Easy Cycling Holidays in Italy
You don’t have to be a Lycra wearing expert rider to enjoy a cycle holiday in Umbria or Tuscany.
Easy Cycling Holidays in Italy
The terrain may be hilly but there are some carefully chosen less-challenging cycle routes that offer scenic journeys suited to families, beginners and senior cyclists seeking a gently paced, sightseeing experience.Take me to Italy
14 Top Tips on How To Make Your Cycling Holiday Easier
1. Take an Electric Bicycle
An electric bike provides you with powered assistance to supplement your own efforts as you pedal to your next destination. It isn’t cheating! You still have to use your own muscles to push the pedals around, but your level of effort is determined by the power-assist setting that you select. And remember, when you stop pedalling, there is no power! On our bikes which use the best electric assist system from world leaders Bosch, there are five power settings, Off, Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo.
2. CYCLING WEATHER
The wind is the cyclists biggest enemy and the Mediterranean climate is perfect for leisure cycling. The southern European summer high-pressure weather systems have little or no or wind and make ideal holiday cycling conditions.
3. Ride with Family or Friends
Riding in a small group and sharing your experience helps you along your way, providing encouragement, pace and support. An experience shared is an experience doubled!
4. MANAGEABLE RIDES
Understand your ride before you set out. Learn where you can stop and at what pace you intend. Don’t be too aggressive with your pace. 15 km/h 10 mph is an easily achievable average for a leisurely holiday mode! And remember, on a bike journey, its about pace, not speed! Your ride might be 2hrs saddle time, but you have 8 hrs in which to cover the ground.
Don’t be afraid of the climbs. On an electric bike, you can engage a little more assistance and take your time to ascend. Take in the views and vistas on your way up and do it a few metres at a time. It isn’t one hill, its lots of little hills!
6. Set Your Seat Height Right
This is super important for reasons of comfort and safety. Most ‘casual’ and leisure cyclists set the seat height far too low, preferring to be able to touch the ground whilst sitting in the saddle. This isn’t a good position because it makes you use your legs a lot more than you would with the saddle set at the correct height. You should be ‘fitted’ to the bike before you start to make sure that the seat height is correct. And don’t be afraid to adjust the height during the ride.
7. USE YOUR GEARS
It doesn’t really matter how many gears the bike has, they are all there to be used! So use them! Don’t ‘grind’ Spin! As a casual or leisure rider, you should aim to turn the pedals at around 70 to 90 rpm and use the gears to maintain this rhythm. It’s called ‘cadence’ and it is a great help if you can get it right!
8. Remember to Eat & Drink
Cyclists call this ‘fuelling’. And that is what it is. Particularly when you are cycling in a warmer climate, you will lose far more body fluid than you realise. Drink regularly from your water bottle and maybe tuck a banana or oat biscuit in your pannier to nibble on during the ride. You should always stop for coffee, lunch and ice cream along the way.
9. BUILD UP SLOWLY
The main issue that affects casual and leisure cyclists on a cycling holiday is the dreaded ‘sore bottom’! No amount of padding, natural or otherwise, will entirely remove this if you’re a ‘newbie’, but ‘familiarity’ does help a great deal. Spend as much time as you can get used to a bike, any bike, prior to your holiday. It helps reduce the sore bottom syndrome!
10. COMFY CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT
For the casual and leisure cyclist a step-through frame, with suspension front forks helps the riders comfort enormously. If you can, insist on a ‘suspension seat post’ and a gel seat too. The suspension post helps reduce small impacts and vibration and the gel seat holds to your shape, all aiding your comfort. Also, make sure that your bike is a more upright position. Casual and leisure riders find this more comfortable.
11. BASIC CYCLING ESSENTIALS
You should take with you a few basics: A good pair of UV sunglasses; make sure that a helmet is provided otherwise take your own; cycling gloves can help if you’re not used to cycling. They have padding in the palm area and help reduce the pressure on your hands; a water bottle is essential. They are usually 500ml or 750ml. Make sure that you top it up at every opportunity.
12. REST & RECOVER
When you arrive at your destination hotel, rest! Having taken a good long drink to rehydrate your body, lie down for 30 to 60 mins and allow your legs (and your bottom) time to recover. Don’t stay up all night propping up the bar! Have a well-balanced meal and get a good nights sleep!
13. BRING THE WHOLE FAMILY
In Italy, there are electric bikes for children too! And if your family is very young, try our Roman Child Chariot (Burley Bee). It’s all much more enjoyable with an electric bike!
14. Go with a Guide
Cycling with a guide removes the unknowns from your ride and you’ll get help and support with your technique.
A good bike guide helps you see your environment through different eyes and with local knowledge they’ll offer stories and anecdotes.
And of course, they are there to address any technical issues, whether it’s your riding position, cadence or to adjust your seat height. Get more from your cycling holiday with a guide!
How Should I Prepare for My Cycling Holiday?
As a casual or leisure cyclist, you may not have ridden for a while.
If so, do make sure that you put in a few familiarisation rides before you leave for your holiday destination.
Choose your day, check your bike and familiarise yourself with your bike again. Check the brakes, seat height and tyre pressures. Find a low traffic area and head out for a short ride. Do this a few times and it’ll make the world of difference to your cycling holiday and your bottom will thank you!
Do I Get a Rest Day?
Yes, all itineraries have optional ride days.
But honestly, you won’t need them, because each day is planned with just enough saddle time and time off the bike.
Our ‘Easier Cycling’ adventures are designed to be exactly that – easier, fun and interesting experiences around most corners!
What Is Cycling Like in Italy?
ITALIAN’S LOVE CYCLISTS AND IT IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR SPORTS IN THE COUNTRY.
They are deeply passionate about the sport, whether it’s the Giro d’Italia or popping to the pasticceria for the daily bread.
Your itinerary is carefully planned in advance and whether you elect to try a self-guided or the guided experience, you’ll take the quieter roads and a few cycle tracks to see the very best of rural Italy. Whilst your view of Italian drivers is probably not particularly good, they really do respect cyclists far more than most other countries.
Is There Support?
There is an emergency support vehicle that can be called for at any time for true emergency situations. If you are self-guided we create a private WhatsApp group that is monitored 24/7. It’s a kind of ‘virtual guide’ and you can message at any time. Each day we send your daily itinerary and top tips on where to stop or places to look out for. But if you’re at all concerned, consider the guided trips. You really don’t have to worry about anything!
What Happens To My Luggage?
EACH DAY THAT YOU RIDE TO YOUR NEXT DESTINATION, YOUR LUGGAGE IS TRANSPORTED FOR YOU.
You only carry what you need for the days ride and each bike has a side pannier, so there’s plenty of space. Items such as your camera, sun cream and maybe a jacket or something warmer to slip on at lunchtime is all that you’ll need.
Will I Miss Out on Anything Because This Is An ‘Easier’ Itinerary?
Food, wine, views and vistas, history and art are all very much in evidence along your chosen route. Just because it’s an ‘easier’ ride, doesn’t mean to say that you can’t experience the best that Italy has to offer.
For example, the riverside ride along the banks of the River Tiber, the river that flows through Rome and following the shores of Lake Trasimeno is where Hannibal, who crossed the Alps with his elephants, fought the Roman Legions in 246BC. History is around every turn in Italy!
Should I Bring My Helmet?
That is entirely your choice. We provide helmets but if you prefer to use your own, that’s great.
With each bike, we provide the following: a water bottle, a rearview mirror, a pannier, a pump, a spare inner tube, a hi-vis safety jacket, a rain cape, a bike computer and a battery charger. One person per group also carries a Bosch GPS with route preloaded, multi-tool kit, map and first aid kit.
What Kind of Shoes Should I Wear for Cycling?
Look for a comfortable sports style shoe with a stiffer sole
Shoes (and padded shorts) are the most important piece of clothing needed for your cycle adventure. Look for a comfortable sports-style shoe with a stiffer sole while ensuring that the sole isn’t too large and bulky.
The stiff sole is important because it will help support your foot as you pedal.
What Kind of People Go On Cycling Holidays?
From 9 year old Heidi to Geoffrey 85 years young!
Our youngest guest is Heidi aged 9, who cycled on an electric bike with her sister India 13, and Mum and Dad covering 140 miles over 4 days through Umbria. You can watch a video of Heidi here – 🔺 Family Bike Tours | Cycling Holidays with Children
Then there was Geoffrey! He was 85 at the time of his cycling trip in Umbria. You can see Geoffrey cycling here – 🔺 Meet Geoffrey
Easy Cycling Holidays in Italy
“We had a terrific week in Umbria and Tuscany. The 'e' was certainly popular on the steeper hills. Nothing was too strenuous.”Jonny Woods & Family
“What surprised me was how relaxing it was and how you just switch off and enjoy the beauty of it all.”Hazel Dumore
“eBikes were amazing and enabled the whole family with different levels of cycling experience and fitness to enjoy a really memorable holiday. Thanks Tim and the team at Inspired Italy!”Phil Dunmore
“What an amazing time! From the bike rides, to the hotels and the food, everything was perfect. E bikes are my new favourite thing!”Georgia Dunmore
“What an amazing holiday! From someone who hadn’t been on a bike for years and was a bit nervous about the week it way surpassed my expectations! E bikes are the way to go!”Hazel Dunmore
“The Umbria eBike tour was fantastic, the bike technology, sat nav and organisation brilliant. Dee said she would book it again next year, which is the best endorsement”Robin Welch, Umbria eBike Tour
“We were always a little hesitant because of the hills, but eBike from Inspired Italy solved that problem and then some! We felt like we were in Tour d'Italia without the effort. The bikes are fantastic, and all the equipment is first-class.”John Sweazey on an Umbria eBike tour