The company that launched small group guided bicycle tours in Italy 30 years ago, today empowers its seasoned guides by inviting them to design and curate dream itineraries for its guests.
As a result of input from its guides, Ciclismo Classico created its Top Guide Tours series. At the same time, this portfolio of new trips for 2019 serves its repeat clients who always ask to travel with their favorite guides in a new and exciting location.
“As far as I know, Ciclismo Classico is the only bicycle tour company that encourages this kind of trip development,” says Lauren Hefferon, founder and owner. “Anyone who has been on a tour with Ciclismo Classico knows our guides put heart and soul into every tour they lead. And isn’t that what life is all about anyway?”
Via Francigena, a new 10-day Top Guide Tour for intermediate riders, is led by Guide Sandro Draghi. The route follows the footsteps of ancient (think 990) pilgrims, merchants, clergyman and soldiers traveling between northern Europe, Rome and Jerusalem. They traveled on foot and on mules and horses, but rarely by cart. Via Francigena was not constructed to connect places of great importance and distance; rather it’s a series of local paths and trails linking mountain passes, bridges, ferry boats and villages. The spiritual energy that abides along this route reaches a crescendo on Easter weekend as cyclists ride into Rome and straight to St. Peter’s Square. The itinerary covers 301 miles from Lucca to Rome. The 2019 departure is April 12. The per person double rate of $5,795 ($800 single supplement) includes:
- use of a gravel bike;
- group shuttle at the end of the tour and van support as needed;
- three cultural visits with local guides;
- two tastings of local specialties;
- all accommodations with breakfasts;
- some lunches (three) and dinners (seven);
- services of Top Guide Sandro Draghi throughout.
Sandro Draghi graduated with honors in biology. He helped found a game and wildlife management office before becoming a Nature Tour Guide and engaging in agritourism, studying wines (he’s a certified sommelier), olive oils and affiliating with the Slow Food Association. In 2007 he entered what he calls his “two-wheel” period. The rest is history.
Among the guides’ creations is a new-for-2019 30th anniversary commemorative tour, Tuscany and the Enchanting Island of Elba, with Guide Marcello Bonini. This nine-day adventure for intermediate cyclists recreates an inaugural itinerary by introducing Tuscany’s Chianti region. Enroute to Sienna guests visit Il Borro, a former medieval hamlet now Family Bergamo’s high-end resort. Volterra offers an important museum and archeological sites reflecting Etruscan, Roman and medieval influences. One of Tuscany’s best-preserved medieval cities follows, San Gimignano. The Etruscans appear again on the itinerary on a 38-mile loop of the Island of Elba. (Think Napoleon who was exiled here.)
A former competitive triathlete, Guide Bonini has worked as a personal trainer, masseur, cycling consultant, teacher and sommelier. He sings his heart out when cycling downhill. “I hope my guests bring home two things; the scent of the Italian lifestyle – a mix of musical cheerfulness, slow wellbeing and self-irony – and the passion for cycling,” he says.
The itinerary covers up to 368 miles. Departures in 2019 are June 8, June 22 and Oct. 12. Exclusive to all guests of Ciclismo Top Guide tours is a Ciclismo Classico gift kit of shorts and jersey, a wine kitty and Top Guide perks along the way. The per person double rate of $5,695 ($800 single supplement) includes:
- carbon bike rental equipped with Garmin Edge GPS;
- services of Marcello Bonini throughout;
- fees associated with activities included in the itinerary.
- two each wine tastings and cultural visits with local guides;
- a visit to an olive oil producer;
- all-you-can-eat gelato;
- all accommodations with breakfasts;
- lunches (four) and dinners (six).
Other destinations (and the guide(s) that created the itinerary) for the 2019 Top Guide Tour Series include:
- 11-day Bike Across Spaincreated by Alessandro Allegro for advanced riders;
- 9-day Colorado High Country created by Dana Geraghty and Frank Yantorno for intermediate/advanced riders;
- 9-day Bike Across Morocco created by Umberto Cena for intermediate riders;
- 7-day Franconia: Classical Germany created by Enrico Pizzorni for athletic beginner riders;
- 11-day Munich to Verona created by Dana Geraghty and Frank Yantorno for intermediate riders;
- 9-day Croatia: The Dalmatian Coastcreated by Sergio Porcellotti for intermediate riders.
For more details please see https://www.ciclismoclassico.com/travel-types/top-guide-tours/
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 online: 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.