Cycling in Tuscany
Cycling in the Chianti Hills
Thousands of cyclists come to Tuscany every year, and everyone who comes can have plenty of fun on 2 wheels, from those looking to just have a bit of exercise and fresh air, to the keen road-racers who want to ride the same roads as the Giro D'Italia professionals. But let's start at the beginning.
Cycling in Tuscany for fun
Many people come to Tuscany for a holiday, with the focus on food, wine, sight-seeing, and lounging by the pool. But some also like to spend a couple of days in the saddle taking in a more leisurely view of the countryside and getting some exercise to boot.
If this sounds like you, there are a couple of ways to do this. The first is to hire your own bikes, ask us for route suggestions, and off you go. For the vast majority of enthusiasts, this is the ideal route, as it combines flexibility with the ability to just go at your own pace, and stop where and when you like.
The other option is to book an organised bike tour. There are dozens of companies operating in the area. You'll probably need to drive out and meet them somewhere, but then they will give you bikes, safety gear, maps, and a support vehicle. Some offer lunch on the way. This a great way to go if you just want to cycle a day or two, and don't want to have to make any decisions. They will look after you well, you'll meet other cyclists, and a good time will be had by all.
Hiring bikes couldn’t be easier. There are several places in Castellina in Chianti where you can rent by the day, or of you prefer, we can arrange to have bikes delivered, along with all safety gear, right to Podere Patrignone. Battery-motor-assisted hybrids are becoming very popular, as they can make a real difference on some of the hills around here.
The Chianti Mountain Bike challenge
There are two things that make MTB riding in Chianti serious fun. There are lots of big hills, lots of forest tracks, and absolutely no trespass laws. OK, that's three things. But the combination of these means you can go where you like and be doing trails where you won't see another soul. And because the network of country tracks is so vast, it can cater for enthusiasts at every level, from those who simply prefer to cycle away from cars, to those looking for serious downhill through-the-trees thrills.
Some people bring their own bikes, but most are happy to hire. You can hire everything from a simple fun-bikes to seriously high-end racing-rigged bikes, all supplied by a local MTB Specialized dealership who really know their stuff. They’ll also supply safety gear, maps and plenty of free advice, as well as a workshop in case anything goes wrong or needs adjustment.
Road-biking in Tuscany
The road-riders are by far the fastest-growing group of cyclists who come to Tuscany. There are literally thousands of them. The roads are in great shape, and there is a great mix of terrain, from rolling countryside to some serious climbs. The Chianti hills are highly popular because they encompass all riding styles, with tens of thousands of kilometres of excellent country roads, all with amazing scenery and views, and liberally spotted with handy bars, cafes, restaurants and gelaterias, where you can stop to rest and refuel.
Hire road bikes in Tuscany, or BYO?
Part and parcel of being a road-rider is the love of the gear: the gear has to be good. It just has to be. This is so important to some, that they choose to bring their own bikes. Most airlines have no problems with this, and as long as you hire a car big enough, you’ll be fine. Some Europeans drive to Tuscany rather than fly, because this makes it easier to bring all the right gear. Who can blame them?
But if you’d rather hire, you won’t be disappointed. We have local company we work closely with who supply superb quality road bikes to suit any taste and budget. They deliver here to Podere Patrignone, complete with safety gear, locks, maps, water bottles, you name it. And at the end of your stay, they’ll come and collect the bikes and wish you a safe journey home. The quality of their equipment is impeccable, they have a workshop where the carry out all maintenance and repairs (very useful if you’ve brought your own bike and need some work done), they speak English, and are very professional. And their prices are very reasonable.
Getting onto a nice road
If you’ve had a look around our website, and seen where we are (if not, look here http://patrignone.com/Where-are-we) then you’ll know we’re in the middle of the countryside surrounded by forests, vineyards, olive groves…and strade bianche (dirt roads – marked in white on maps). Great for MTBers, not so great for those roadies on razor-thin rims. But don’t worry. You won’t be forced to walk to the nearest road carrying your precious bike (though many do and treat the walk as a warm-up). Just 4 minutes from us we have fantastic lock-up where you can store your bikes safely at night, and not only is it right next door to an excellent restaurant and bar (so you can have a nice cold beer and a snack after your ride), but it also has a toilet, shower, even a kettle and a fridge to keep your cold drinks. You just jump in your car in the morning, drive 4 mins, jump on your bike, ride. And the same in reverse (punctuated by a cold beer or a coffee). Couldn’t be easier. The roadies who use this facility absolutely love it.
The Patrignone Workshop
Part of the fun of being a keen enthusiast is fiddling with your gear. And if you are so inclined, our fully equipped workshop is at your disposal, with almost every tool you might ever need. But if you need some serious work done, it’s always better to talk first with the rental company, or there are a number of excellent workshops within a few minutes’ drive (or cycle).
It goes without saying that you should be insured up to the hilt. The roads are good, and the local drivers are used to cyclists (it’s probably the most popular sport after football here in Italy), but accidents and spills do happen from time to time, so make sure your gear and your medical bills are covered.
Patrignone Support Services
If you ‘come a cropper’ on a random road, in the middle of no-where, and the rest of your crew have disappeared and left you for dead, then don’t panic. Podere Patrignone to the rescue! Phone us, send us your coordinates (from your phone) and we’ll come out and get you as soon as we can, or at the very least advise you on the best next step.
People are nice around here, as are most of the tourists who come to Tuscany. So it’s extremely common to have 3 or 4 cars stop and offer help. Don’t be afraid to accept. You can pay them back with a good bottle of wine.
If you have a medical emergency, don’t muck about: phone 118 and ask for an ambulance. Your coordinates will be very helpful.