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  1. #1
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    Anyone biked in Tuscany

    Been to Tuscany many times, but never with a bike. Extensive driving has shown the existence of beautiful biking option complete with insane climbs.
    Has anyone ever biked in the area?
    Better question might be, for an average (read: very average) climber, what gears should I use to tackle lengthy and steep hills. I run a 50/34 in front, and was considering going as big as 32 in the back. I currently run 11-25 and find myself often in the 25 when going up moderate climbs.

  2. #2
    Bianchi-Campagnolo
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    Yup, they don't bother putting up signs unless the gradient goes above 15%. On the other hand climbs ar seldom longer than 5k.

    When I was down there a couple of years ago I had 34x25 as my shortest gear, but I would probably have loved it even more with a 12-29 (I'm on Campagnolo) in the back, mainly because our rides were in the early morning after generous helpings of the local wine the night before.
    They do anything just to win a salami in ridiculous races. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me. It was the illest of times, it was the dopest of times. And we looked damn good. Actually the autobus broke down somewhere on the Mortirolo.

  3. #3
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    edt12b32,

    I did the Bike Across Italy trip in July, 1997 with Ciclismo Classico (Homepage - Ciclismo Classico) with 53x39 front and 12x23 rear 9 speed. Doable when I was younger. Now I would go with a compact front + 12x27 rear.

    Have a great time.
    ALC12: Matthew - 7 Day 545 mile cycling event from San Francisco to Life to Support HIV/AIDS Services

    Bike: Merlin Custom ExtraLight, Enve 1.0 fork, Pacenti SL23 rims with navy blue Chris King hubs & matching spoke nipples, dual King Ti Cages, Zipp - Contour SL

    For everything else: upgrades in progress, so suggestions gladly accepted :)
    Shimano Dura-Ace 7800 9 speed

  4. #4
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    Get the 32, or a 34 if it will fit. Remember this is medieval country. The towns are all on the top of the ridge line.

    Your day will look like this: Down from town 1 into the valley, up to a pass and across into the next valley, down to the vally floor, 2 miles of flat, up to town 2 for lunch, down into and across the next valley, up to the ridge line, up and down along the ridge, then steep up to town 3. Exhausted. Repeat the next day.

    Luckily, there are busses and trains. Cheap travel. GOOD FOOD.

  5. #5
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    No, but I WANT to!

  6. #6
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    I like to make a distinction between doable and desirable. My default gearing for general riding in areas with significant hills is a 34/50 crank and 11/28 cassette. I'd rather err on gearing being too low than too high, but then I haven't ridden in Tuscany or even Italy.

  7. #7
    pmf
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    I did a week long tour in Tuscany with Andy Hampsten's group as part of my honeymoon in 2000. My wife and I had the standard 53x39 front with a 12-27 rear cassette. There were a few places where more gear would have been nice, but we both made it to the top of every hill. The terrain reminded me of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia near where I live. The "mountains" aren't that big, but the roads were built long ago before there was grading, so they can tend to be steep (kind of like they are on the east Coast). I'd think a compact 50-34 front with a 27 or maybe 29 large cog would be plenty. Hell, go bigger if you want -- you can't ever have too much.

    That's a real nice place to ride. One of the guides said Tuscany is to biking what Maui is to surfing. We brought our own bikes -- that made it all the better. The roads are in great condition and the motorists are nice. We'd ride 50-60 miles from one village to the next every day. Get to the destination around lunch time, eat, explore the town, have dinner, go to bed and do it all over again the next day. After that, we flew to Sicily for a week.

    Best damn vacation I ever had.

  8. #8
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    i rode in southern tuscany last year- a 7 day self-guided trip in the Maremma from Pienza to Orbetello. We did about 50-75 km a day, and Trek's description of an average day is about right. But only a few of the hills were very steep (over 8-9%). I had a compact with 12-28, same as I ride in SF bay area, and it was fine for me.
    The scenery, food and roads were great, weather in mid-June was warm to almost too warm. I recommend that area instead of the more popular northern Tuscany- rural, much less traffic and tourists, and still much to see and enjoy.
    Halt! Do not post all threads in the General Forum. Please post in the correct specific forum.

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