Friday, October 14, 2016

SLOW TRAVEL...SEEING EUROPE BY BIKE

I began cycling in Europe in 2002 with my son-in-law Stan. We were following some of the routes of the Tour de France. There was just something exciting and transformative about seeing a place by bike. The flexibility to stop for a coffee, a quick bite, or to visit a wonderful church is easy when you are riding. I was immediately hooked! I took this shot of Lac Annecy whiling riding up the mountain toward "Semnoz."


"I made it!" The ride back down to the lake was exhilarating!


Without bike trips I probably would never have visited beautiful Annecy. I found it to be the perfect area for riding and have been back three times. I love all the flowers around town.


Riding outside of Lac Annecy I found the 12th century "Menthon-Saint-Bernard" castle.


I must share a secret with you; "I chose bike trips for the great routes,....AND,....for fine wine! I was riding through the town of Barbaresco in Italy's Piedmont region and had to stop for a tasting. I love the wines from this region!


Decisions....decisions. I headed straight up the hill toward Crissolo in Northern Italy.


My son-in-law Ray and I decided on a trip to ride the famous climbs made famous by the Tour de France. We stopped on the summit of the category 1, Col du Telegraphe, for a quick lunch provided by our bike tour company.


It got totally serious after lunch as we labored up the road toward the hors categorie (Beyond classification) Col du Galibier. I've climbed it twice and I have always suffered especially the year when we had frozen rain at the summit!


I dipped into Switzerland for a few miles while riding in Italy.


I found ancient villages while riding through coastal Tuscany with hardly a person in sight!



I really enjoyed riding up to the fabulous hill town of Montepulciano in Tuscany. The  eight "contrada", or districts, compete in a wine barrel race, "Il Bravio delle Botti, up the very steep streets. This event goes back to the 14th century.

Time for a break. Sometimes it is nice just to stop and feel the vibe and pace of a town.

One of the more interesting bike discoveries was with my friend Philippe. We were riding in the French Languedoc region and came upon the ancient tiny village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert.

Philippe and I head up the narrow street to explore the town and visit the ancient church.

While riding in Italy's "Lake region",  I came around a turn and saw this view of Lake Como and the town of Bellagio in the distance.


Tuscany offers one amazingly beautiful surprise after another. Pienza is a wonderful medieval town and worth a stopover. The amazing "Val d'Orchia" is behind me.


The beautiful town of Assisi in Umbria, is very interesting and the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi is a must.


I would love to do another bike trip next year, either with a group or "self-guided." This image is one of the amazing roads on the island of Mallorca. "Hmmm...this looks really exciting!"  Who wants to join us?

***I recommend Experience Plus for European cycling tours as their routes, guides, food and wine, are first rate! If you have any questions please let me know as I love to share from my travel experiences over the years.

2 comments :

  1. Dick,
    As usual, you've really done a nice job of telling us and showing us your adventures. Love the pictures! some of those roads are looking like a "heart attack waiting to happen". I hope someday you write & publish a big coffee table picture book about your best adventures abroad. Keep up the great work and keep telling us about it!

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