Self-guided bike tours of Tuscany, Italy

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 5-11, 1998
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Self-guided bike tours of Tuscany, Italy

Self-guided bike tours of Tuscany, Italy
Question: I'm planning a seven- to eight-day self-guided bicycle trip through the Tuscany region of Italy in mid-May of 1998. I'd like to ride 30 to 35 miles per day, and need information on lodging and baggage transport.

Don Kirsch
Ebensurg, PA

Self-guided tourists explore the lush verdant valley in Tuscany, Italy
Adventure Adviser: In my mind, the most convenient, hassle-free way to plan a self-guided trip is to use the vast knowledge of a bike-tour operator. A number of established bike companies with itineraries in Europe offer self-guided tours that enjoy all the benefits of group travel, while allowing you the freedom to travel on your own.

Headwaters, a subsidiary of Canada-based Adventures Unlimited, is the Cadillac of independent bike tours. Their staff will meet you, brief you on local conditions, look after the bikes, move your bags, and pick up any purchases you've made along the way, such as that precious bottle of 1993 chianti.

Headwaters uses Giant touring bikes and the staff spends 40 minutes every day cleaning and checking to make sure each bike is in proper working condition. Their itineraries include tours in Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, and Capri. Itineraries range in price and length. Call 800-567-6286 for prices and more details.

For $500 per person, and a bit less pampering, La Corsa Tours offers a self-guided package that includes fully marked maps, cue sheets with altitude charts, and cards with crucial language phrases, as well as information on points of interest and sights along the way, recommendations for hotels and restaurants, menu suggestions, shopping advice, and tips on public transportation.

Five-hundred dollars may seem a little steep when you still have to take care of your bike, hotel reservations, and food at the end of the day, but if money is no option, $500 worth of insider's tips may be worth your while. Call 800-522-6772 for more details.

Bike Riders' Tours offers two independent tours in Italy, one through Veneto, and one through Umbria. The tour includes a transfer to your first hotel, detailed route directions and maps, and all luggage transfers for up to four guests. Six- to eight-day trips range in price from $1,390 to $1,760.

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