Bike touring in Italy is pretty awesome, regardless. It’s beautiful, the drivers are used to sharing road space, and the food is great. But I’m naturally critical, so I’m always considering what I might have done differently.
It was a short riding day, and started with a tour of Lucca, then a ride around the town walls again before started towards the end of our tour in Pisa. It was mostly fine riding on river paths, and some of us got some bonus riding for a swim in the Ligurian Sea.
We woke to clear skies and beautiful landscapes, enjoyed breakfast at the agriturismo, and headed off into the Tuscan hills. We were done with major climbs, but we would have some more rolling hills as we headed towards the coast. It was beautiful riding, and even better when a group of us broke off the front and took the last half at our own pace.
Nancy’s ankle was still tender, so we wanted to take it easy on our rest day. There was a group walking tour planned, but we decided to take it at our own pace. We found a great little pasticceria down the street, and walked around Firenze.
Ronta’s elevation is almost 400 meters, so people were enjoying the prospect of a big net elevation loss. Today wasn’t all downhill though; we had another ridge to get over, including a real climb of about 300 meters. But everyone liked the overall look of the elevation profile, and we all set out to do the whole ride. It was beautiful, with nice riding and views of the Tuscan hills.
Today we’d be riding into the hills we’d seen off in the distance yesterday, and eventually climb over the Apennines into Tuscany. This would be a real climb, near 1000m total, but it parallels a train line, so those who didn’t feel like going over the mountain could take the train the whole way, or take advantage of one of the train stations along the way to bail out. For me, this was the awesome day.
Today would be our longest day day; still entirely flat, but close to 100km total. Nancy felt like she could do it, but we wanted to roll at a more regular pace than we had in the first couple of days. Dave suggested that our group of friends break off the front so we could go at our own pace; he and I are both comfortable leading groups and can handle mechanicals on our own. So we hatched a plan to break off at one of the rest stops.
On a lovely morning we rolled out of the agriturismo and back to the levees of the Adige River. It was nice starting with such an easy, pleasant ride, and I had a number of good conversations rolling along on the car-free paths. From there we turned south to the Po and Ferrara.