What does the price include?
- Eight nights’ accommodation
- Meals, including bottled water, wine, and gratuity
- (You may be on your own for 1-2 meals)
- Support vehicle with food, water and drinks
- Guide services
- Special events including museum fees, olive oil and wine tasting
- Transport from Pisa airport and back
- (subject to our schedule, see Travel Help for details)
- Luggage transfer to hotels on the route
What if I need to cancel?
We highly recommend that you buy travel insurance (if you bail, they pay). Cinghiale doesn’t sell it but a travel agent would help you, or go to www.insuremytrip.com .They make it so easy to buy peace of mind.
Cinghiale Tours Cancellation Policy
If you decide not to come or cannot come for any reason, the amount you have paid so far is fully refundable if you cancel up to 90 days before the first day of the trip. Cancellations after 90 days forfeit the whole amount paid. We do not overbook and strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance.
Visit www.InsureMyTrip.com for a comparison of travel insurance companies and available options
This site quotes a $4,000 trip coverage policy for between $113 and $300.
Are there daytime activities available for non-cycling companions while we are riding?
We often have non-riding guests join their riding companions on our tours, and we welcome their participation. We have many suggestions for things to do and places to go while we ride our bikes in the morning.
There is a great beach three miles away near Castagneto, horseback riding and mountain biking, hiking or walking trails. Art, archaeological sites, and shopping abound, and there is a train station nearby that will get you to larger towns if desired. We can also help you rent a SmartCar or a scooter. A spirit of adventure is an asset!
Please let us know what interests you and we will tailor an itinerary to suit you. Most days are set up with rides in the mornings and an after-lunch trip for the group in the afternoons.
As a non-rider do I get a discount?
No. It costs the same for us to feed and lodge you, and in addition we make special arrangements for you outside of our planned schedule, so the price is the same as for our riders.
Can I arrange a private tour?
Yes! We welcome private groups. Spring trips work best, and we need to begin planning with you at least year in advance. We need at least 24 guests to dedicate a trip. We can tailor trips to a variety of needs and desires.
My wife and I are both in pretty good shape. How challenging are the roads and your routes?
First, please check our Fitness Guide to give you an idea of what to expect. In general, if you do a fair bit of cycling in hilly terrain you will be fine.
Our longest day on our regular tours is 90 miles and includes lots of hills. Most of the days’ rides are between 30 and 40 miles but will always include hills. Not terribly steep ones, but 5% to 10% grades for between 3 and 6 miles (only 1 is 6 miles.) Usually 30% of our guests ride only half the miles on these extra long days.
How do the rides work in terms of speed?
We will have at least four guides every day and let the groups sort themselves out by ability and desire for each otherâ€™s company. In general there are three or four groups, each with at least one guide.
In practice the first hills separate the fit riders from the overly-caffeinated.
Most of the fun and jokes seem to come from the large middle group of relaxed riders riding at their own comfortable pace. If there are riders who want to go fast that is fine, but the emphasis of the week will be to enjoy the great riding, wonderful food and sights, relax with new riding partners and swap a few stories between new friends.
What if I want to do extra miles?
There will most likely be a good size group that wants to stretch their legs and go hard. The terrain here is hilly, so if it’s a good workout you want, then by setting a harder pace for yourself you will get it. We can also occasionally take a small group on a longer route.
Please note that while most rides get back by lunch, in the afternoons we have sights to visit and cultural events going on. You could skip out on your bike during these, but you’d miss a lot.
What if I am a slow rider?
Some potential guests are intimidated to join us, thinking “Everyone but me is going to be a racer”. Rest assured that is not the case!
We are honest about how hard the riding is, and we ask that all of our guests arrive ready for the challenging riding with at least three months of riding three times a week in their legs. If you meet these guidelines (detailed in the Fitness Check) but are still a slow, steady rider, we love you! Our slowest riders often have the best sense of humor, so the company is good. Steady riders with a good attitude are what we are looking for.
How many people come on an average trip and how many guides do you have per tour?
Trips average twenty+ guests. Two of our most enjoyable trips had 30 people. As in planning a good party, we look for a mix of interesting, fun folks.
The guide-to-guest ratio is one guide for every five or six guests. We have four guides leading different-paced groups each day. If there is a steep grade on a ride we regroup afterwards. We never leave anyone behind!
Our guides are all expert riders who have spent time living in the area and are very familiar with the terrain. They all speak Italian, or French in Corsica, and are very friendly.
How does the follow van work?
There will be room for our guests in the follow van. It is a very nice Mercedes minivan, and not a huge bus. That means on the long days those who cannot comfortably ride the distance will be transported half the distance, and the others who need a lift will complete the ride in the van. It is not a shuttle van for every hill we encounter.
On trips that move around we will also have a second van to get our luggage to the hotel before we arrive. This offers flexibility to guests who want to get to the next destination early.
Our van is driven by Gerardo or Riccardo Carpentieri from our favorite local bike shop. Veteran Cinghiale guests will tell you that these are no ordinary driversâ€¦anyone who spends time with them in the van is treated to not only expert driving and support but a pretty entertaining time.
What sort of gears should I bring?
We highly recommend triple chain rings, or what we call “Happy Gears” in honor of a sensible guest. We have yet to meet a client that regretted putting on a triple chainring set up. Compact cranks with generous gears in the rear also work wonderfully. For very experienced riders in great shape a 39-toothed chainring with a 25 in the back will deal with any steep hill we may encounter. For the rest of us we strongly recommend easier gears.
What time on the first day does the tour officially start?
All trips start at 1:00 for lunch and an introduction talk. Please arrive at our starting hotel in time for the beginning of the trip.
Who can help me book my air travel?
For airline tickets contact Heather Ross at The Travel Society. Heather is familiar with our tours and shines at helping folks avoid the hassle with airlines.
The Travel Society
3000 Center Green Drive, Suite 220
What is your Pisa airport shuttle schedule?
For trips beginning on a Saturday in Italy we have shuttle service as follows:
Please do not schedule return flights before 7:30 am.
What if I am arriving outside your shuttle times?
If your flight schedule is outside of our shuttle times we will help you to arrange transportation. Please be prepared to pay for your taxi if one is arranged.
How long is the drive from Pisa?
Drive time is approximately one hour door-to-door between Pisa and Castagneto.
How much does the shuttle cost?
The Cinghiale Shuttle for the above scheduled times is free.
What is your Corsica shuttle schedule?
For the Corsica trip we pick up only on Saturday and will arrange times with you; or, the airport is only a short cab ride to the hotel.
What can I do if I arrive in Pisa early and have to wait for your shuttle?
Best use of a Euro award: The #1 bus that comes right to the arrivals door in Pisa goes to the train station and to the â€œPiazza di Miracoliâ€ where the tower is, then brings you back to the airport to meet us and catch your shuttle. The Pisa airport has a luggage storage service at the information counter.
What can I do with my bike and bags if I want to travel in Italy before or after the tour?
The Pisa airport has a luggage storage service at the information counter. It is easy to fly into Pisa airport and leave your bags and bike there, catch a train to Florence, Rome or another great Italian city. You can also arrange with us to leave your bags at our starting hotel in Castagneto. Your hotel elsewhere may allow you to do so too. Ask when you book.
Should I come over early to beat the jet lag?
Arrive in Italy as soon as you can get away from work! While some folks arrive the first day of the tour, many guests come a few days early to visit cites like Pisa, Lucca, Florence or Rome, or simply to spend an extra night in our starting town of Castagneto Carducci. The extra time makes a big difference in helping you acclimate and enjoy the area. We are happy to give you suggestions for pre-tour rambling.
For instance, you could fly into Pisa airport, check your bike and perhaps a bag into the airport baggage storage facility, and take a train or bus directly from the airport to Florence or directly to our hotel in Castagneto.
What are the best flight routes into Pisa?
Milan’s expanded Malpensa airport now has flights to Pisa. British Air has some good connections to Pisa via London and uses larger planes that easily accept bicycles as luggage.
Lufthansa does a great job too; however, the flight from Munich to Pisa is a large prop plane and if you are traveling in a large group, it may not be able to hold more than ten bikes.
Rome is closer than Milan to Pisa and is the better option for visiting. The smart traveler will add a day or two in Rome as a fun way to see the city.
Hot Tip for Travel via Rome
BEWARE: The morning flights from Pisa to Rome use planes that may be too small to accept bicycles as baggage. In addition, these morning flights WILL NOT get you to Rome in time to catch a flight back to the States on the same day.
SOLUTION: Take an afternoon flight from Pisa to Rome, and plan to spend an extra night or two in Rome. Spending a couple of extra days to see Rome is an unforgettable way to end your Italian adventure, and you won’t have to stress about a full day of making connections.
When is the latest I can arrive?
Please arrive in the morning at our starting hotel on the first Saturday of the trip.
Lunch is at 1:00pm.
When is the last day of riding?
The last day of riding on most trips is the last Saturday. That night, there is a farewell dinner, and Sunday we transport you back to Pisa or help you get to your next destination.
When should I plan to depart?
Most guests leave during the day on Sunday. Of course if you can extend your stay in Italy we recommend it.
For the return, we will drive you to the Pisa airport on the last date of the trip (Sunday in most cases) for the early flights. (No flights before 7:30 please). We will also drop people off at the train station in Pisa or Castagneto if you wish to continue traveling in Italy.
Can you book me an extra night in our starting hotel?
Yes, we do provide this service. Just let travel coordinator, Keven Mowen
know what nights you need and he will arrange it for you.
I want to travel by train before the tour. How do I find train schedules?
Look at Italian train schedules at www.trenitalia.com.
Do I need to buy train tickets in advance?
No, it is not necessary to buy train tickets in advance. Simply purchase them at the time of travel.This is often done from a vending machine at the station. Be sure to validate your train ticket in a small yellow punch machine at the station.
Can I bring my bike on the train?
Yes, as long as it is not an express or Inter-Regional train (marked on the website with an emblem for no bicycles). Other trains do not necessarily have a baggage compartment; just haul your bike in its bike case onto the train car with you.
Can I ship my bike over?
The short answer is No. Due to customs red tape, it is very difficult to ship bikes to Italy and we absolutely do not allow bikes to be shipped in our name, as we will be charged an “import tax”. There is also no guarantee your bike will arrive in time for your trip. If you choose to ship anyway, FedEx and UPS both operate in Europe but beware: in Italy your favorite carrier will not have that good old American “can do” attitude.
Bringing your bike on the plane, while cumbersome, is a much better plan and can be made less cumbersome if you invest in an s&s-coupled travel-bike that fits into a squarish suitcase not much bigger than a standard size suitcase. Renting a great machine from our local shop is another option (see Bike Rentals).
What kind of weather can we expect to be riding in?
Weather should be summer-like with temperatures around 80Â° for the September and June trips, and in the 70’s for the May and October trips. The chance of rain will be slight but come prepared with a waterproof (not just windproof) rain jacket, a hat, and at least one change of warm riding clothes. In general a pair of arm and leg warmers will do and long tights are not usually needed.
What kind of clothing would be needed for cycling and non-cycling times?
We recommend cycling clothes during the daily rides and casual clothes during the evenings. Dining out in Tuscany is a commonplace and family event. Leave your ties at home as no formal clothes are required, just what you will feel comfortable in. Bring about four changes of riding clothes if you are good at keeping up with your washing. Rain jackets for the rides and walks are necessary, though we don’t often use them.
What shoes should I use for the tour?
We suggest using mountain-bike shoes for your tour. Great for walking on cobbles especially.
“Since I don’t race any longer I’ve switched to mountain-biking shoes. I use the Shimano SPD style road pedal and ‘Lake’ brand shoes that are tremendously comfortable and sacrifice nothing while riding, yet offer great walking/exploring capabilities and no clackity-clak when I walk.” – Andy
Of course if you can’t do without your road shoes, wear them and throw a pair of walking shoes in the follow van for exploring.
Should I plan to do laundry in the sink or are there laundry facilities?
You should plan to wash by hand. The cost of electricity in Italy is astronomical, therefore washers and dryers are scarce – which is why you still get those picturesque lines of clothing in the alleyways. We do our laundry the old-fashioned way, in the sink. Most hotels provide a good drying rack.
Should I bring a hairdryer?
No. Hotels provide them, and your American appliances will not fit the Italian sockets.
What are the hotels like?
The hotels are all comfortable three- to four-star, independent, family-run affairs. On certain trips there will be one country house where the TV is absent, but I don’t think it’ll be missed. Several of the hotels we use have beautiful swimming pools. Some are located on vineyards.
The rooms tend to be small but graciously outfitted. Italian bathrooms can be tiny but are adequate. Views abound.
People here choose hotels for their restaurants. The convenience of walking from your room to the best food in town is a pleasure we offer to our groups. So the four days we spend in our town of Castagneto Carducci, we will eat in the same hotel/restaurant.
Do we stay in the same hotel or move every day?
All of our Tuscan trips start in our base hotel in Castagneto. Most of the trips travel from one hotel to another, spending 1-3 nights in each. Only the Cooking and Cycling trip stays in one place. On other trips we usually keep the traveling around to a minimum, usually returning to our first hotel at the end of the week. We selected the base hotel mainly for the fantastic family run restaurant. They have a great variety and I’m sure you’ll be sad to leave their kitchen.
What meals are provided?
Most meals including all but one dinner, seven lunches, all breakfasts and riding snacks. Water will be provided for all meals with wine included for dinner.
What about special Diets?
If you are vegetarian or have other dietary limits most likely you will be able to feast in Italy. We work hard to accommodate allergies and restrictions. Please note these on your booking form and your medical form. Ask us about specific details.
Should I tip waiters? How about the guides?
Tips are included with your meals; however, a small additional gratuity goes a long way.
Our guides work extremely hard and enormously appreciate your generosity at the end of the tour.
Are rental bicycles available for the tour?
YES. Our local bike shop is a stunner! Ciclosport in Donoratico has great rental bikes with the friendliest staff on the planet. For sizing send an email to Andy at and copy to Travel Coordinator, Elaine Lauterbach, at with your measurements and bike preferences (See Travel Help for complete instructions). You just bring your own shoes, helmet, pedals if different from Shimano spd, and saddle if youprefer.
Buying a bike: "I want a great bike for this trip. Should I get an Italian dream or is it better to buy a new machine in the US?"
The dollar is no longer so strong that buying in Italy is a price advantage. The local bike shop, Ciclosport, has great service and fair prices, so you may find a nice bike that no one on your block has yet. If this interests you it is a good idea to email (Riccardo at: or visit their site www.ciclosport.it ) and ask for prices on a bike that interests you. Think big and buy with the sunny feeling that it is cool to come home with something that will turn heads. He can set you up with a bike waiting for you when you get here if he has enough lead time and you work out all the sizing and color details.
How do I buy a custom Hampsten bike?
Other folks would rather cut out the intermediate step and turn heads by getting a Hampsten bike here in the States. Steve or Andy at Hampsten Cycles will smile favorably on you as a Cinghiale customer, the bikes are meticulously designed and crafted, and the custom fit and satisfaction is guaranteed. Contact www.hampsten.com for a standout ride.