After a week of epic descents, stunning views and decadent “apres-bike”, I am thrilled to report that cycling through Italy with Trek Travel was nothing short of amazing. The bike routes, wine tours, meals, hotels, and guides were all five star, and I’ve narrowed down the most memorable moments and biggest takeaways to give you a glimpse into a biking adventure with Trek Travel.
Day 1 Welcome to Tuscany – After a scenic lunch at an authentic hillside restaurant, we were introduced to our equipment for the week (more on this later). The afternoon ride gave us our first glimpse into the famous wine country, and the prelude was perfect. An evening tour/tasting at the Buonomico Wine Resort was followed by an open-air dinner. The food, wine and views got our taste buds prepped for the rest of the week.
Day 2 Ride into Fattoria del Teso – The morning ride was a fantastic climb through hilly vineyards, which was pure cycling bliss. For lunch, we cruised down the most beautiful shaded grove of trees into a centuries-old family winery for a traditional Italian meal – pasta heaven! The day concluded with a stroll through the picturesque town of Montecarlo and dinner at the Michelin starred Butterfly.
Day 3 Pietrasanta and Il Bottaccio – The hamlet of Pietrasanta is famous for its beautiful and unique marble, which Michelangelo used in his works. The roads to our mid-day destination were curvy, shaded, and perfect for riding through. During the afternoon, we caught our first glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea from high up in the hills as we made our way to II Bottaccio. This 18th-century mill has been converted into a breathtaking hotel. Every room featured a unique medieval style and charm (complete with an original olive oil mill in ours)!
Day 4 Climbing Passo Del Bracco – The pinnacle of today’s ride was the 3000 ft. ascent of this marquee Italian pass from the Ligurian Sea town of Levanto. A haven for cyclists, the route has been featured in the Giro d’Italia. Even though the climb was just a little piece of the pro stage, it was the most vertical I had ever attempted on a bike. Both challenging and gratifying, the long road up was rewarded with a thrilling descent into the beach town of Moneglia.
Day 5 Hike through Cinque Terre – Although it’s hard to imagine, the Cinque Terre region is even more stunning than the pictures let on. We spent the morning hiking the hills from Manarola to Corniglia, where I ate pesto gnocchi and gelato to my heart’s content. An afternoon of relaxing at the beach meant that lunch was a no-holds-barred experience.
Top 5 takeaways:
• Preparation will optimize your experience. This means not only means time in the saddle but also experience with how a road bike handles. We rode 30 to 50 miles each day with anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 elevation gain, which makes for some big climbs & long descents. Being comfortable on long and sometimes steep downhills is key for a safe trip.
•Since there is quite a bit of ground to cover within a five-day bike trip, the days are action-packed. Come into your trip well-rested, as the mornings are relatively early and in typical European fashion, the dinners start late and end even later.
•If you want to see or do more, don’t be afraid to ask your Trek guides if it’s possible. Although the itinerary is largely set, the guides work tirelessly to ensure you have the best trip possible. If you would like to go explore a town or clock some extra miles, they will find a way to make it happen.
• Equipment makes a big difference. Each Trek bike is equipped with a Garmin GPS which is programmed with your route for the day. It alerts you to upcoming turns and notifies you if you’re off route. From someone who has navigated other bike trips using paper instructions, the Garmin is definitely the optimal choice. As far as the bike themselves, Trek equips you with their latest and greatest Domane SL-7. An e-bike option is also available on most trips and can make the whole experience more accessible to a broader range of cyclists.
• To keep yourself in the saddle and feeling your best, nutrition is key. The never ending and delicious supply of wine, cappuccinos and food means that you need to stay on top of your water and electrolyte intake. The guides make this easy with drinks, electrolyte tablets and healthy snacks set out at every break point. Stay hydrated!
Would I do it again? Absolutely! Trek just posted their 2020 trip itineraries and I already have my eye on one…
Feel free connect with me on Instagram, @aneverydayfit, where I am sharing lots more pictures from the trip!
Visit Cinque Terre.