We learned late in 2017 that a friend of ours was organizing a commercial bike tour in Italy on behalf of the Cyclists for Cultural Exchange. Well, you had us at “bike tour in Italy,” but we also had enjoyed CCE’s Strawberry Fields Forever ride a number of times, and our good friends Nathan and Grace were already signed up for the trip. So we joined in, and invited another pair of good friends, Dave and April, who’d we’d ridden with a number of times before, including in Italy back in 2012. Then Dave and April invited Steven and Ralph, who we’d ridden with in Croatia last year, and also Kathleen, another mutual friend. And we randomly shared all of this with our friend Dian, who ridden with us and Dave and April from Portland to Missoula. Dian is a school teacher and we expected she’d be unable to come on the trip in late September, but it turned out she was in the process of retiring, and she and her wife Janet were also interested.
So, we were going to know a ton of people on the trip! And it was going to be huge. By the time the trip neared, 40 people were signed up. And while I visited many places near the route, almost all of it would be new to me (except for Venice and Florence). It would be sort of a natural extension of the trip we’d done with Dave and April from Bolzano to Venice.
And there’d be prosciutto, gelato, and wine. It was a supported lodging tour so the whole thing would be pretty deluxe. And unlike the trip from Bolzano to Venice, we’d get some real climbing in, so everyone would be happy at some point.