Cycle holiday in Italy - Help required

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Richmc, 11 May 2008.

  1. Richmc

    Richmc New Member

    Can anyone help us on info regarding holidays to Italy.

    We are both fairly new to cycling but can manage 50miles a day fairly easily, though Sarah struggles a little with big hills :blush:

    We didn't want to cart our bikes there so wanted to hire/rent some but not some old jalopy like we ended up with recently in Lanzarote.

    Any help on time of year, location / tour operator or insider info would be really appreciated.

    Hope someone can help.

    Much thanks in anticipation.
  2. mcr

    mcr Veteran

    North Bucks
    Not cheap - and I have no experience of using them (just kept them as a favourite from some earlier googling on the same subject) - but this might help:
  3. jags

    jags Veteran

    spain is far better better roads better food people much more friendly
    cycled italy last year sorry but just dident like it
  4. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    I lurve cycling in Italy, friendly people, superb food..... Viva la differenza as we say in Italia!!;)

    Richmc, are you wanting to tour or a single base with day rides? With a group or on your own?
  5. OP

    Richmc New Member

    Wanted to tour, but not cart all our clothes etc about too much. don't mind about whether it's with a group, we were looking for something that didn't cost over £1000 for 8 days as some we have seen do.
  6. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

  7. Speicher

    Speicher Vice Admiral Moderator

    Has anyone tried the Bikehotel in Riccione, Italy?

    I have asked this before, but a long time ago, and lots of new people have joined since then.
  8. Stick on a Giant

    Stick on a Giant New Member

    I've stayed at the Hotel Belvedere in Riccione a few years ago and thoroughly recommend it. Not touring obviously, but they have, I think, De Rosa's as the hire bikes - would still recommend taking your own saddle as well as pedals.
  9. Speicher

    Speicher Vice Admiral Moderator

    Sorry to take so long to acknowledge your reply. It looks on the website like a very pleasant hotel, with things to do other than cycling every day.
  10. Riccione bikehotels is about a dozen different hotels, obviously they've got together and decided they can get full outside the Summer season by offering cyclists deals.

    Register for info there and you'll get bombarded with emails from the different hotels, in various levels of professionalism and different levels of Italo-English. Difficult to pick and choose between them, but they all seem very enthusiastic and geared-up for cyclists.

    We're off to Hotel Dory - tomorrow !

    Will post back how we get on, but on-paper it looks great.
    • Guided rides, four different speed/groups, so I can go out with the hammerheads but Mrs wrx can go out with a more social group.
    • Bike hire, come-out-and-get-you service in case of mechanical or accident.
    • All inclusive at excellent prices - it's half-board, but they give you snacks in the morning for on the bike and then there's a buffet by the pool for when you come back; beer, wine, soft-drinks included with dinner (not that I'll drink that much if I'm cycling the day after...).
    • Hotel, pool, spa, etc.
  11. OP

    Richmc New Member

    That looks great Andy, can't wait to hear how you got on. Not too expensive either compared to other companies that are offering what appear less appealing packages in Italy.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
  12. Hi Rich.

    Have to say I really recommend Hotel Dory, we are thinking of going back again next year.

    The hotel is pretty good, the room perhaps best described as very adequate rather than a luxurious suite, but the staff were very helpful and friendly - all pretty motivated, good atmosphere.

    The food was seriously superb (and so much of it ! you could easily gain weight...)
    It's a 'super half-board' price, meaning you get breakfast and dinner, but you get bananas and ham/cheese rolls to take on the bike, then at 2pm there's a buffet for cyclists when you return - basically some pasta plus salads & meats, cakes, etc left-over from lunch.
    Soft drinks and coffee are included at the bar, as is wine/beer/water with dinner in the restaurant, so other than on the rest day when we ate lunch out, we only spent money on a few beers/wine at the bar, plus a few coffees, drinks and ice-creams out.
    No unexpected extras - we paid for the hotel room, a few drinks and bike hire, no other unplanned things to bump the price up.
    They were a bit slow replying to emails before we went, but I think that was just inefficiency/language-issues at reception, things worked very slickly whilst we were there.

    The whole place is very bike-orientated - 5 organised day rides a week, hire bikes (carbon Scott CR1's - well maintained), laundry for bike kit (laundry's free, but you need to buy a laundry bag for €8).
    The bike guides were pretty good, knew decent routes, very picturesque and light traffic - but the standard of Italian driving is sooo much better towards cyclists anyway. The coastline is built-up, you can cycle inland and quickly get into the countryside
    The hotel owner, Stefano, goes out once a week in one of the groups and we bumped into him out riding another day.

    The hotel's in the centre of town, it only has a very small pool but it's 200m from the beach, or go 50m the other way and onto a pedestrian street with lots of shops & restaurants, etc.
    Pretty busy when we got there (Italian bank holiday weekend), but then quietened-down a lot as soon as the weekend was over.
    So not a quiet secluded rural location, it's right in the middle of town and handy for all facilities, but it's not that busy or noisy and Riccione is a fairly stylish resort.

    The only problem was the timing - which will affect you even more as you're going later.
    The main cycling weeks are in Spring or Autumn, people don't tend to go in high Summer.
    The week before us, last week in May, they were running three bike groups, different speeds, each with about 12-15 people.
    But it's getting to the end of the bike season, moving over towards mainstream 'summer holidays', so last week there were only two groups with perhaps 10 in each at the start of the week, but then by Friday I was out on my own with the guide as the 'faster group' and there were 5 in the slower group.

    (BTW, the bike weeks are organised Sat -> Friday, with welcome/intro talk on the Saturday, rides Sun/Mon/Tue/Thurs/Fri, day-off Weds, then a week-ending photo show and prize thing on the Friday evening
    - but due to flights and so on, people were arriving/departing at different times all week and most people didn't do Sat->Fri : not a problem, you'd just need to ask what's going on and go with the flow)

    With only two groups, due to less people, there's less choices of speed.
    I was happy in the faster group, but my wife felt that the slower group was a bit too fast for her and there was another woman in there who was being dragged along a bit, but there were also others in that group who were unhappy that it was too slow for them and were muttering. Fortunately they left early in the week and it settled down to an easier pace, with the faster people willing to wait at the tops of hills and to stop for coffee and a chat a couple of times.
    The guide Edi was very good with the slower group, patient and helpful, setting a pace everyone could manage, helping and encouraging on the hills. The other guide Drelli was a bit less so, whereas Bartolo in my faster group just put his head down, which was fine in the faster group.

    Do be aware though that it is a cycling holiday - even the slower 'borghe & castille' group were doing 40-50 miles a day and the 'visits to castles' the website talks about consisted of riding by and pointing at them ! The faster 'cappucino super' group was a 60-70m hilly training ride, no stopping for photos or sightseeing.
    But all the days are optional of course, you could do some and drop out of others, or get a bikeroute map and do your own thing.

    Having re-read this, I hope I don't put you off, we had a really good time.
    The hotel's great, the food and staff super.
    But it is a cycling holiday rather than a bit of gentle sightseeing on a bike is all I'm trying to say.

    There was the definite impression that cycling was winding down for more 'summer holiday' emphasis, but while we were actually there they sent an email flyer saying
    so it looks like things are still planned to be on, even though it's now down to 3 guided rides a week and two groups, plus the sailboat and trekking, whatever that means !

    Up to you. We'll probably go back again.

    Regards, Andy
  13. bigjim

    bigjim Guru

    Manchester. UK
    All of these called cycling holidays seem to be pretty expensive to me. especially if they are from a fixed base. I've found it cheaper to book an all inclusive hotel plus hire car for a week. As much good food as I wish when I want it and the convenience of throwing the bike in the back of the car to explore further afield. A good michelin map helps. Two of us had a week in Mallorca full board in March for £420 total including flights and car hire.

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