eonard Lee is 'just a normal chap that enjoys riding a bike' and like thousands of others, we love his YouTube videos.
And that is precisely why we invited him to experience the Inspired ITALY GIROe: Grand Tour of Tuscany.
Who is Leonard Lee?
The Leonardmlee Youtube channel is all about cycling for normal people and Leonard’s channel is booming because of it!
In the first six months of 2020 he added over 15,000 new subscribers with the total currently standing at 34.9K with nearly 9 million views.
Leonard’s channel first launched in November 2006 making it one of the very first (if not THE first) cycling channels on YouTube. Relaunched in 2014 and taking on the title of 'Jolly Good Velo', Leonard is especially popular with cyclists over 50 and aspirational, casual cyclists who may have held back because of fears about fitness, cost or confidence.
Leonard describes himself as "just a normal chap that enjoys riding his bike" adding that he is not "skinny, super fit" but that he has been a cyclist "for many years and in that time I have learnt a few things."
Why is Leonard Lee Cycling in Tuscany?
Leonard is in Tuscany to experience the Inspired ITALY GIROe Grand Tour of Tuscany.
Leonard has never cycled in Italy and this will be his first time ever on an eRoad bike.
We will be making videos along the ride.
What is Cycling like in Tuscany?
Cycling in Italy is hugely popular and many Italians will tell you that Tuscany is the spiritual home of cycling in Italy. Tuscany is simply a great destination for cycling and is home too many famous cycle events, famous cyclists and has a cycling history to surpass most.
Cycling events in Tuscany include the ‘Strada Bianche’ the famous white road race, ‘L’Eroica’ for vintage bikes and every year Tuscany hosts at least one stage of the most famous cycling event in Italy, the Giro d’Italia.
Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartoli and Mario Cipollini are the most famous of cyclists to be born here and in the modern era, Mark Cavendish has a training base in Quarrata, Tuscany.
Tuscany is the heartland of Italian cycling - it’s part of the Tuscan DNA! Cycling is taken very seriously and cyclists are revered. Other road users give cyclists room and there is a cyclist camaraderie here, whether you are on a top-end Pinarello, Bianchi or an old push-iron.
Where is Leonard cycling in Tuscany?
The Inspired ITALY GIROe Grand Tour of Tuscany starts in the shadow of Cortona (famous for the book and film ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’) on the border with Umbria and heads west to through Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino and San Quirico d’Orcia where the tour loops through the Val d’Orica UNESCO World Heritage site.
Then heading north through the Crete Senesi and into towns of Chianti, including Radda, Greve and Panzano in Chianti before heading back across the plains of the Valdichiana and the return to Cortona.
In six days of riding the GIROe: Grand Tour of Tuscany covers around 400 Km and an estimated 8,000m of climbs.
What Bike Is Leonard Lee Riding?
Leonard’s bike is a brand new Lapierre e-Xelius 600 SL Disc Carbon with Fazua Evation Drive System.
Yes, it is an eRoad bike and this is Leonard’s first ever eBike experience.
The Lapierre e-Xelius SL Disc is a specialised bike for climbing and covering long distances with the assistance needed for the hills and climbs of Tuscany.
For those who like a little more detail the frame is the new Lapierre eXelius SL Carbon Disc, thru axel powered by the latest Fazua Evation drive pack and 250Wh battery. The rear derailleur is the Shimano ULTEGRA RD-R8000GS, 11s and front 105 FD-R7000FL. The bike is equipped with a Shimano 105 CS-HG700 11s 11-34T sprocket all sitting on the Lapierre eXelius DISC 700x21c wheelset with eBike specific hubs riding fitted with Continental Ultra Sport 2 SL 700X28 tyres. The bike weighs in at 13.9 kg, all up.
Why Use an eRoad Bike?
Ask any cyclist who has ridden in Tuscany and they’ll tell you that it is ‘hilly’!
Officially ‘hills’ make up 66.5% of the region and mountains 25% = 91.5%. The ‘plains’ or ‘flats’ take up just 8.4%.
Therefore 46% of your average Tuscan ride is ‘up hill’ and some of the climbs are long and arduous at least on a normal bike!
For the normal person who enjoys riding their bike, Tuscany is challenging. But by adding the Fauza Evation drive system means that you can take on big rides without fear and enjoy the great Tuscan countryside, wine, weather and culture.
Who is Leonard Cycling with?
Leonard will be led by Tim Hudson, founder and principal ski and eBike Leader of Inspired ITALY and they are joined by Raleigh UK representative Calvin Booker.
Raleigh UK is part of the Accell Group who own cycle brands including Lapierre and Haibike which are distributed in the UK by Raleigh. Inspired ITALY is a Raleigh UK dealer and has a very close relationship sharing similar customer bases and visions for cycling.
When Is Leonard Cycling in Tuscany?
Leonard and Calvin begin their adventure on Monday 31st August 2020 with the first day of cycling from Cortona to San Quirico d’Orica via Montepulicano and Pienza on Tuesday 1st September.
Here is the full itinerary …
1st Sept: Cortona - Ricco - Valiano - Montepulciano Statizone - LUNCH: Montepulciano - Pienza San Quirico d'Oria
2nd: San Quirico d'Orica - Pienza - Bango Vignoni - Castiglione d'Orcia - Castelnuovo dell’Abate - LUNCH & Wine Tasting: Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona - Montalcino - San Quirico d'Oria
3rd: San Quirico d'Orica - Torrenieri - San Giovanni d'Asso - Montisi - Trequanda - LUNCH: Asciano - Castello Di Leonina.
4th: Castello Di Leonina - Arbia - Castelnuovo Berardenga - SP484 (north) - LUNCH: Gaiole In Chianti - Radda in Chianti
5th: Radda in Chianti - SP72 - Badia a Montemuro - Dudda - LUNCH: Greve in Chianti - Panzano in Chianti - Santa Maria A Grignano - SR222 - ST429 - Radda in Chianti
6th: Radda in Chianti - SP2 - SP408 - SP484 - Castelnuovo Berardenga - Colonna di Grillo - Palazzuolo - SS73 - SP24 - LUNCH: Lucignano - Foiano della Chiana - Cortona
Look out for the hashtag #LeonardoLee #InspiredItalyebikes on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube!