top 10 testimonials from 2019 based on these guests each expressing different perspectives of what they enjoyed, which we’ve highlighted. Of course, the many others we received for our website, on Facebook and on Google, are absolutely equally valued, but we had to come up with a top 10, and that’s never easy!
1. QUALITY IS OUTSTANDING
Quality is outstanding, the gear, the accommodation, the riding, the scenery and towns, the non riding program and of course the food and wine. Did I mention the food and wine well it deserves two mentions. This is a trip of a lifetime and an experience to be savoured. We did the Tuscany trip. What’s also fantastic is that if your better half doesn’t ride they also get an awesome experience. Nancy and Damian are superb hosts. Quality, quality, quality! I’ll be doing another trip.
Martin B: Rider, joined us with his non-riding wife, Tour of Tuscany
2. OUR SECOND TOUR WITH DAMIAN AND NANCY
Highlights were the rolling hills of Piemonte, the seriously good food and fabulous wine (our favourites- Arneis and Barolo)
This tour was beautifully planned with rides during the week giving us a taste of some steep gradients and building up our stamina for the finale –the Fausto Coppi Gran Fondo –a fantastic and fun event with 3000 or so other riders. It was inspiring to see so many women riding the Gran Fondo—the training before we left and riding in Italy for the week leading up to the event all came together and meant I kept up with the men—no problem!
Clare (and Jim), both riders, Tour of Piemonte & Fausto Coppi Gran Fondo
3. EVERYTHING WAS SO MUCH FUN.
I had been looking forward to this tour for almost a year. Even though my expectations were very high, they were surpassed by the superb rides, the delicious food & wine, the unique accommodation (always at the top of a hill, so you can have the best views says Damian) and most importantly the attention to detail that Nancy and Damian bring to these tours. Everything was so much fun.
We had such a great group of riders, not all of the same ability, yet all of the same mindset – enjoy the ride, take in the spectacular scenery and push up every challenging climb and embellish your ride around the dinner table at night. It was the best riding experience of my life and I’ll be back for more with the A’qto Puglia already booked for 2020.
I highly recommend A’qto cycling tours if you are planning a cycle tour in Europe. You won’t be disappointed.
Mark M, Rider, Tour of Tuscany
4. A UNIQUE AND MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE
Italy is a wonderful country to visit. The Giro d’ Italia Tour organised by A’qto Cycling made our recent visit unforgettable. From our initial contact with Damian and Nancy we had full confidence that this would be a tour to long remember.
Every aspect of the tour was well organised so all we had to do was enjoy each day. From communication with us prior to departure, bike hire and adjustments for each rider, checking into our very comfortable hotels, communication with all participants to arrange the daily events and departure from venues, everyone was kept well informed of what was happening, when and how. If there was a need to be flexible with plans, Nancy and Damian adjusted them to meet the needs of all participants, weather conditions or time constraints. If there were problems behind the scenes, these were never obvious and everything ran smoothly and enthusiastically.
Mention must also be made of the excellent way Damian and Nancy catered for a gluten free diet, both when riding and all meals on the tour. The small size of the tour group also provided the opportunity to get to know and enjoy the friendship of others.
Nine days of outstanding bike rides, fantastic and varied non rider activities, great food, wine and amazing scenery ensured everyone had a brilliant time. Watching, cheering and enjoying the Giro certainly added to the Italian experience.
Thanks Damian, Nancy and your very efficient and capable staff for an amazing nine days. We hope to be back in Italy again next year for more great rides, interesting Italian experiences, wonderful friendships and lots of fun. Your personal touch set you aside from other tour groups and makes a trip with A’qto Cycling Tours a unique and memorable experience.
Greg & Fran, Rider and non-riding partner/wife, Giro Cycling Tour
5. EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT.
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 Aqto.
Carmel & Steve, both Riders, Tour of Puglia
6. ALL UP, A FANTASTIC HOLIDAY THAT ONLY ANOTHER A’QTO TOUR COULD RIVAL.
I had wanted to do some cycling in Europe for a long time and always thought it would be self-organised and in France. I am so grateful that I found A’qto when my 50th was looming and I was looking for a memorable way to celebrate.
The combination of riding, food and wine was irresistible – it was very easy convincing my brother and mates to join me. So off to Tuscany we went. And what an experience Damian and Nancy provided.
It was the best riding of my life, all the better because it was shared with a great group of people. And the same was true for all of the experiences off the bike that Nancy and Damian organised. All up, a fantastic holiday that only another A’qto tour could rival. Piemonte in 2021 perhaps . . .
Charles, Rider, Tour of Tuscany
7. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE
I was a non-cycling partner on the A’qto Tour of Puglia and was left wanting more; so sad to part ways with a great group of people that Nancy and Damian assembled to share their knowledge of this wonderful area. Each day Nancy unveiled a different experience for us from a cheese making factory to a 3 hour forest walk, culminating in a cooling off swim in the beautiful clear ocean.
Each night we were treated like royalty with pre-dinner drinks to culinary delights that would please the most discerning palette, accompanied by tasty wines from the local area. Everything ran smoothly and more than met my expectation as a non peddler.
I can highly recommend this fantastic experience, thanks Nancy and Damian.
Greg, Non riding husband, Tour of Puglia
8. WE ARE ALREADY CHOOSING THE DATES FOR OUR NEXT A’QTO TOUR.
Rod is a keen Cyclist – I’m not.
He has talked about doing a cycling tour of Italy (I wasn’t that keen as – what was I going to do?) He had liked an A’qto cycling Facebook post, I saw this and downloaded the itinerary (as I have always wanted to go to Italy).
I was impressed!!
I placed it on his computer at work with a sticky note saying “Choose tour and date and I will book”.
We incorporated the bike ride with an extended holiday in Italy and to say the Tuscany part with A’qto Cycling was the best part was an understatement.
Damien had chosen rides that were challenging but rewarding and achievable with great back up support. Nancy had tours and days that catered for all the non riding partners in the group and we were totally immersed in what Tuscany had to offer. Their attention to detail and thought in choosing Local menus, wines and accommodation locations (even massages) is what made it so memorable for us
We are already choosing dates for our next A’qto tour.
Meg & Rod, Rider and non-riding wife, Tour of Tuscany
9. A FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER
As a rider, I can only describe my experience of participating in this tour as a “fantastic experience which I will always remember.” The professionalism and competence displayed throughout the 9 days by Damian and the guys was outstanding. As a rider of only one year’s experience, I was a little apprehensive about managing the climbing for so many days but the encouragement and support from the team and my fellow riders greatly assisted me to successfully complete each days ride. The chance to enjoy a number of stages of the Giro de’ Italia up close was an added bonus. The tour accommodation and meals were outstanding and serve as a testament to Nancy and Damian’s great organisational skills and local knowledge. Lastly, I would again like to thank Nancy, Damian, MaUro, Mateo and Andrea for providing such a unique and special tour and for their friendship. I am keen to tour again with A’qto !
Mike P, Rider, Giro Cycling Tour
10. ENTHUSIASM, PROFESSIONALISM AND ATTENTION TO DETAIL
We were very excited about our trip to the Dolomites and Prosecco Road with A’qto in July, 2019. We had high expectations, but with Nancy and Damien’s enthusiasm, professionalism and attention to detail the whole journey far exceeded those and made the trip truly memorable. Mauro and Andre, our local guides added to our feeling of being cared for. It was the total Italian experience – cultural, gastronomic and the cycling and hiking mountain way of life. They catered perfectly to the various idiosyncrasies within the group and if an issue arose or something had to be quickly changed due to unforeseen circumstances they found the solution calmly and promptly.
We would highly recommend A’qto to anyone contemplating a cycling tour to Italy, and especially those with a non-cycling partner who normally wouldn’t be included in such an adventure. Our best wishes to Nancy and Damien and their team for the continuing success of A’qto Cycling.
Vivien & David, Rider and Non riding partner wife, Tour of Dolomites & Prosecco Road
….and a little bonus testimonial because we couldn’t go past including Nicole’s take-out, highlighted below at the end. It’s so very true and what makes Italy so special for us.
I COULD NOT SPEAK HIGHLY ENOUGH ABOUT A’QTO
I could not speak highly enough about A’qto. Damian and Nancy are just very real people that are so genuinely in love with Italy and want to show us the very best it has to offer. The cycling was superb and the support crew were the nicest guys, I think they made my cycling experience all the better. The food and accommodation was 5 Star. Damian and Nancy’s local knowledge was so impressive, I feel like I am going home knowing the important fundamentals that make Italy and its people so amazing. I really think we could all learn something pretty special to bring home. Italy’s sense of community and kindness should be something we all practice.
Nicole R, Rider, L’Eroica Cycling Tour
If you’d like to share the magic of Italy by joining one of our Italian cycling tours, we’d love the opportunity to share it with you so drop us a line if you have any questions or would like to talk to any of our guests who have provided reviews.