How to Prepare for One of Our Cycling Tours: Part 2

A winding road with three cypress pine trees in Tuscany

The top 7 things to ask to ensure you enjoy your week of riding in Italy

As mentioned in Part 1 of our ‘how to prepare’ blog, we hear lots of different questions from guests about what the riding is like and what they can expect when joining a cycling tour in Italy.

Based on our conversations, we’ve written our wrap up of the top 7 things you should be thinking about or asking to make sure you feel comfortable that you’ll be in good hands on your cycling holiday in Italy.

1. Who will be running the tour?
2. How many guides are on the road?
3. Is there van support on all days?
4. Can I ride less if I want to?
5. What bike gear do I need?
6. Can I get help with training preparation for the Tour?
7. Finally and most importantly, will I be travelling with a company that is the right fit for me?

A rider giving another rider a hand up a hill

1. When you join A’QTO for an Italian Cycling Tour, you’ll always be hosted by Damian and Nancy, A’QTO business owners.  We personally run all of our tours, engaging the services of local support staff in each of the regions we tour through to make sure you have a very local experience, but are also with people who fluently speak and understand both English and Italian at all times.  There are subtleties when communicating and translating between Italian and English that if your Tour hosts are across, will make the experience so much more enjoyable.

A man cycling through a town in Tuscany

2 & 3. We always have two guides on the road, or 1 guide for every 4-5 riders, and a support van following all rides.  So, when it comes to climbing, which is where most people’s concerns are about whether they are strong enough and/or holding the group up, if the group needs to split, that can happen.  As an example, more often than not when there is a hill or mountain, the group splits and everyone goes at their own pace with a guide at the front and the back, and the support van further behind, and then we all regroup at the top and carry on. The support van is with us on all rides.

A group of riders on the side of the road in Tuscany

4. On most days, we have lighter and longer riding options depending on the tour, the location and terrain. The riding days are often broken up between longer days on the bike where we will have a longer stop for lunch and refreshments, and a couple of shorter days were it’ll just a be a coffee stop on an all morning ride, before enjoying a long relaxed lunch on a beautiful Tuscan or Piemonte terrace.

The lighter riding options on all of the longer days take in the same course as the main group ride, but just with an earlier turn or two.  If you’d prefer to take the lighter riding option on a few of the days, it’s entirely your choice, and if you take the Tour of Tuscany as an example, you end up riding 120km’s less over the week and reducing the total elevation by almost 2000m for the week.  Likewise, if you find you’d like to ride a few more km’s on some days, we always have longer riding options available. So there really are plenty of options available on our Italian cycling tours.  We pride ourselves on creating an environment for people to enjoy their own ride, within a group environment.

A mid ride lunch in a town in Tuscany

5. Your bike and equipment choice is very important.  Provided you have the right gear ratio on your bike, or you hire a high quality Formigli or Stelbel bike through us which can be set up to reflect your own bike, you will have every mechanical advantage you need. Always feel free to ask us about bikes and gearing for cycling in different regions and terrains in Italy.

A man cycling in Chianti

6. If you have prepared well and done the km’s, you’ll enjoy every minute of the week’s riding.  We find that those who haven’t prepared well, can find it challenging.  The week is designed to have people ride into form so we find that everyone walks away very satisfied with what they have experienced and achieved, relative to their level. However, if you would like help with how to best prepare for your selected Italian cycling tour, we can assist with training plans and we also run training rides in the early months of each year to help guests get some climbing into their legs.

A cyclist riding inthe Tuscan hills

7. At the end of the day, don’t lose sight of the fact that this is actually a cycling holiday and when you ride with A’QTO in Italy, you have plenty of time and are supported – after all, we believe it’s about enjoying the journey, not breaking records.

We look forward to seeing you on board one of our Italian Cycling Tours soon and if you have any questions, reach out to us anytime via livechat.  We’re here to make your Italian cycling holiday an experience of a lifetime.

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