Bicycle touring in northern Italy

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of November 2-9, 1995

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Bicycle touring in northern Italy
Q: I'm looking for a bike tour in northern Italy for August or September 1996. What touring companies do you recommend that are relatively inexpensive? I went on a Backroads tour in France that was camping, but they don't have an Italian camping tour.
Heidi Pingel
San Francisco, CA
[email protected]
A: Unlike France and much of the rest of Europe, camping in Italy can be pretty challenging; sites aren't usually well-maintained and will cost you almost as much as staying in a small, family-run lodge. This explains why all of the outfitters we spoke to offer inn-to-inn bicycle tours instead of the more rustic, sleep-under-the-skies alternative. Don't worry, though--opt for one of the following tours and you'll still enjoy Italy on two wheels without spending a fortune. Vermont Bicycle Tours offers a six-day group trip through central Tuscany's river valleys and hillside villages for $1,695 per person plus $149 per person for bicycle rentals (roundtrip airfare not included). They have departure dates throughout June and September but none in July or August, due to the heat. For a longer trip, opt for Experience Plus' 12-day Bike Across Italy tour from Venice to Pisa. Their one fall departure, Sept. 12-23, will cost you $1,895, but you're on your own for airfare. Another reasonably priced, albeit shorter, trip is Bike Riders' five-day spin through Veneto, in Italy's northeastern corner. Expect to pay $1,340 per person; airfare and bike rental ($110 per person) will cost you extra. For more information and departure dates, contact Vermont Bicycle Tours at 802-453-4811; Experience Plus Specialty Tours, 800-685-4565; or Bike Riders, 800-473-7040.

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