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Cycling in the Chianti

  • Cycling in the Chianti

    There is a Disneyfied notion of cycling `Chiantishire’: you cycle aimlessly along and fall from one gorgeous wine estate to the another until, too intoxicated to go further, you fall asleep in a gentle olive grove. Think again: this is far from the real Chianti. The reality is tougher and features far less wine but also no snoozing under olive trees. Why would you not sleep in your lovely villa? The other bad news is that the food at local inns is so good that despite all your exertions, you are unlikely to lose weight. But on the plus side, Chianti cycling is one of the highlights of the region, if you are reasonably fit. It’s about cycling through rolling countryside, olive groves and medieval villages. It’s about enjoying the solitude, though when you meet the locals, they’re usually incredibly friendly.

    The Chianti trails may look like a walk in the park compared with cycling in the lofty Dolomites or the Alps - but think again. While the Chianti’s lack of those steep, long climbs can disappoint cyclists, never under-estimate the toughness of the Chianti trails, if toughness is what you want. Not just do the roads twist and roll, but so does the changeable weather. This is especially true when you’re on unpaved roads, the famous rough gravel tracks known as “strade bianche.” This is the real Chianti, when it’s about you facing your fortune, facing every gruelling twist and turn.

    The Chianti has produced tough cycling legends such as Gino Bartoli, Mario Cipollini and Fiorenzo Magni. But if you’d rather relax and not become a legend then book a cycling tour through a local operator. For tougher cycling trails, ideally choose to go in spring or early autumn. See more cycling suggestions in our other Chianti guides, accessed through our Destinations listings.
    Easy to more challenging day-long tours from Greve, Radda, Panzano and Gaiole
    Discovery Chianti cycling tours:
    Tel: : (+39) 328 6124658
    Web: www. discoverychianti.com

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