Tips & Tools

Tuscany Bike Tours Suggestions

Tuscany is an incredible land. With its 7 world heritage UNESCO sites, 20.200 assets related to historical heritage (museums, buildings of historical interest, etc.) and 8 Natural parks – wherever you go – you are perhaps very close to something remarkable.

Envisioning a Tuscany Bike Tour is like creating a wonderful neckless. Why?

For a new neckless, you should select the jewels you love, then find the perfect sequence to ensure the right harmony in term of size and colors, and finally the right length of the thread.

Similarly, when we create a bike tour, we pick the places we would like to be part of the itinerary, then, we add peculiar “stops” to create a story.

Our passion is to go beyond an ordinary Tuscany bike tour, going off the beaten routes.

Dedicating some time to add these additional stops is allowing us to create amazing opportunities to interact with the local community, always willing to share – with a remarkable proudness – the story of the place where they live.

So, what are the best bike itineraries in Tuscany?

Here you can find 5 suggestions. Each Tuscany bike tour will allow you to discover a different dimension of this region.

1. Chianti bike – Daily Tuscany bike tour from Florence

  • Main characteristics of the tour: Enjoy Chianti landscape, rich in art & history.
  • Bike type: electrical mountain bike, mountain bike or gravel.
  • Itinerary: Greve in Chianti, Panzano, Montefioralle, Badia a Passignano, Greve in Chianti.
  • Overall distance: 22.8km, Ele.Gain 637mt.
  • Itinerary, 3D video.
  • Experiences to add: Wine tasting is a must.
  • “My” special stops: the abbey “Badia a Passignano”, the “Slow Road” to observe Chianti landscape while sitting on pieces of art, visit artist’s studio, meet the widespread work

2. Crete Senesi – Daily Tuscany bike tour from Florence

  • Main characteristics: perhaps one of the best Tuscany bike tours. It includes also a stretch of the famous Eroica cycling tour.
  • Bike type: electrical mountain bike, mountain bike or gravel.
  • Itinerary: Asciano, Monte Sante Marie, Arbia, Vescona, Asciano
  • Overall distance: 40.1km, Ele.Gain 798mt.
  • Itinerary, 3D video.
  • Experience to consider: A stop for a bath in a SPA, natural hot springs in Rapolano.
  • “My” special stops: via Leonina and “Terme San Giovanni

3. Tuscany coast – Daily bike tour

  1. a. Main characteristics: San Rossore Natural Park, Pisa, and Calci with its marvelous Certosa
    b. Bike type: electrical mountain bike, mountain bike or gravel.
    c. Itinerary: Visit Viareggio, San Rossore Natural Park, Pisa, and Calci.
    d. Overall distance: 41.2km, Ele.Gain 194mt.
    e. See full maps 3D video: to be released shortly.
    f. “My” special stops: Viareggio, with its Art Nouveau and “La Certosa” at Calci.

4. Via Francigena – Multi-day Tuscany bike tour

  • Main characteristics: Tuscany cycling tour as a deep dive into nature.
  • Bike type: electrical mountain bike, mountain bike.
  • Itinerary: Lucca, San Miniato, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Siena.
  • Overall distance: 133km, Ele.Gain 2100mt.
  • Experience to consider: “Get lost” in San Gimignano and Siena to enjoy these amazing UNESCO sites.
  • “My” special stops: “Le Caldane” ancient thermal springs, “Bar dell’ Orso” in Monteriggioni.

5. Elba island – Multi-day Tuscany bike tour

  • Main characteristics: stunning views, swim in crystal water.
  • Bike type: road bike, electrical mountain bike, mountain bike, gravel.
  • Itinerary: Portoferraio, Marciana Alta, Marina di Campo, Porto Azzurro, Cavo, Portoferraio
  • Overall distance: 117.6km, Ele.Gain 2879mt.
  • Experience to consider: Just relax and eat fresh fish!
  • “My” special stops: Capo Sant’Andrea, the “island within the island” and the “Black beach”.

Frequent questions

What is the best period for a Tuscany bike tour?

Unless it is a very bad rainy day or extremely cold, in Tuscany cycling is enjoyable across the entire year.

The winter (low seasons) is perfect to take profit of good prices and fewer people around. Winter season in Tuscany is amazing for active riders that, with the proper winter gear bike, are willing to explore this incredible land.

From April up to October, the temperature is in general mild and cycling is a joy for everybody. In August, it is better to bike in the morning to avoid the hottest hours of the day.

Are Tuscany bike tours family friendly? Or for biking with kids?

In Tuscany, there are several bike tours that are family friendly however the vast majority of the most famous routes are pretty hilly and not ideal for kids (less than 12 years old).

For young bikers I would suggest the following 4 itineraries:

  • Arno river cycling route – you can go from “Le Cascine” in Florence to Signa and back. Flat, easy. In Signa, there is also the opportunity to enjoy a nice park – with a small lake – perfect for kids. The park is called “Stato libero dei Renai”.
  • Parco Naturale dell’ Uccellina – almost flat. Very nice. Good in summer because it is pretty shady.
  • Viareggio pine forest” – It is a park perfect for kids. Multiple opportunities to rent funny bikes for kids including a kind of a sitting bike cart with 3 wheels. Very very fun!
  • From Viareggio to mouth of Serchio. Flat, easy, you are basically cycling close to the beach. A stop to cool down in the sea is perfect.

What kind of bike should I use for a cycling tour in Tuscany?

Bike road is perfect if you want to stay on the streets. To be more flexible I would opt for a mountain bike (it is also more comfortable). In both cases, I would suggest you consider the use of an e-bike; definitively the best option especially if we have friends or family members that are less fit. E-bikes will allow them to enjoy the bike ride without any physical or emotional stress.

Which kind of approach would you suggest between self-guided or with a bike tour leader?

Unless you a super fan of self-guided tours, I would suggest taking advantage of a local certified bike tour operator. Everything will be easy (bike logistics, itinerary, etc.) and the result guaranteed. At the same token, you will have the opportunity to learn more things about the places you are visiting. The guide will help you to better understand the places that you are visiting, and this is a great added value. Your guide will also be able to adjust the itinerary in case of an unplanned issue. Your time during vacation is very precious.

If you are looking for amazing Tuscany cycling tour, please see our dedicated page!

Questions? Feel free to reach out to us. We are more than happy to support you.

Hosting friends or relatives from abroad?

This post is mainly dedicated to those who are living in Tuscany and that are getting frequent visits of friends and relatives from abroad.

Subtitle: Entertaining guests for an extended period? a kind of a part-time job!

The fact that you are living abroad is a great incentive for friends and relatives to come and visit you. They take 2 birds with one stone! Hosting friends and relatives is always a great pleasure! For about 6 months I lived in the USA and I still remember the feeling of proudness to show “my USA” to visitors.

At the same token, some time was a bit frustrating too because the desire to spend time with them did not always match with the time that I could actually dedicate to them due to the busy work-life balance.

When the visit was for few days, I was fostering independence, giving them my list of “must visit places” in sequence to optimize the travel logistics with all the related details like open/closure time, costs, managing also time expectations on my involvement.

For long stays, sometimes I was suggesting them a mini-vacation within the vacation. In some cases, a few days excursion could be the perfect solution to maximize their desire to visit the territory (especially for long distance travelers) but also to release the potential pressure of entertaining guests for an extended period.

But also suggesting a mini-vacation requires a bit of attention. This mini-vacation should contain all the top elements/experiences that they are expecting to enjoy, and should be safe as well. In Tuscany, a mini-vacation should include quality moments dedicated to local food and wine, as well as the visit to some of our Tuscany jewels like Pisa or Lucca or Siena, etc.

A recent analysis of trends in tourism is highlighting 5 main characteristics of the “ideal vacation”. The keyword is “experience” and more specifically:

  1. Personalization for a special travel customer experience
  2. Getting off the beaten track/seeing or doing something new
  3. To be active and outdoor
  4. High adrenaline activities
  5. Interaction with locals

An additional data point? three in four millennial’s said they’d rather buy an experience than a physical good.

In terms of mini-vacation in Tuscany, there are several amazing opportunities but perhaps a bike tour is really the one that is capable to match all the 5 requirements. At least based on my experience.

A bike tour would also allow them to enjoy the beauty of Tuscany countryside in a very relaxed way. The fact that not all the guests are expert bikers could be easily overcome by the adoption of electric assisted bikes that can be beneficial to everyone from non-riders to ingrained cycling enthusiasts.

An e-bike widens the possibilities of cycling being viewed as a viable transportation option as well as a sustainable leisure activity. And if you are lucky and you have time to spend with them? Wow, this is perfect, this would be THE GREAT EXCUSE to join them for a bike tour in Tuscany, to explore places you have always visited perhaps “from the window” of your car.

Florence and Tuscany, in general, are a lot more than “just” Uffizzi. The vast majority of the tourists are dreaming of Tuscany countryside, but they rarely have the opportunity to go outside Florence.

Let your guests be privileged, suggest them a bike tour in Tuscany, maybe an e-bike tour operated by TuscanyQuintessence!

Sometimes the logistics associated with a bike experience is complex, in fact at Tuscany Quintessence our mission is to keep things simple and to create the perfect conditions for your UNFORGETTABLE vacation in Tuscany. Living emotions that will last forever.

Take a look at our tours and call us in case you need more info.

Take care,

Alberto

3 reasons why you should ride an electric assisted bike

Subtitle: An Ironman on e-bike.

1. Electric assisted bike is very fun.
2. Electric assisted bike is more fun than you think.
3. Electric assisted bike will magically make you fall in love.

Few weeks ago, I invited Leonardo Nocentini, one of my best friends, to take part in a Tuscany bike tour with my electric assisted bikes. I was keen to get his valuable opinion on the tour, on the bikes etc.

Let me say that Leonardo is not “one of us”, he is one of the strongest triathletes in the word. He took part 2 times to the final race in Kona of Ironman world championship.
Regardless of his superpower legs, he was really keen to try an electric assisted bike and immediately accepted my invitation to join me for a daily e-bike tour in Tuscany.
Of course, I was looking at him trying to read his feelings on his face also because Leonardo is not able to lie.

A big smile

You may believe it or not, but after a few meters, on his face I noticed a big smile. He was really surprised about how fun was cycling with this kind of bikes. A real joy also for me!
The fact that someone like Leonardo appreciated electric assisted bike for a bike tour, was the proof that e-bikes are really fun, and are for anyone!

And I was smiling too; in fact I was able to match Leonardo speed, with just a little additional help from my e-bike! 

Tuscany Electric Bike Tour with Tuscany Quintessence

And you, have you ever considered using an e-bike for your next active bike tour in Tuscany? 4 considerations…

Trust me, the e-bike can help you make this type of active vacation a reality. Here 4 considerations of why you should evaluate electric assisted bike especially for a bike tour in a region like Tuscany where the spectacular roads are rarely flat:

  1. Couples – Based on recent statistics (Bike Summit 2019 by Legambiente), 35% of bike tourists are couples. Often they have different skill levels. Sometimes the less patient (or less interested) spouse tries to step beside the enthusiasm, but eventually slows down or rides behind the party – it’s not much fun for anyone.
  2. Family  – Children or grandparents cannot have the same speed or distance as the rest of the family. E-bikes offer a solution for everyone to participate in and maintain a fun training level.
  3. Novice bikers – Some hope cyclists have anxiety about their ability to keep up with their party. With e-bikes they do not have to worry about being too slow and will be able to enjoy the views and the tour at the fullest.
  4. Experienced cyclists – Even experienced cyclists can enjoy the benefits of an e-bike. In this case, the pleasure is also connected to the fact that perhaps for the first time, they will be able to share a bike this amazing ride experience with their friends or their significant other.

This is the real game changer! We have several amazing Tuscany e-bike tours, from 1 day to 5 days that are combing a cycling experience with art&history, nature, food, and wellness.

Our goal is to help you to make this type of active vacation in Tuscany a reality, we want to exceed your expectations.

Learn more at Tuscany Electric Bike Tours

More details on our e-bikes? see page e-bikes!

Cycling backpack – is it ready for your next bike tour?

10 things you should have with you for a daily bike tour.

Let me share with you the list of things that – based on my experience – are important to keep in your cycling backpack.

First of all, let me underline that each participant to the bike tour should take with him/her their own cycling backpack. Including kids. It is very important that each individual is self-independent and have easy access to a small set of personal stuff like sunglasses, tissues, camera, and the mobile phone, just to name a few. Allowing kids to take their own (little) cycling backpack, will be perceived as a sign of independence, trust and a way for them to help.

Moms – by nature – tend to have Mary Poppin’s style, carrying bags with millions of things ready to be used.

This is what I call the “just in case mindset”. I still remember my mom’s bag; the range of items she used to carry with her was impressive, from a sewing kit to medical patches, something to eat (at that time the food did not have a short expiration date as today), tissues, water, the comb, and much more.

Unfortunately, carrying on our shoulders heavy and big bag during a cycling tour is not recommendable.

Our legs and our back will not be happy, but also from a safety standpoint, cycling with a heavy ballast is definitively not recommendable and should be avoided whenever is possible.

The list of items reported below has been produced with the assumption that we are going take part to a bike ride at a leisurely pace, in a location where it is easy to find a place to rest and to refill our water bottle.

List of objects:

  1. Food – real food or energy bars or gels. It is key to have something to eat in case of need & water
  2. First-aid kit + medical info/emergency contact card
  3. Repair kit – Basic items needed to cover minor repairs and fix flat tires like a multi-tool, a good pump, a pair of tires, a roll of duct tape, chain tool, spare tires, lube oil, bike tire removal tool
  4. Paper Map of the location you are visiting as the backup in case your GPS/phone run out of battery
  5. Mosquito repellent organic cream (especially during summer season)
  6. Eye protection (sunglasses, clear lenses)
  7. Mobile phone (and power bank if available)
  8. Wind stopper jacket that can be rolled up very small and will fit into the backpack. If possible “breathable” in case you need to wear for the entire ride
  9. Sunscreen
  10. Tissues

One item that has been recently added to my “bike wardrobe” is the dog attack deterrent spray – citronella formula –  without harmful side effects. In my life, I have never been attacked by an aggressive animal, but this spray could be useful for my peace of mind.

Additional suggestions for your cycling backpack:

How to pack your staff. Unless you have a waterproof backpack or a waterproof cover, my recommendation is to put each item in a small plastic bag to keep them dry and clean. The items that you think you will be using more frequently should be easy to catch.

–  If you are thinking to buy a new cycling backpack, make sure that the area where the pack comes in contact with your back has a built-in mesh frame that holds the pack away from your back, allowing air to circulate across your back, keeping you cooler. In terms of capacity – for a 1-day tour – 8/10 liters should be fine. Frequently this kind of backpacks have also a dedicated bag for water (around 3 liters).

The riding position is very important. The lower your back is on the bike, the heavier the pack will feel, so having a more upright position on a touring bike can help increase comfort. If you are experiencing back pain, perhaps you need to raise your handlebars.

At this point your cycling backpack is ready and well-set; it is time to take it with you in a compelling cycling experience. What about bike tour around Tuscany? I would encourage you to take a look at our bike tours in Tuscany and pick the one that you like the most. Our dream is to exceed your expectations.

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