Thanks to the growth of electric bikes (e-bikes), Ciclismo Classico is opening up tours that until now were accessible only to advanced cyclists.
The company that 30 years ago pioneered bicycle tours in Italy, this year is bringing e-bikes to it series of Epic Bike Tours, so designated because of the varied terrain and distances covered. And as an incentive to try them out, Ciclismo Classico is offering a 30 percent savings on Bianchi e-bike rentals during the 2019 season.
“Some of our guests have looked longingly at the itineraries of our Epic series. The introduction of e-bikes means that intermediate and even biking novices can enjoy these grand adventures,” said Lauren Hefferon, Ciclismo’s founder and director.
For more on e-bikes please see: https://ciclismoclassico.com/blog/5-reasons-an-e-bike-tour-is-perfect-for-you/
One example of a Ciclismo Classico Epic Tour is a 12-day Bike Across Southern Italy that explores interior and coastal regions from Italy’s heel to its toe. This region is new to many travelers. Departures in 2019 are Aug. 27-Sept. 7 and Sept. 24-Oct. 5. This sea-to-sea itinerary begins its east-west trajectory from the Adriatic, enroute encompassing several UNESCO World Heritage sites. The first embraces a region sprinkled with over 1,000 dwellings known as trulli. Think of ice cream cones, all painted white, and pointing to the sky. The next UNESCO World Heritage Site is Matera where long-ago people created dwellings and some 155 cave churches collectively known as sassi. Today these caves are elegant guest accommodations. This City of Stone was recently awarded the title of European Capital of Culture 2019 by the Commission of the European Union.
A World Wildlife Foundation-protected forest of pine and eucalyptus contrasts with steep, bare hills of calcareous (chalky) rock rising from a river valley and flanked by groves of ancient olive trees. This region known as Basilicata is the southern flank of the Apennines that forms Italy’s north-to-south spine. This predictably hilly course continues on to the Tyrrhenian Sea, with stops enroute for lunches prepared by agriturismo hosts and mountain-style hospitality offered up by one of Italy’s most important chefs who represents La Cucina Lucane. This is a style of cooking unique to this region that historically has relied on wits and luck to put food on its tables. While e-bikes and stamina make this terrain accessible to today’s bicycle enthusiasts, there are people still alive today who recall when Carlo Levi, a physician, came to live in their midst. He blew the whistle to the Italian government about the subsistence living sustained here. His book, Christ Stopped at Eboli, may still rankle a proud people whom he treated for diseases spread by nutritional deficiencies and living like primitives in caves.
As guests pedal along what’s known as “the other Amalfi Coast,” they are now south of Naples and beginning the climb to the base of the Cima Coppi, the most challenging climb of the tour. (The Italians themselves prefer the stretches of beach below to the more famous and tourist beaches farther north.) A steep climb out of Maratea, the “town with 44 churches,” leads to Pollino National Park in Calabria and a demonstration of how to make mozzarella. The maestro of an important school of hotel and restaurant management oversees a dinner prepared with all local and traditional ingredients and spiced with Calabrese song and dance. These hills were once settled by Albanians who fled from the Turks over 500 years ago. Many of these communities maintain their own language and traditional dress.
Ciclismo Classico also offers additional Epic Tours in Italy now available to riders of all ability levels thanks to e-bikes. These are
- Bike Across Italy is an 11-day coast-to-coast tour from $5,995 per person, double, that explores Italy’s culture across its interior, passing through Le Marche, Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany. Departures in 2019 are May 11-21, May 23-June 2, June 20-30, July 18-28, Aug. 22-Sept. 1, Sept. 5-15, Sept. 19-20 and Oct. 3-13.
- Cinque Terre & Tuscany pairs Tuscany with the Ligurian coast for 11 days at a per person double rate from $6,495. The departure date in 2019 is Sept. 12-22.
- Majestic Dolomites is a seven-day itinerary from $4,295 per person double. Departure dates in 2019 are July 21-27, Aug. 18-24 and Aug. 25-31.
- Epic Italy is a 15-day itinerary offering the world’s most comprehensive pedaling portrait of La Bella Italia. The per person double rate is from $6,995. The 2019 departure date is Aug. 25-Sept. 8. The tour begins in the Po Delta between Venice and Bologna descends the Apennine Mountains into the Emilia-Romagna and on to Florence and Tuscany, traverses the rugged terrain of Le Marche and Abruzzo, skirts Rome while staying in the interior of the region known as Lazio, home to the Sibillini, Italy’s central chain of the Apennine range.
For additional information, detailed itineraries, trip availability and reservations please contact Ciclismo Classico by phone: 800.866.7314 (US & Canada) or 781.646.3377 (outside of North America), or visit the newly enhanced website at: https://ciclismoclassico.com/.
About Ciclismo Classico
Small group sightseeing through Italy by bike was a new concept in 1989 when Ciclismo Classico burst onto the scene to become the first company in the world to specialize in active cycle tours of Italy. Leading this charge was Lauren Hefferon who established another world-first: a woman-owned bike tour company.
This company’s rallying cry then and now is “Pedal Your Passion!” Tours are led by native-born guides who on average have each served Ciclismo Classico clients in excess of 10 years. Daily rides are carefully blended with a variety of cultural and culinary experiences and served up as the Ciclismo Menu that includes musical evenings, language lessons, wine and beer tastings, personalized cycling clinics, cooking demonstrations and opportunities for spontaneous discovery and cross-cultural interaction. Guests are carefully matched with a tour style and pedaling pace perfect for them, then outfitted with a quintessentially Italian, high-performance Bianchi bike. Having now expanded beyond Italy to represent tour destinations worldwide, Ciclismo also offers hiking itineraries, private and custom trip planning, photo tours and the ease of touring by electric bike. Recognized by media icons such as National Geographic Traveler and Outside Magazine, Ciclismo Classico is widely considered to be one of the premier active travel companies in the world.