tuscany bike tours...are they safe?

Old Feb 10th, 2009, 11:14 AM
  #1  
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tuscany bike tours...are they safe?

We will be in Italy for 14 days in May, spending 2.5 days in Florence in the middle. We are pretty active people and we are anticipating wanting to do some outdoor-sy type things while in Italy (gotta burn off those Italian food calories). We are considering taking a bike tour of Tuscany and are just wondering if they are safe. Would we be riding our bikes on super narrow/windy roads where we would be dodging cars, or are the roads there not too bad?

We'd appreciate any info!
Thanks!
debrad149 is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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If this is a tour, I am pretty certain that they would have things planned so as to avoid roads such as you describe. Why don't you post the itinerary?

Without knowing which roads you will travel on, it is hard to give you accurate information.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2009, 12:34 PM
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DH and I are active, as well, and ride a bit at home. I've talked to bikers who've taken trips in Italy - specifically, to the Piedmont. I've also seen bikers in Tuscany.

While I'm sure some of the roads are quiet and relatively traffic-free, I've seen people biking on the main road into Assisi, and on the main road into Volterra (which is on top of a hill). Both of these roads are narrow, especially by U.S. standards, and don't have much of a shoulder (the Volterra approach is winding; the Assisi one, less so). If you're biking into a gorgeous, small hill town, often there are only one or two ways in the town (amazingly, often involving a hill). It scares me to death to think of biking on those approach roads.

The biker I talked to about her Piedmont bike trip stayed in the same tiny town in the Piedmont that we did (her trip was before ours). She said the roads didn't bother her at all - but again, the road into the town was narrow and winding (though not lots of traffic), and I would have been very stressed riding on it - I thought about her every time we drove into or out of town.

If you are regular road bikers in the U.S., and are accustomed to biking on busy roads at home, then call and talk to the people running the tour, and find out exactly which roads or towns the tour will take. You may be comfortable with the roads and traffic (even though I wouldn't be).
Lexma90 is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2009, 01:20 PM
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Well, I live in Italy, and there is no such thing as a safe road.

Italians are quite used to sharing shoulderlessm narrow/windy road space with bikes, strollers, little farm tractors, grandmothers with canes, grandfathers on bicycles. I would be more worried about the density of tourists who don't know how to drive a manual car in Tuscany at that time of year. Plus, I would be worried about HEAT.

You are not going to have any trouble burning off the pasta. Hike up through the Boboli gardens, or through the hills of Fiesole. I wouldn't commit myself to a bike tour. You could have rain or insufferable heat.
zeppole is offline  
Old Feb 11th, 2009, 01:42 PM
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I talked to a tandem bike store owner last fall. THey had just returned from a tour they organized in Tuscany and they had a great time.

Years ago, one cyclist mentioned to be that if you look like a serious cyclist, then the drivers treated you with respect
bigtyke is offline  
Old Feb 11th, 2009, 02:46 PM
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Hi I did a bike tour (on a very small scale) while in tuscany - it was a one day excursion that left from Florence. We biked for a couple hours throughout the tuscan country side - first stopping for lunch in a very small town (best meal i had!) and then finishing at a winery. The roads are narrow and hilly - however, I didn't feel too unsafe. The italian drivers are used to driving on the narrow roads. Often before tight bends they will honk or there will be a mirror so you can see what's coming. Also, you can usually hear when there is a car approaching - you just have to be alert.

We used the tour company "I Bike Italy" - our tour guide was great. However, if you are a serious biker this is probably not for you. The tour was challenging with the hills (and the heat - we went during the heat wave in August 2003!) but probably wouldn't be suitable for a serious biker.

My brother also did this tour with us and then went on for 2 weeks and did a bike tour of his own for the remaining 2 weeks traveling all around N.Italy on bike. He's a clumsy guy and I barely like to think of him driving car let alone a bike on narrow roads - but he was fine.

dd8881 is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2009, 05:05 AM
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If you have the opportunity to bike it, DO IT! It is our favorite way to see any country, and Tuscany is delightful by biek. You quickly get used to sharing the road--European car drivers know how to do that already.

Most of the bike companies choose rodes/routes that avoid major traffic, and sometimes when that is unavoidable, they'll arrange shuttles or ask you to walk your bike through certain parts of town and so on.

Again, within a day, you'll understand your "partnership" with cars on any Tuscan hillside and you'll be fine.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2009, 07:20 AM
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A few years ago I took a day tour out of Florence (probably the same one that dd8881 took). It was great fun and not too tough. The lunch was great, make sure not to drink too much wine, or the return trip could be difficult.

On the tour I took there were a couple of riders that couldn't handle the hills and had to walk up many of them. This made us late and we had to return on a fairly busy highway with cars zooming by on the left and a stone wall on the right. The tour guide said he had never lost any one yet. I just rode right on his back wheel and did exactly what he did and make it home without difficulty.

I can't comment on a longer tour. I don't cycle that much and probably wouldn't do a several day tour without a guide in Italy. Germany is where I go for solo cycling, lots of bike paths and cars that really respect bicycles.
Roger1x is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2009, 07:26 AM
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I've searched for bike tours online also. You can find tours that have varying degrees of difficulty.
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