Italian land and nature: Cycling Excursions
- WTI Magazine #115 May 19, 2019
Cycling excursions are a great way to travel Italy, by mixing sport and nature. By turns riding and carrying your bike you can cross through mountain pastures, forests and valleys, discovering environments that would otherwise be inaccessible. In fact, cycling makes it possible to pass through difficult trails and openings, climb to the crests of mountains, and access pathways and animal tracks in elevated altitudes, or visit historical sites on the old transhumance routes.
Cycling excursions are particularly adapted for those who not only want to visit a particular place while maintaining a certain level of athleticism, but who also want to live these more secluded areas of nature face to face. You should be prepared to appreciate both the beauty and fatigue that are part and parcel of a biking excursion.
Cycling excursionism allows one to undertake different types of trails, from cross country and downhill to freeride; it is not necessary that those participating are able and gifted cyclers, are good at navigating the trails, or even that they are leg-strong or resistant to fatigue. What excursionists really need are determination and a little bit of courage.
If you fall in the age range from teenager to senior citizen, are physically active and in good health, cycling excursionism is for you.
It is possible to cycle alone, but going with a group – especially if you are a beginner – is always advised.
The Italian Alpine Club (Cai) has recognized cycling excursionism as an institutional activity, and in Italy many regional and provincial groups (of both cycling excursionism and mountain-cycling) have dedicated themselves to multiple activities, including training, environmental education, and trailway maintenance.
Countless other informal groups – together with those formal (registered under Cai), athletic associations, and social and corporate/trade clubs – make their know-how available by means of guides, excursions, and travel assistance and aids.
In Italy, bike-hotels are also a well-developed establishment by now; in addition to logding, they offer assistance to cycle-tourists and cycle excursionists, suggesting diverse trails and cultural and enogastronomic itineraries in the Bel Paese.
The climate here, of course, is sunny and mild; nonetheless, bike excursions are mostly organized in mountainous and hilly zones, where temperatures can be more severe. Excursions in flat, coastal or lake areas, on the other hand, can mean rather hot termperatures. Once you have chosen your destination and consulted the weather conditions, you are ready to choose the best time for your cycling vacation.
Obviously there are a multitude of reasons to see Italy by bike. Cyclers, both “off the street” and the more expert mountain-biker, can select the trails and itineraries right for them: those who want to cover many miles quickly during one day, vs. those who prefer to take it slow, perhaps pedaling off-road through the scenic trails and pathways of uncontaminated nature.