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Testimonials2019-06-14T05:39:47+10:00

Testimonials

THIS WAS THE BEST

We went on the 2018 L’Eroica Tour followed by a self guided cycling tour to Rome— both organised by A’qto. We could not have been happier. We have been on 4 other guided bike rides with different organisations, all of which have been good but this was the best. Warmth, great hospitality and attention to detail!

Jim and Clare

ALL ABOUT THE RIDE…AND SO MUCH MORE

WOW what a ride! I have just experienced the most amazing time on Aqto’s Tour of Tuscany. As far as experiences and holidays go, it was right up there with the best ever! It is often said that the ‘devil is in the detail’ and Damian and Nancy were wonderful, caring hosts, who really did take care of every detail to create the complete experience, that took this trip from great, to truely memorable. From the stunning scenery, to the long lazy lunches, luxurious and authentic Italian accommodation in beautiful Tuscan villas to aperitivo hour followed by fantastic food. Add to that the incredible cycling journey through the heart of Tuscany and the only word that I can think of is wow!

I’m a keen, social cyclist and prior to the trip, I had all the normal worries of not being able to keep up, or manage the kilometres each day and…..get up those Tuscan hills! But with Damians’s training program and encouragement, I turned up with my much better cycling husband Bob, nervous but ready to give it a go! What can I say, yes it was sometimes challenging but with a 32 compact on my bike I found my pace, even learning to love those 15% pinches because the coffee, or the beer and the view at the top was always worth it. Once I stopped looking at the gradient, I was totally fine, I felt a sense of achievement every day and got stronger as the week went on. If this is you, don’t think, just do, because you can!

After 8 days, riding nearly 600kms and climbing over 10,000 meters, our tour of Tuscany adventure finished in the beautiful walled city of San Gimignano! I am still saying WOW! Can’t wait to do it all again one day!

Jen Q

THE BEST HOLIDAY I HAVE EVER HAD

The A’qto Tour of Tuscany is the best holiday I have ever had. Prior to the trip I was really anxious about my cycling ability and whether I could keep up and do the distances and climbing day after day. Turns out that everyone had the same worry; but we all made it just fine and got stronger every day! Turns out you can do a lot more than you think you can. It was challenging, but I feel really proud of myself and the rest of our lovely and supportive group of cyclists. I have nothing but admiration for Damian and Nancy, they are amazing; the tour is incredibly well organized but it never felt over organized. Food and accommodation were stunning – and you can eat as much as you like ‘cos you will burn it off the next day!’

Di H

THOUGHTFULLY PLANNED & SEAMLESSLY EXECUTED

The ride routes took us through iconic Tuscan landscapes, towns and villages, and when you thought the scenery cold not get better, around the next corner it did. The free-flowing, sweeping descents were an exhilarating reward for the climbing beforehand.

The atmosphere throughout the tour was warm, friendly and inclusive and there was a good balance between riding/activities and free time. The accommodation was exceptional, with locations appropriately chosen to make the most of the beautiful Tuscan landscapes and the hosts were warm and friendly, making you feel as though you were part of their family.

Michael F

A’QTO IS THE COMPANY TO GO WITH

If anybody is even remotely considering undertaking an overseas cycling experience, A’qto is the company to go with. Damian and Nancy are not only quality people but their knowledge of Tuscany and the beautiful riding, eating and drinking associated their tour is first class. Our recent trip presented me with everything I had wished for and much, much more.

Damo, Nancy, Sergio and their Villa hosts enabled us to cram pack the Tuscan experience into 9 brilliant days and not for one minute did I not love it all. Thank you so much Damo, Curly and Sergio, and hope to see you all again very soon.

Rick P

AN INSPIRING, AMAZING TRIP

We would sincerely like to thank you both for an inspiring, amazing, enlightening and wonderful trip around beautiful Tuscany.

We were so impressed with the diversity and attention to detail you achieved in putting this together for us. Every moment was special. Every moment was exciting and rewarding.

Teresa S

EXCEEDED ALL EXPECTATIONS

My Tuscany cycling tour in September 2018 with Damian and Nancy exceeded all expectations, a wonderful combination of scenery and gourmet delights along with wonderful accommodation in Tuscan villas. This tour was the most rewarding active holiday experience and I recommend A’qto Cycling Italian cycling tours without hesitation.

Peter M

MORE THAN JUST A TASTE OF WHAT ITALY’S PUGLIA REGION HAS TO OFFER

When I registered for A’qto’s Puglia Tour 2019, I’m not sure that I expected more than cycling through beautiful countryside and sharing, what looked to be, amazing meals with a group of like minded people for 9 days/8 nights.

What I experienced was much more fulfilling than that. It’s amazing how a group of people, who would never have otherwise crossed paths, can come together to share so much from a simple passion, that of cycling. Certainly no magic is involved. It is the passion of the A’qto team, led by Nancy and Damian and supported by two very special and charismatic Italian men, that very clearly had our best interest at heart all the way. A great team committed to catering for all levels of riders, having the patience, experience and the solutions to resolve the different challenges we threw at them, and in the most pleasant and ‘con calma’ manner, to ensure we would have wonderful experiences.

It did not take long at all for everyone to have a sense of belonging and the confidence to deal with the conditions thrown at us, regardless of the cycling skills with which we started. It did not matter if it was hail, thunder and lightening or perfectly sunny days, whether we had smooth roads or pot holes galore, floods and gravel to traverse, we were eager to get out there and cycle in those glorious conditions because we knew the A’qto team had our backs.

We also knew that the rewards were waiting and plenty. Sharing Aperol Spritz, beer or prosecco, we relaxed into dinner mode as we recounted the day’s events before being wowed by amazingly beautiful food, time and time again, over non stop laughter.

Highly recommend the experience to anyone who is even the slightest bit curious of what these tours have to offer. We all got so much more than just the great cycling through stunningly beautiful and historical landscapes.

Congratulations A’qto. The tour certainly provided more than just a taste of what Italy’s Puglia region has to offer and the cycling brought us all together to share the memorable experiences your team made possible.

Katusha

I COULD NOT HAVE DREAMED OF HOW WONDERFUL IT WOULD ACTUALLY BE

I set out on the A’qto tour of Puglia with high expectations but I could not have dreamed of how wonderful it would actually be. The cycling through the Italian countryside was sublime and that was purely due to Damian’s finely crafted routes, but that was just the start of it. The ancillary support and organisation allowed us to experience the incredible food and culture that this part of the world has to offer. I sincerely thank you Nancy for this.

Finally, and I know it will sound like a cliche but it’s true none the less; the environment that was created allowed the group to bond so that I feel that I now have many new close friends having shared such an amazing experience. Molto bene A’qto.

Kevin

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 years 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

A UNIQUE AND MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE

Italy is a wonderful country to visit. The Giro d’ Italia Tour organised by A’quto 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

EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS

Thank you to the A’qto team for a wonderful tour. Nancy looked after the non riding partners so beautifully. She was a delightful companion. In each area Nancy listened to our suggestions, offered her own suggestions, expertise and local knowledge then took us on guided sight seeing tours and scenic walks which were most enjoyable. Our accommodations were excellent and the included meals absolutely delicious! The tour exceeded my expectations. We will definitely book with A’qto again.

Marianne P

UNEQUIVOCALLY RECOMMEND

My partner and I had the pleasure of participating in the A’qto Giro100 tour, me as a rider and Mary as a non-rider.

We had previously experienced Damian & Nancy’s excellent weekend tours in regional Victoria and the Giro100 tour was a further example of their attention to detail and organizational skills. We wanted for nothing, from the ride routes with knowledgeable local guides, quality accommodation, exceptional regional restaurants and wines and activities for non-riding partners.

In a bike tour market increasingly crowded with similar products, A’qto offer a small group tour that is well researched, resourced and rich in local knowledge and culture that’s hard to beat. The whole experience was unforgettably brilliant, so much so that we are already saving for next year’s edition.

We would unequivocally recommend an A’qto tour to anyone.

Michael F

A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE BOTH ON AND OFF THE BIKE!

My partner and I travelled with our bikes all the way from Australia to be a part of the fabulous A’QTO – Giro 9-day tour to celebrate 100 years of racing.

We would like to thank Nancy, Damian for a wonderful locally focused adventure. The accommodation was spectacular, the hospitality was awesome, the dining experiences were exquisite and the bike routes, as always were scenic and challenging.

Thank you both so much.

Jill & Kirsty

I FEEL SO MUCH STRONGER & CONFIDENT TACKLING HARD CLIMBS

I really enjoyed the Giro and came back so much stronger and confident tackling hard climbs. I knew the climbs would be hard and they were. The choice of rides were all good. It was obvious where our dollar was being well spent; your choice of hotels, restaurants and menus were all excellent. Mauro (van driver) was such a bonus, as was having an extra guide on wheels.

Susan W

I WOULD LOVE TO DO IT AGAIN

Awesome riding and overall, a most enjoyable and fun experience that I would love to do again.

Peter G

BY FAR THE BEST PART OF OUR TRIP

My husband Michael and I went on the A’qto Giro Tour. It was part of a five week holiday in Europe, and it was by far the best part of our trip. Michael, a keen cyclist, has always wanted to participate in a cycling tour in Italy and on hearing about the A’qto trip that coincided with the 100th year of the Giro, thought it would be a good year to go.

I initially thought I would meet Michael after the tour, until I found out I could participate as a non rider.

I want to reassure all non riding partners, you can go on a bike riding holiday and have a fantastic time.

I felt part of the group, whether I was travelling in the support van enjoying the fantastic scenery and being amazed at the climbs the riders were achieving, or enjoying the non-rider activities such as treks in the countryside with Nancy.

Nancy and Damian put a lot of research into sourcing restaurants that emphasise local produce and quality local wines. The food we enjoyed was excellent ranging from aperitivo, to pizza, to five course banquets.

Thank you, Nancy and Damian for a wonderful trip that has left me with many fond memories and unique experiences.

Mary F

THERE IS NO WAY WE COULD HAVE DONE THIS ON OUR OWN

One of the things that stands out is that I was riding, hoping Lydia would be having a good enough time, while she was having a great time, feeling sorry for me missing out on the things she was doing. I think that speaks volumes for the programme that Nancy put together, and the way that both riders and non-riders were well catered for. There is no way we could have done this on our own.

Shaun E & Lydia

A THOROUGHLY ENJOYABLE WEEK OF CYCLING, TOURING & EATING

Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable week of cycling, touring, and eating. You guys did a brilliant job scouting out great places to stay, eat and riding routes that achieved everything anyone could dream of.

David M

A FEW SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE CLIENTS

  1. Train. You may think you’re in good shape, but there is no climb in Australia that will let you do 2000m of climbing like Colle Fauniera will. So train.
  2. Insure. You are spending a fair bit of cash on a great (GREAT) trip, so as soon as you’ve paid, make sure you’re insured in case you have to cancel.
  3. Get there early, especially if you’re taking your own bike. My bike went missing on the return journey. If that happened on the outwards trip, my trip would have been compromised.

Shaun E

THANKYOU FOR A LIFE AFFIRMING EXPERIENCE

What an amazing time I had in Italy. As a non-riding partner I really didn’t know how my holiday was going to turn out. Even though you made contact with me a few weeks before the trip, it was impossible to really know. As it happened, my expectations were well and truly exceeded.

The accommodation was wonderful and the activities you arranged were just fantastic. I would never organise these things for myself and they just opened me up to different experiences.

The truffle hunt was the most memorable, the cooking class was just complete fun, the chocolate tasting was lovely, made even better with the young chocolatier telling us his life’s journey and the beautiful guide we had through Monforte and Alba was a delight. Our walk through the vineyards was also fun. Finding fruit trees along the way and encountering local workers happy for a chat was great.

Coming together with the riders every evening meant that we could share our stories. I think they were just a little jealous of us.
Nancy, you really made my non-riding experience a joy. People connect so much with you, your own Italian heritage and your wonderful personality.

Thanks again for a life-affirming experience.

Lydia JP

L’EROICA WAS THE HIGHLIGHT

It’s easy to make it all about the riding and what comes with it, but there was just so much that was arranged for our group in the way of eating, drinking and sight-seeing that it all just blurred into this wonderful trip. You need to sit back and just take stock of it all when you get home to appreciate how much you did and experiences during that week.

For us, it was everything we had hoped for, the place, the people, the culture, the food and wine and, of course, the riding.

Mario and Lee

TRUE TUSCAN EXPERIENCE

Our days were filled with good food, great company and wonderful experiences for both riders and non-riders. We would highly recommend this well organised tour and the L’Eroica experience.

Glenn and Barb

THANKS DAMIAN AND NANCY FOR A WEEK OF A LIFETIME!!

From the initial meeting months before the trip and the update emails, anticipation was growing for our time at L’Eroica.
The recommendations on places to visit in Italy before arriving in Gaiole were spot on, which meant we were well relaxed and ready for a good time.

When we met the other guests at Florence train station before our transfers, we knew then, it was going to be a good week. Everything from there just got better!!

So we are already in one of the most beautiful parts of the world and then we arrive to our stunning accommodation to meet our larger than life hosts for the week. There we spend time getting to know the group whilst enjoying the surroundings, views and a welcome lunch of local produce.
From there, every experience was better than expected. The quality of the food, restaurants and tours, together with the local knowledge of Damian and Nancy was impeccable.

As the week went on, the rides got longer, the market got fuller and the vino went down easier and everyone was enjoying the company. The weekend was nearing and excitement was growing. Come Saturday, the market is in full swing, if you’re there for the bikes and nothing else this would have been enough. Luckily for us it wasn’t just about the bikes, it was about getting to know this part of Tuscany.

Gaiole is now bursting at the seams with traders, food stalls, people and lots of enthusiasm by all getting ready for Sunday. Even the non-riders were kept busy and had a ball and were able to see and experience other parts of this region.

Sunday is an early start and everyone is keen to head off in the dark. You must experience this ride to fully understand the joy and emotion felt by all who participated regardless of the differences in language. Here you will enjoy the relaxed officials, a Tuscan sunrise and food stops to die for, run by friendly locals wanting to ensure your belly is full and you’re felt welcome. The ride itself had it all, sweeping hills, challenging climbs, stunning views on bitumen and white Tuscan gravel roads.

Monday was a sad day as we shared our last breakfast and said goodbye to our hosts, the A’qto team and the friends we made during the week. We had just shared a week that will not be easily forgotten and be the measure of future trips to come. There were a few tears and lots of smiles as we all parted ways at the Florence train station where we all met a week earlier, though now we are all richer having spent the week with you both, the rest of the A’qto team and the other guests. Many thanks for the opportunity to experience this and exceeding all our expectations!!

Joe and Margaret L

I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS TRIP AND A’QTO TO ANYONE

Just wanted to say thanks for a brilliant time during L’eroica 17. Everything from the accommodation and its location, the cycling in the lead up, the food and experiences during the week, the L’eroica ride and the group of people I got to share this with were exceptional. As I have told anyone who has asked, it was everything I had hoped for and then more. I would recommend this trip and A’qto to anyone wanting a complete cycling and cultural experience. Will definitely be seeing you again.

John P

THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME

WOW!!!!!!What a week you organised for us in Tuscany. This is what we loved so much; Your attitude to making sure we enjoyed every moment.
The fellow participants were great company. The research you put into choosing the best B&B we have ever stayed at. The restaurants you chose all offered not only first class food but stunning locations as well.

The excellent bikes that we hired (I’ve never been on such a fast descending bike) Making sure that Lyn as a non rider also had a fantastic experience. The cycling gear you supplied, particularly the Knicks, ensured my ride was comfortable for close to eight hours. Thank you both so much for the experience of a lifetime. We wish you every success with all your future cycling adventures, we are very happy to talk to anyone considering joining you on any of your adventures, so please feel free to pass on our contacts.

Brian & Lyn H

A UNIQUE AND MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE

Italy is a wonderful country to visit. The Giro d’ Italia Tour organised by A’quto 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

EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS

Thank you to the A’qto team for a wonderful tour. Nancy looked after the non riding partners so beautifully. She was a delightful companion. In each area Nancy listened to our suggestions, offered her own suggestions, expertise and local knowledge then took us on guided sight seeing tours and scenic walks which were most enjoyable. Our accommodations were excellent and the included meals absolutely delicious! The tour exceeded my expectations. We will definitely book with A’qto again.

Marianne P

BY FAR THE BEST PART OF OUR TRIP

My husband Michael and I went on the A’qto Giro Tour. It was part of a five week holiday in Europe, and it was by far the best part of our trip. Michael, a keen cyclist, has always wanted to participate in a cycling tour in Italy and on hearing about the A’qto trip that coincided with the 100th year of the Giro, thought it would be a good year to go.

I initially thought I would meet Michael after the tour, until I found out I could participate as a non rider. I want to reassure all non riding partners, you can go on a bike riding holiday and have a fantastic time.

I felt part of the group, whether I was travelling in the support van enjoying the fantastic scenery and being amazed at the climbs the riders were achieving, or enjoying the non-rider activities such as treks in the countryside with Nancy.

Nancy and Damian put a lot of research into sourcing restaurants that emphasise local produce and quality local wines. The food we enjoyed was excellent ranging from aperitivo, to pizza, to five course banquets.

Thank you, Nancy and Damian for a wonderful trip that has left me with many fond memories and unique experiences.

Mary F

THANKYOU FOR A LIFE AFFIRMING EXPERIENCE

What an amazing time I had in Italy. As a non-riding partner I really didn’t know how my holiday was going to turn out. Even though you made contact with me a few weeks before the trip, it was impossible to really know. As it happened, my expectations were well and truly exceeded.
The accommodation was wonderful and the activities you arranged were just fantastic. I would never organise these things for myself and they just opened me up to different experiences.

The truffle hunt was the most memorable, the cooking class was just complete fun, the chocolate tasting was lovely, made even better with the young chocolatier telling us his life’s journey and the beautiful guide we had through Monforte and Alba was a delight. Our walk through the vineyards was also fun. Finding fruit trees along the way and encountering local workers happy for a chat was great.

Coming together with the riders every evening meant that we could share our stories. I think they were just a little jealous of us. Nancy, you really made my non-riding experience a joy. People connect so much with you, your own Italian heritage and your wonderful personality.
Thanks again for a life-affirming experience.

Lydia JP

THIS JACKET DOES BREATHE

And true to your word – this jacket does breathe. I wore a long sleeve base layer underneath and I did not get hot or sweaty on the climbs at all. The fabric performs true to everything it claims, which is no mean feat.

Paul B

THE KITS ARE INCREDIBLE!

The kits are incredible! Thank you very much for all your efforts, and putting up with our constant delays and changes of mind. They turned out better than we ever imagined.

Nathan D

KIT THAT FEELS LIKE NEW EVERY TIME

I love the fit, the look and quality of the AQTO garments and they are most competitively priced. As an owner now of multiple kits they have most certainly stood the test of time as they wash beautifully and feel like new every time I put them on.

Vanessa H

KNICKS THAT YOU DON’T NOTICE

Brought a pair of Stealth RD Giallo Bibs a few months back and am loving them. The best endorsement for bike knicks is that you don’t notice them when riding which means they are doing the job, plus they look great. Just have to get the body to match the kit!

Michael F

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