Why Choose CycleItalia
The profit any tour company makes is what is left over after the expenses like research and development, vehicle rentals, hotels, and meals have been paid. The initial pricing of your tour is largely determined by the services and amenities offered to the client as well as the cost of the R & D invested in the itinerary.
At CycleItalia we believe we offer an unparalleled range of services, care, food quality and everything else that goes into making your vacation an extraordinary adventure to remember, as well as a great value.
How? We’re careful shoppers. We look for places with an excellent quality/price ratio. It’s our feeling that once you’ve chosen CycleItalia, it’s our mission to spend your money carefully to provide the best possible experience and most convenience for you.
Some of the things we do to make you comfortable and your vacation more pleasurable are glossed over a bit in our literature because we believe that offering the best is the only way to run a business. We know no other way to do things.
Here are some things to consider when comparing CycleItalia to other tour operators.
Our groups are strictly limited to just seven guests. We arrive at an establishment more as an extended family than a tour group. Our hotel and restaurant partners appreciate this and often extend courtesies not available to groups of 20-40 guests. Our small group size also allows us to enjoy smaller, family-run hotels that simply will not cater to large tour groups.
All guided tours feature private shuttles from Malpensa to our HQ hotel in the Monferrato wine country. On a few tours you’re able to ride into or out of the HQ hotel to begin or end your tour while others require a transfer, again via private shuttle with your bike safely stored atop the van or car. Competing tours may boast about “not wasting your time with shuttles, etc.” but one way or another you have to get to the riding area or their HQ hotel from the airport, so why not let us handle that for you? Dragging a bike box and your luggage onto a public bus or train after a trans-atlantic flight is no fun.
Once you’re on tour with us, we again provide all of your transportation. We insist on having a seat in one of our vehicles for every client. Why should you care about this? Many tours supply just one vehicle for groups of 10-20 cyclists. This saves a lot of expense for them but what about convenience for you? They’ll quite often have a staff member on a bike with you but that’s not much help if you have a mechanical problem or minor injury. What if it starts raining and you don’t enjoy cycling in the rain? Our vehicles are always close by (though not like the broom wagon at the Tour de France). What about a hotel transfer day and you’re just too pooped to pop? With us you’re always welcome to ride in the van for whatever distance you choose, there’s never any pressure to get on your bike for any reason.
We pride ourselves on what’s been called the best support in the business. Each day one of us drives the van while the other rides with you. We’re in constant contact via cell-phone. Each guest has the option of a “day-bag” in the van. This way you can ride with just your windbreaker and arm warmers in your back pocket. If the weather turns bad we’ll come looking for you and we always wait at the top of the climb to allow you to retrieve your extra clothes if you need them. The van sweeps back and forth on the route until the last cyclist is within a few kilometers of our hotel. Luggage (on hotel transfer days) usually arrives at a new destination by 4 pm, leaving you plenty of time to check-in and relax before our evening briefing.
Heather is fluent in Italian and has more than 25 years experience leading high-performance bicycle tours while Larry speaks basic Italian (and might fool you into thinking he’s fluent) and shares the same level of experience in the industry. We accompany every guided tour. There are no other employees. Our only mission is to make sure you enjoy la dolce vita in bicicletta and our response to a special request is more often than not, perche no? (why not?)
We’re both avid cyclists and ex-racers. Pedala forte (ride hard) is not just a slogan. We know what makes a great, challenging ride and how to find it. We spend at least two on-site research days, (driving, mapping and cycling) for each day of a tour, usually more. This comes after countless hours of pre-tour planning at our office with maps and Italian-language guide books. Designing quality, high-performance cycling tours is not rocket science. It takes experience, dedication, research, on-site work and passion for cycling and cyclists. Our never ending question about everything we do is, “Would WE like to do this if we were guests on this tour?”
We also know food and wine. Mangia bene (eat well) is not just a slogan either. In partnership with SlowFood we seek out eateries with famed local or regional cooking. Quite often we enjoy a wine produced from a vineyard we can see from the window of the ristorante.
Larry is a USA Cycling and Campagnolo certified mechanic and we carry a complete professional tool kit with us at all times on tour. There’s always a back-up tool kit (as well as a floor pump) for your use at any time. We travel with an extensive spare parts kit and spare wheel set as well.
A Complete Vacation
CycleItalia tours provide almost everything, including wine selections with group dinners. We provide all of your lodging from your arrival day until the morning of your departure. Competing tours may end at the company’s HQ hotel at 6 in the evening. You’ll find it almost impossible to schedule an airline departure at that time so you could be stuck paying for an extra hotel night, often at a pricey airport hotel. With CycleItalia, after you’ve reserved your space all you need is an airline ticket and some spending money. What for? See below.
What’s NOT Included?
Airfare. We allow you to decide the best way to get to Italy. Cash in your mileage points or combine your vacation with work in Europe, it’s your choice.
Lunch. We leave lunch open for you. Most will join us for a sit-down pranzo while others will opt for a quick snack and continue down the road.
Dinner on “open” nights. Selected nights (quite often the second night at the same hotel) are left open to allow you to explore the local eateries. You’re always welcome to join us but there’s no pressure to join in if you’d prefer a more quiet, private dinner.
Bicycles. We now offer “Pro-quality bike” rentals at a very reasonable price. If for any reason you decide bringing your own bike to Italy is not convenient we have a small fleet of Italian, Campagnolo-equipped bicycles available for use during our tours.
We keep snacks and water in the vehicles at all times but souvenirs, bar stops, grocery store visits, laundry, travel insurance, etc. are at your own expense.
We have nothing to hide. We’re proud of our tours. We offer detailed itineraries on our website, complete with elevation profiles, hotel names and ride descriptions. In addition we feature a hotel links page, allowing you to visit the websites of our partner hotels (where available). Our comments page features actual quotes from past clients. We’re happy to provide references from past guests (usually via email) so you can find out for yourself if pedala forte, mangia bene with CycleItalia is right for you.