Fitness Check

Please read on below the chart to fully understand how to prepare for your tour:

Rating Description Miles/Day Feet of Climbing/Day Avg. Miles/Week
1 PIG TOUR A short flat tour with most bike tour companies. While we do have 1-pig days, we don’t offer any trips that average out to a 1-pig rating. 30-50 1000-5000 250
2 PIG TOUR Plenty of hills. Some long, others steep. Non-regrettable for our standard ride-ready client. 35-65 3000-7000 320
3 PIG TOUR Where we all want to be. One or two long days with hills. Good fitness required but no heroics needed. On the long days our follow- vans are pleased to get some company. 40-85 5000-9000 360
4 PIG TOUR Big hills, big miles, mountains likely. Stay tuned. 50-100 6000-10000 360+
5 PIG TOUR As serious as it gets. Famous mountain passes galore, be FIT and ready for pain and huge satisfaction.

General Guidelines

All of our trips are designed to satisfy experienced riders. Two-pigs are for less fit or newer riders. Three-pig tours are for fit cyclists comfortable with riding hilly terrain almost every day. Four-pig tours are for very experienced riders who are comfortable riding mountain passes and demanding descents all day, every day.

We want everyone to come on a tour that is right for their abilities and we do our best to steer you toward one we think will work well for you.

We cannot, however, determine your riding fitness without your help, which is why we encourage you to read the following information and answer our questions fully on the booking form. We ask you about your past riding experiences and make it obvious how hard the trips are.

For more than a decade of enjoying riding in Tuscany with thousands of guests, we have seen youths in their 70’s ride within their limits, and we have suffered the spectacle of people half that age on fancy racing bikes feeling very uncomfortable and disappointed about their physical condition.

In general we can refer to three factors that indicate how a guest will enjoy the physical demands of the rides we offer:

  1. Cycling fitness going into the trip (Got miles?)
  2. Past cycling experience (Have you been riding consistently for over 3 years?)
  3. Present physical condition (How’s your power to weight ratio?)

If anyone lacks one of these elements they should be aware. For example if Winston tells us “I love riding and nearly raced in college ten years ago, watch every minute of the Tour on TV, and I live for Ben and Jerry’s Tourmalet Crunch Bombs”. We love his enthusiasm, but if he happens to weigh 50 lbs more than he did when he trained and doesn’t get out much on his bike, a 2-pig tour is the most appropriate. He will still need to get in some miles before coming over (see our Training Guide below for specifics).
One of our favorite guests was 67, never stopped smiling, was missing a lung, and would be one of the last riders on the hills, but was never uncomfortable due to good riding fitness. Not to mention his attitude.
Age doesn’t seem to matter much to cyclists. Weight does on all the hills we will ride. Some of our happiest guests weigh more than they’d like. But they ride regularly, and have a good time. Guests who ride little and weigh a lot are putting a lot of demands on their bodies and on everyone’s humors on our long days.

Beginners

Beginners should go on our 2-pig trips. Three-pig trips are challenging for experienced riders. If you are a beginner and you want to do all the rides BUT have never cycled on hilly terrain, we will suggest a training program (below). We will also ask for your cooperation in knowing when to hop in our follow van, so that our trips may run as smoothly as possible for all. We aren’t looking for heroes on our rides and deeply appreciate cooperative people with great attitudes.

Training Guide

To participate in a Cinghiale tour, please ride for a MINIMUM of:

  • 6-10 weeks consistently immediately before your tour
  • 100+ miles per week. More for a 3 pig trip
  • At least one hilly ride per week, or as many hills as you can find
  • At least one ride per week with other people to get used to riding in a group
  • Again, this is a MINIMUM training guide in order to not feel overwhelmed by the terrain. If you follow this guide you should be just fine on a 2-pig tour. Any riding you do above and beyond this will give you that much more leeway to enjoy the hills comfortably.

You must meet the minimum requirements for basic cycling fitness outlined in our Training Guide in order to participate in full. You are welcome to ride only part of the miles, but you must have at least this much training, for your own sake and ours.

Racers

If you are a racer, we welcome you on our trips. However, let us know if you are hoping to “race” this tour, as we tend to stop and smell the espresso on our trips. We love strong riders and provide oodles of challenging miles, but we run courteous trips and take care of everyone, and we expect all our guests to be considerate of slower riders, too.

Non-riders

We often book couples where one person rides and the other does not. Non-riders need to have a spirit of adventure, be willing to follow along in our follow van for part of the time, and/or help us arrange alternative activities for you. We can help you rent a SmartCar or a scooter and get you to train stations. Our non-riding guests have a great time exploring on their own or in small groups, then meeting with the main group for meals, planned outings, and to swap adventures.

Guides

We have a number of friendly and skilled guides riding on every trip to accompany riders of all reasonable speeds. For the smooth running of the ride as a whole, we need all riders to be able to keep up with one of the groups comfortably, and to know when to get in the van if necessary. We will help all riders get to our destinations, but as a group. We ask that all riders realize that the guides are there to keep the groups moving along, and not for individual coaching. Come fit, with a good attitude! It’s the best way to ensure a pleasant riding experience for all.

Support

All trips are fully supported by a follow-van driven by a mechanic and stocked with food, water, and a first-aid kit.

For safety’s sake you must be self-sufficient in changing your own flats, but we will help you whenever possible.

While the van is not a taxi for unmotivated riders, it is there for you to take a ride when you are exhausted or feeling out of your depth, or if you decide to do only part of a ride.

The rides need to move along at a reasonable speed in the conditions of that day. This will be determined by Andy. For the sake of the group getting to our destination we may ask a slow-moving rider to travel in the follow van if they are delaying the rest of the group. This is needed primarily for the long days on any trip.

On the long days of the three-pig trips, we frequently offer our slower riders the opportunity of a rest day in the second van that goes ahead to the next hotel. This asks flexibility from our guests.

Bikes

Most of our clients bring their own bikes, but an increasing number opt to rent from our great local shop, which stocks a very nice fleet of road bikes.

Some of our clients have Hampsten travel bikes or custom bikes built especially for them and have a great time riding their new machines on our trips.

Our happiest repeat clients go whole hog and set up a fitting for a custom Hampsten bike. The hot tip for today’s traveler is the stunning titanium Strada Bianca model with break-away couplers so the whole bike fits into a regulation suitcase, thus eliminating all travel hassles with the airlines.

Talk to Steve at www.hampsten.com

Gears

Bear in mind a road bike with generous gears is preferred. We have never had a guest regret riding a triple or compact crank on our tours. If you rent, all rental bikes come equipped with compact cranks.

Trip Length

Most of our tours are nine days long unless otherwise noted. The ninth day is a non-riding travel day, with eight days of riding and one optional rest day in the middle.

Extra Miles/Shorter Miles

Extra miles are possible on all trips. We often take a fitter group on an extra loop on days when we have the time.

Ride Policy

Cinghiale Tours operates with care and consideration for every rider. We are not a race-to-the-next-town, leave-em-in-the-dust kind of tour company, but make sure everyone is accounted for and supported and having a good time. Getting to the next town isn’t our main goal. Rather, we aim to ride at a relaxing pace in good company with other cyclists who also appreciate fine company and camaraderie.

A note from Andy about what to expect on our tours

“Everyone who comes on our trips has a great time. However, some folks take a look at the hills and ask “What’s that?” or “Does a road actually go over that hill?” and then, “WE don’t, do we??”.

These reactions can be nasty surprises for everyone. The riders who are ready to ride hilly routes have a better time than the less-prepared guests.

We want guests to join us that are fit enough to enjoy a cycling holiday in the varying Italian terrain. Our tours take place in areas renowned for their spectacular sights and rolling vistas. In other words “it ain’t Kansas and yes, we will have to climb all those hills.”

And now, the good news:

“The great news is the roads we will take are almost as old as the hill themselves. Engineers will know that means the roads are graded for low horse-powered carts and beasts, starting in Roman times.

With the superior pavement that we will find covering these ancient grades our bikes will thrive on the gentle grades that comprise 95% of our routes. Most of the time we will be riding on 5% to 8% grades. Easy as pasta.”

– Andy

…and yes, Andy rides 100% of every mile on every tour.

The Fine Print

All participants must sign our liability agreement and medical forms.
Helmets are required on all rides.
You must ride safely and within your limits.
No littering.

Tours for the fit and fun.

Inquire about reservations or book a tour.