- Saturday, September 9 to Sunday, September 17, 2017
- Two pigger–moderate, hilly riding, but plenty of extra credit for the willing.
- $3,850 per person; $300 extra for a single room.
- Eight days of cycling, cooking classes, wine tastings, and relaxing
- Pisa airport (PSA) pick-up, Sept. 9 at 11 a.m.
- The tour starts over lunch, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. at Hotel Zi’ Martino in Castagneto Carducci.
- Transportation on Sunday, September 17 to Pisa airport (PSA) and local train station. Early departures accommodated.
- Bike rentals available.
- Vegetarian? Food restrictions? No problem!
- Non-rider in your group? This is our best itinerary for non-cycling guests.
Cooking and Cycling is one of our favorite tours. Why? Well, we get to ride our home-town roads around Castagneto, visit our best friends and favorite farms in the area, and we learn something every year from our chef, Chicca Maione. Food, riding, what else is there? Wine, that’s right! We’re also in the heart of Bolgheri, Italy’s hottest district for booming reds. Heaven.
We pack all our favorite routes and superb kitchen adventures into this week. It’s the perfect itinerary for a couple with one serious cyclist and one “maybe-I’d-rather-make-magic-happen-in-the-kitchen” partner. During our mornings cyclists can pedal to their hearts delight, while non-cyclists participate in a late morning cooking class.
All the particulars
Weather: Mid 70’s to mid 80’s and cooling off at night.
Riding Level: This is a 2-pigger tour. We like to keep the week flexible with plenty of extra mileage to be had. On most days we’ll put in a good 4-hour ride through the Tuscan hills while making it back to the hotel for lunch.
Mileage/Terrain: Tuscany is all about rolling hills and our rides this week will range from 35 to 60 miles. There are three days in particular on which we could go longer. We usually let the ride split into groups based on speed and fitness levels, each group having its own guide. Ride however much you like and earn your lunch and dinner. Estimated mileage for the week—280 miles.
Why Castagneto? Andy found Castagneto in the early ‘90s, then brought his Motorola cycling team here for a training camp in his pro days. Simply put, it is the best of everything in Europe–riding, food, folks, relaxation, and a splendid countryside. We’ve become family with the crew at Hotel Zi’ Martino, a simple inn built by a former Tour de France rider, Carlo Guarguaglini, and his wife, Isa. Sadly, Carlo passed away, but the tradition continues. The Guarguaglinis understand what we’re looking for in a vacation–the best riding, a great kitchen, and a family atmosphere with fun people.
The ideal Cooking and Cycling guest: This is our most flexible recipe for an unbelievable week in Italy. We cook, we ride, we relax…and we eat. You get a bit of everything on this itinerary–the chance to immerse yourself in the local cuisine and culture, great cycling, and plenty of time to relax, too. Non-cycling chefs study most mornings, learning a different recipe or technique, while the cyclists spin through rolling vineyards, chestnut forests, and over the hilly countryside. For anyone looking to mix in equal parts cooking, cycling, and culture, this is the tour for you.
The cooking lessons are limited to 12 people. Non-cycling guests have priority to cooking lessons. If you are cyclist with interest in a day in the kitchen we will do our best to work you in to a lesson of your choice during the week. Most lessons start at 11:00 to allow cooks time to exercise in the morning (if desired).
If I’m not cycling, what else is there to do in the area? Each year, we host a handful of non-cyclists on this itinerary and they’re usually busy the whole week with trips to the Mediterranean (five minutes by car, 10 by bike), walking or jogging, relaxing poolside at our hotel, visiting one of the many Etruscan archaeological sites in the area, tastings at any of our local wineries or wine bars, or browsing the shops, cafes, and food stores in Castagneto and beyond.
As a group we’ll also take side trips to gastronomy shops, a wine estate, and talk about olive oil. We’ll be staying in the heart of the Bolgheri DOC wine area, so we’ll have a wine tasting comparing local wines to the other wine DOCs of Tuscany.
We’re also five minutes from the train station–motivated travelers can be in Pisa in less than an hour and Florence in less than two. Non-cyclists are also always welcome in the follow van if they would like to see the day with the cycling group. Some days a second van will take non-cyclists to meet the group ride when they pass through not-to-be-missed villages.
If you like to ride a bike, just not at the pace of the group, the local bike shop has wonderful hybrid city bikes that come equipped with a bike lock and basket. This is a great way to see neighboring villages (on flat-ish roads), head to the beach on your own, or just ride around the tiny roads from the hotel for some exercise before a cooking lesson.
What Bike/Gears/Tires should I bring? Your favorite road bike will do just fine. We ride compact cranksets to make the hills a bit more casual, so if you tend to suffer on the up, consider a triple or a compact. Generally a 23 or 25mm tire is great.
Bike Rentals: The local bike shop is run by our friends the Carpentieri family. They have a rental fleet of BMC Gran Fondo model bikes, an excellent choice for visiting cyclists who want a nice light climbing machine that descends well. All models come with compact-geared cranks. They’ll even rent town-bikes for folks not looking to pedal the hills, but wanting to explore the village and the coast.
Schedule your flights in and out of the Pisa airport (PSA).
There are connections directly to Pisa from New York, Munich, London, and other major European cities. Please don’t book your flight until we’ve responded to your booking form and finalized your spot on the tour. Our Travel page has information on renting cars, the train system, air travel, and more.
Cinghiale Shuttle Schedule
Please note if you arrive outside the shuttle time it is your responsibility to arrive at the hotel by 1 p.m. on the tour start date. If you are unable to schedule your flights to meet a shuttle time please email us and we will help you with train schedules or private taxi services.
Pick up: Saturday, Sept. 9th 11 a.m. at the Pisa Airport
Drop off: Sunday, Sept. 17th at the Pisa Airport—two shuttle times will be offered to accommodate the 6:30/7:15 a.m. departures and later-morning departures. We will also provide drop-offs at the local train station in Castagneto.
For those of you arriving early, or on your own, the tour proper starts at 1 p.m., at Hotel Zi’ Martino, in Castagneto Carducci. We’ll sit down to lunch, introduce ourselves, assemble bikes…and get riding!
The rides: We’ll take a short spin after lunch on the first day. We use this ride to sort out the kinks in our bikes and legs so everyone is ready to go the following day.
We’ll average around 280 miles during the week. Rides will range between 35 and 60 miles with plenty of opportunity for more miles and flexibility for less.
It is fall and we know most of you will be plenty fit from the summer, so don’t be shy if you’re aching for extra miles. We love to reward your fitness and have the flexibility to make it happen!
Highlights: Castagneto Carducci is a charming hilltop town, perched above the old Roman thoroughfare, the Via Emilia and located in the heart of the Bolgheri wine district. Quiet, relaxed, and full of artisans, it’s an idyllic setting for a week of cooking and cycling.
Volterra The city dates to at least 1000 years BCE and boasts a great gastronomic scene, as well as fantastic archaeological museums.
Populonia An ancient Etruscan lookout and iron-smelting site, Populonia perches atop a hill above the sea and faces towards Elba and Corsica. Tiny, quiet, and dotted with 3,000 year-old Etruscan archaeological sites, as well as a newly excavated Roman villa, it’s way off the beaten path.
Food Fresh vegetables, seafood, and game meats; house-made pastas and regional delicacies–you’ve come to the right place.
Wine We’re smack-dab in the middle of Italy’s hottest wine DOC–Bolgheri. We will be tasting the local wines without the stratospheric prices–and we will visit our local favorite to see how they make their magic.
Included in the cost of the tour:
Eight nights and eight days fully supported riding, with guides and hotel accommodations; transportation on the first and ninth day.
Eight breakfasts, seven lunches, seven dinners (with wine!).
Snacks and drinks on rides provided. Transportation and admission to scheduled sightseeing stops and special events.
Pick-up and drop-off at the Pisa airport (PSA) and Castagneto train station.
Not included with the tour: Airfare. Tip for guides.
Tour Cost is $3,850 per person.
Single rooms are $300 extra per person. Please request a single on your booking form, if you’re interested.
Deposit $1,000 per person. Please wait for us to respond to your booking form to send in your deposit.
Final payment A balance of $2,850 per person ($3,150 for a single room) is due by June 9, 2017. If you are signing on after this date, just drop us a line and we’ll arrange a different payment schedule.
Confirmation and communication
Once you’ve sent us your booking form, you can expect the following communication and requests from us:
A reservation email–Andy or Elaine will respond, letting you know about availability for the tour. If we have space available, they’ll instruct you to send your deposit of $1,000 per person, by check, to our address (provided in the email).
A deposit email–we’ll acknowledge receipt of your deposit, confirming your spot(s) on the tour, and give you a balance and its due date.
Balance email–once we’ve received your balance payment, we’ll acknowledge its receipt, and remind you to send us your travel details so we can confirm ground transportation/ shuttle times with you.
For cancellations, see below.
Trip files–One month before your trip, we’ll send you an email with five attachments, including an agreement to sign, a medical questionnaire that must be filled out, travel info, contact info for each day of the trip, and a suggested packing list.
Itinerary–Upon arriving in Italy, we’ll provide you with a detailed itinerary and route map.
Travel confirmation—Send your travel plans to us at least one month before the trip (airline, flight number, arrival and departure days and times) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d like to know how you’re arriving in Italy, so we can make sure everyone’s covered in getting to the tour on time.
If this info hasn’t answered all your questions, then drop us a line via email or by phone:
Andy in the US– (303) 506-1788 or Elaine (303) 888-4543 (US mountain time)
In the spring and fall we are in Italy, so please call: (Central Euro time; please call during daylight hours in Italy.) Andy in Italy (011 39) 333 97 60 997 or Elaine (011 39) 346 68 55 070
Specific information for your tour is contained in the Travel Details section above, so please read it carefully. Please visit our Travel Help and FAQ’s page to answer questions about booking, travel, and your tour.
If you decide not to come or cannot come for any reason, the amount you have paid is fully refundable up to 91 days before your trip. We do not refund money after 90 days. This means if you cancel within 90 days of your trip, you will forfeit the full amount you’ve paid.
We reserve the right to cancel your reservation with us if we have not received your balance payment by June 17, 2016.
We do not overbook our tours and we strongly recommend travel insurance. Please purchase travel insurance that covers trip cancellations (for any reason), lost luggage, and unforeseen medical emergencies.
Visit http://www.insuremytrip.com for an insurance quote and http://www.hthtravelinsurance.com/purchase/quote/quote.cfm for a travel health insurance quote.
Thanks for your interest and we hope to see you soon!