Guide to Cycling In Tuscany

Discover Tuscany by bike – but not until you read this insider tip! Why not make your life easy by signing up for one of our Tuscany tours for cyclists?

Looking to add a little fitness to your next vacation? If you’re traveling to Tuscany, that’s a great idea – while ambrosial, the food of the region is known directly from lip to hip!

If cycling attacks your luxury, you may have thought about pedaling through Tuscany, where the scenery couldn’t be more beautiful. Over the centuries, countless walking trails have been laid throughout the area, which means that you will have many interesting options to choose from. But how do you choose a trail? And how do you prepare for your athletic endeavors?

After more than a decade of living and cycling in this beautiful region, I have known the area’s winding roads like the back of my hand. To get a glimpse of Tuscany’s most interesting and varied, a tour is – in my experience – your best bet, especially if you’re pressed for time. Here’s how to prepare for your visit – and what you can expect to find.

Where to Go

While it is possible to cycle along the coast or through the mountainous region of Garfagnana, I always recommend the Chianti region, whose rolling hills, tranquil forests and stunning vineyards and olive groves allow you to fully immerse yourself in nature. Most of these trails are easy to fairly challenging, but there are also more challenging stretches, such as those in and around the Gaiole, which are perfect for advanced cyclists.

However, no matter your proficiency level, you’re in for an amazing outing – and that’s not a reflection of your fitness level! The views of the classic Tuscan countryside, which surround you at all times, are exquisite. If you want to pedal through the Tuscany countryside, a tour with an experienced and local guide is your best bet.

Get ready for the Pedals

While you don’t have to be a professional to get through the winding roads of rural Italy, it is helpful – and recommended – to have a good understanding of the basics of cycling. Luckily, you don’t need to leave this page for some insider tips. This is what I learned while cycling through Tuscany.

Always wear a helmet. This may sound obvious, but it is an absolute must.
Know how to brake. I have found that it is generally best to use your hand brake. If you need to stop quickly and / or unexpectedly, press the brake and move towards the rear of the saddle to prevent it from falling over your handlebars. Be careful when you descend: instead of cruising, be sure to apply the brakes lightly at regular intervals.
Dress appropriately. Make sure you wear sports clothing that won’t irritate your skin, such as leggings and sneakers that are comfortable and closed.
Take care of your muscles. To avoid charley horses and general discomfort, try to pedal consistently – even when you’re going down (albeit softer). This prevents lactic acid buildup, which causes muscle tenderness.
Shift gears. If you own (or rent) a bike with gears, be gentle on your knees by regularly shifting into lower gears. It will be easier on your knees – not to mention that you will pedal faster and burn more calories!
Listen to Your Guide

While the five tips above are very important, listening to your guide is the most significant piece of advice I can give you. If you choose a guided cycling tour of Tuscany, a tour led by a reputable guide will help you get around safely and comfortably. What’s more, you’ll be sure to learn a thing or two about the area.

If safety, fun, and a varied agenda set great bike rides in your mind, one of our favorite Tuscany tours – The Original Tuscany Bike Tour – might just be up your alley. As well as gliding through the most picturesque parts of the region, our expert guides will take you to wine and olive oil tasting and offer you exclusive glimpses of Renaissance villas and royal hunting cottages. Ready, set, bike!

Jim Barker