I’ll never forget the first time I took a bike tour in Tuscany. It was spring, that time of the year when poppies dot the winding country roads and the vineyards extend verdant and voluptuous over the gentle hills. The long, winding roads, the herculean effort on the uphill stretches that seem to last an eternity, the joy (and relief!) upon finally reaching the top of the ridge, blessed with a cool breeze that I basked in.
Taking a bike ride in Tuscany stimulates the senses. The quietude, at first unsettling, rapidly becomes the norm, a reassuring caress of silence. Jasmine, broom and wild garlic fill the air, scents of the spring advancing into the summer. That feeling of control that wavers into the daring on steep downhill descents, the grip of your bike wheels on the Tuscan tarmac and the handlebars in your hands: the adrenaline is like no other.
Even your sense of taste is challenged by the award-winning wineries you visit along the way. On a recent bike tour with Florencetown, I joined a small enthusiastic and energetic group to pedal to two of Tuscany’s loveliest wine estates, Castello San Polo and Ruffino’s Poggio Casciano. Totally different in their settings and approach: our collective thirst was quenched by authentic winemaking, from modern techniques to 100% organic production. Then, there’s the taste experience of lunch: a fulfilling break with traditional local fare, from antipasti to homemade pasta, summer fruit and grandmother’s baking.
I have a theory about why bike tours are so popular in Tuscany. Certainly, it’s thanks to the dreamlike scenery, the climbs and the descents, the pleasure and the pain. But it’s most of all it’s because of the all-round stimulation of the senses.