Summary and Conclusions

Planning and Preparation

On a cycling and hiking trip detailed maps are essential. One can always obtain city or village maps from the local tourist office, however not detailed regional maps. We managed to find all the maps we needed from Omni Resources, including a 1:50,000 hiking map of Cinque Terre, and a 1:200,000 Touring Club Italiano map of Tuscany.

The only bicyling touring book that we could find covering this region is "Europe by Bike", by Karen & Terry Whitehill (The Mountaineers, 2nd Edition, 1993). Their tour 16 across Italy, from Ancona to Genoa includes the area we were interested in.

Other tour books that we found useful are "Florencewalks" by Anne Holler (Henry Holt, 1993) - an out of print book that we kept borrowing from the Athens Public Library, "Europe Through the Back Door 1998" by Rick Steves (John Muir), and "Tuscany" by Damien Simonis (Lonely Planet, 2000).

Finally the two lodging guides that I mentioned previously: "Lodging in Italy's Monasteries" by Eileen Barish, and "Bed and Blessings" by June and Anne Walsh. "Bed and Blessings is particularly useful in that there is a locator map shown for every one of the lodgings listed.

In Rome on Arrival

Italy is a wonderful and exciting place to tour, and Rome is magnificent, but - you must take some precautions:

Travelling with Bikes

After two major tours we find our Grasshopper bikes are very comfortable, but in spite of being able to pack them in duffle bags and submit them as items of luggage, it is still not trouble free. On this trip I spent four hours packing and protecting the bikes for the trip back - and I paid particular attention to Nili's bike. When we arrived in the States Nili's bike had been lost - and when we finally received it, it was as though someone had purposely tried to destroy it - even though it had a "fragile" label on it. Some 5/16" steel rods were bent, it was sratched and dented and took me about a week to return to rideable condition. We don't know what the answer is. I am redesigning the bikes to be much lighter (my goal is 20 lbs each) and Nili is determined to attempt to submit her bike as is - everything exposed - so that they can see it is a bike as opposed to an anonimous heavy duffle bag to be tossed. We'll let you know how we fare in next year's trip - Genoa to Tolouse? Maybe...

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