Here’s a shout-out to our friends at Cycle Italia. After visiting their site, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do more – ride my bike, gorge on some pasta, tour Italy, or all three ?
Certain that it is, the prospect of doing any of the above, was worthy of a day’s long reverie while being snowbound in western Massachusetts. 😉
CycleItalia’s Owner – Operators The heart of CycleItalia is our staff.
Heather and Larry met leading bike tours in Italy, married soon after, and have since racked up almost 25 years of cycling guide experience. They launched CycleItalia in 1998 to share their passion for Italy with you. CycleItalia has its roots in the Italian cycling getaways they planned as a couple, exploring the little-traveled backroads of untouristed regions, discovering small family-run inns and enjoying authentic country cuisine.
Heather is a philosophy professor at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. She first traveled to Italy in 1984 to visit relatives and has returned almost every year since. She speaks fluent Italian and uses her academic research skills to create CycleItalia’s unique itineraries.
During her career as a bicycle racer in the 1980’s she made many friends in Italy’s cycling community, some of whom she continues to visit annually. She has produced study tours in Italy and Greece and knows a fair amount about local history – especially the Etruscans, Romans, and Renaissance Florentines.
Larry runs the CycleItalia office. He’s the one who answers the phone and email. A USA Cycling and Campagnolo certified professional mechanic, he’s rescued countless bikes from the jaws of mechanical disaster with amazing "in-the-field" repair jobs.
The only thing he loves as much as a fast, twisty descent (where his experience as a professional motorcycle roadracer is useful) is Italian wine and food. This passion comes in handy when it’s time to research the gastronomia of a new region of Italy, and share it with you.
Benvenuto a CycleItaliaThis is a match made in Paradiso!
We’ve married our unabashed passion for Italy with our extensive experience leading high-performance bicycle tours to produce hand crafted, small-group tours that we personally guide through cycling heaven – Italy. In no other country will you feel such respect for the sport of cycling. Come share the Italian passion for all good things in life: friends, food, wine, beauty… and the sport that comes from the heart.
CycleItalia ciclismo come una volta (cycling like it used to be)
CycleItalia began, as many things do, as a "better mousetrap" idea. We enjoyed the better part of a decade working with one of the first operations to offer challenging tours in Europe for cycling enthusiasts. When they took their first group to Italy in 1989, Heather and Larry were there – in fact that’s how we met.
On the free evenings for dinner back then, we were often joined by small groups of clients who appreciated our skill at finding the best places for authentic food and our passion for the full Italian meal experience;antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno and dolci, all complemented with wines from the local vineyards.
It was during these relaxing dinner experiences that the seeds for CycleItalia were sown. Clients would ask, "Why don’t you start your own company so we can dine like this every night?" In 1998 we took a deep breath and made that leap of faith. CycleItalia was born with the slogan "pedala forte, mangia bene" (ride hard, eat well): at that time a new concept in cycle touring.
CycleItalia 2014 Tour Schedule
Mille Grazie for your interest in CycleItalia! We are excited about sharing "la dolce vita in bicicletta" with you.
Tour (click on tour name for details)
More Monferrato 1 Sublime cycling in Monferrato
May 26-June 2
La Corsa Rosa
See crucial mountain stages of the Giro d’Italia
Vineyards to the Sea Monferrato, Appennines, Cinque Terre
More Monferrato 2 Sublime cycling in Monferrato
Best of Piedmont Monferrato, Gavi, Langhe, Barolo
La Primavera Trace the route and history of Milano-San Remo
June 30-July 6
Grandi Alpi Val d’Aosta, Gran San Bernardo, Cervinia and more
Legendary Climbs of the Giro Tre Cime, Giau, Falzarego, Pordoi, Fedaia, Sella, Palade, Mendola, Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirolo, Ghisallo
May – October
Taste of Tuscany Chianti country, Volterra, Montopoli Val d’Arno
April – October
Piedmont Cycling Resort Sublime fixed base cycling in Monferrato
CycleItalia PO Box 1386 Sioux City, Iowa 51102 USA
Toll-Free: (877) ITALBIKE
Local: (712) 258-1775
Fax: (712) 258-1776
Why Choose CycleItalia
The profit a tour company makes is what is left over after the expenses like research and development, vehicle rentals, hotels, and meals have been paid. The initial pricing of your tour is largely determined by the selection of services and amenities offered to the client as well as the R & D invested in the itinerary.
At CycleItalia we believe that we offer an unparalleled range of services, care, food quality and everything else that goes into making your vacation an extraordinary adventure to remember, as well as a great value.
We’re careful shoppers. We look for places with an excellent quality/price ratio. It’s our feeling that once you’ve chosen CycleItalia, it’s our mission to spend your money carefully to provide the best possible experience and most convenience for you.
Some of the things we do to make you comfortable and your vacation more pleasurable are glossed over a bit in our literature because we believe that offering the best is the only way to run a business. We know no other way to do things.
Here are some things to consider when comparing CycleItalia to other tour operators.
Our groups are strictly limited to ten guests. We arrive at an establishment more as an extended family than a tour group. Our hotel and restaurant partners appreciate this and often extend courtesies not available to groups of 20-40 guests. Our small group size also allows us to enjoy smaller, family-run hotels that simply will not cater to large tour groups.
Our Rome-based tours feature a free hotel shuttle from the DaVinci airport directly to our HQ hotel. From there CycleItalia provides all your transportation with your bike safely atop our custom-built roof racks. Milan-based tours feature private shuttles from Malpensa to our HQ hotel in the Monferrato wine country. On a few Milan-based tours you’re able to ride into or out of the HQ hotel to begin or end your tour. Others require a transfer, again via private shuttle with your bike safely stored atop the van or car. Other tours may boast about "not wasting your time with shuttles, etc." but one way or another you have to get to the riding area or their HQ hotel from the airport so why not let us handle that for you? Dragging a bike box and your luggage onto a bus or train after a trans-atlantic flight is no fun.
Once you’re on tour with us, we again provide all of your transportation. We insist on having a seat in one of our vehicles for every client. Why should you care about this? Many tours supply just one vehicle for groups of 10-20 cyclists. This saves a lot of expense for them but what about convenience for you? They’ll quite often have a staff member on a bike with you but that’s not much help if you have a mechanical problem or minor injury. What if it starts raining and you don’t enjoy cycling in the rain? Our vehicles are always close by (though not like the broom wagon at the Tour de France). Or what about a hotel transfer day and you’re just too pooped to pop? With us you’re always welcome to ride in the van for whatever distance you choose, there’s never any pressure to get on your bike for any reason.
We pride ourselves on what’s been called the best support in the business. Groups of 8-10 cyclists have two vehicles at their disposal, each equipped with a cellular telephone. (Groups smaller than 8 guests enjoy the support of one 9-passenger van along the route.) Each guest has the option of a "day-bag" in either (or both) of the vehicles. This way you can ride with just your windbreaker and arm warmers in your back pocket. If the weather turns bad we’ll come looking for you and we always wait at the top of the climb to allow you to retrieve your extra clothes if you need them. Our support vehicle(s) sweep back and forth on the route until the last cyclist is within a few kilometers of our hotel. Luggage (on hotel transfer days) usually arrives at a new destination by 4 pm, leaving you plenty of time to check-in and relax before our evening briefing.
Heather is fluent in Italian and has more than 20 years experience leading high-performance bicycle tours while Larry speaks basic Italian (and might fool you into thinking he’s fluent) and shares the same level of experience in the industry. We accompany every guided tour. There are no other employees. Our only mission is to make sure you enjoy la dolce vita in bicicletta and our response to a special request is more often than not, perche no? (why not?)
We’re both avid cyclists and ex-racers. Pedala forte (ride hard) is not just a slogan. We know what makes a great, challenging ride and how to find it. We spend at least two on-site research days, (driving, mapping and cycling) for each day of a tour, usually more. This is after countless hours of pre-tour planning at our office with maps and Italian-language guide books. Designing quality, high-performance cycling tours is not rocket science. It takes experience, dedication, research, on-site work and passion for cycling and cyclists. Our never ending question about everything we do is, "Would WE like to do this if we were guests on this tour?"
We also know food and wine. Mangia bene (eat well) is not just a slogan either. In partnership with SlowFood we seek out eateries with famed local or regional cooking. Quite often we enjoy a wine produced from a vineyard we can see from the window of theristorante.
Larry is a USA Cycling and Campagnolo certified mechanic and carries a complete professional tool kit with him at all times on tour. There’s always a back-up tool kit in the other vehicle (as well as a floor pump) for your use at any time. We also travel with an extensive spare parts kit and spare wheel set.
A Complete Vacation
CycleItalia tours provide almost everything, including wine selections with group dinners. We provide all of your lodging from your arrival day until the morning of your departure. Other tours may end at the company’s HQ hotel at 6 in the evening. You’ll find it almost impossible to schedule an airline departure at that time so you could be stuck paying for an extra hotel night, often at a pricey airport hotel. With CycleItalia, after you’ve reserved your space all you need is an airline ticket and some spending money. What for? See below.
What’s NOT Included?
Airfare. We allow you to decide the best way to get to Rome or Milan. Cash in your mileage points or combine your vacation with work in Europe, it’s your choice.
Lunch. We leave lunch open for you. Some folks will join us for a sit-down pranzo while others will opt for a quick snack and continue down the road.
Dinner on "open" nights. Selected nights (quite often the second night at the same hotel) are left open to allow you to explore the local eateries. You’re always welcome to join us but there’s no pressure to join in if you’d prefer a more quiet, private dinner.
Bicycles. We now offer "Pro-Bike" rentals at a very reasonable price. If for any reason you decide bringing your own bike to Italy is not convenient we have a small fleet of Torelli bicycles available for use during our tours.
We keep snacks and water in the vehicles at all times but souvenirs, bar stops, grocery store visits, laundry, travel insurance, etc. are at your own expense.
We have nothing to hide. We’re proud of our tours. We offer detailed itineraries on our website, complete with elevation profiles, hotel names and ride descriptions. In addition we feature a hotel links page, allowing you to visit the websites of our partner hotels (where available). Our comments page features actual quotes from past clients. We’re happy to provide references from past guests (usually via email) so you can find out for yourself if pedala forte, mangia bene with CycleItalia is right for you.
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