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The Best Bike Tour in the World?

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By Jay Jacobson (member since the 1990's)

Having done this epic eleven day cycletour four times, in 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2014, I have found it difficult to select any other bike tour among the 65  or so I have done on six continents since 1988!

The Boston-based  Ciclismo Classico bike touring company runs this amazing 2 island tour of Northern Sardinia (Italy) and the West Coast of Corsica (France)  It is called “Mediterranean Island Hopping”

This fantastic program encompassed the stunning epitome of a Mediterranean scenic feast—We were rarely far from a coast or gulf.  We cycled by and enjoyed majestic views of vineyards, red granite rock formations rising from the littorals and blue coves, fishing villages, herds of cows, wild boar and goats, cactus and other semi  tropical vegetation with a background of snow-capped mountains.

95% of the time during the late May/early June 11 days were spent under sunny skies.  We had an hour of rain one lunchtime and another hour one evening both followed by a quick return of the sun. During the previous 3 tours we had no rain at all!  Temps for the most part were in the comfortable 70’s.

The price of the tour is $5395 or about $540 per night.  Since I have been a frequent Ciclismo customer, I received a discount virtually  allowing me to obtain a single room at no extra charge.  Included were most of the extraordinary meals featuring the local cuisines and use of a high quality road bike.  Extras not included some meals, air between the US and  the start point (Italy) and end point (France), tips and wines.

Eight of the 10 participants were members of an extended Minnesota family (M/F).  There was also one woman from New York(who turned out to be a friend NYCC members Hank Schiffman and Marcy Bloomstein) and myself.  The ages of the group members ranged from 24 to an 84 year old amazing gentleman who cycled the basic route with little apparent difficulty.

The daily mileage ranged from 15 to 65 miles.  This included the basic route plus an optional “longer loop”.  The tour level was graded “intermediate” by C.C. which I could translate to “moderately hilly”.  A fairly strong NYCC B level cyclist should be able to handle the route and extensions.

In several stretches where auto traffic was a bit heavy we were shuttled through on a chartered bus.  The capable, experienced and trilingual guides, Simone and Isaaco either drove a “sag wagon” minibus or cycled with us.

The total mileage for 10 days of biking was 410.  That included all the optional long options. I did about 350.  One of the woman cyclists fell on a gravel covered cobblestone downhill surface and suffered facial injuries.  She was brought to an Italian hospital in an ambulance but quickly recovered and was able to resume the the cycling schedule the following  day.

It was apparent to me that CC over these years had markedly improved all facets of the program.  The routes have been tweaked to the point where little of the cycling was déjà vu for me.  About half  of the hotels had been replaced by better ones mostly 4 star on the European scale.

We spent the one off day off our bikes on a large private charter yacht cruise around several magnificent Italian islands.  This broke up the cycling regimen nicely and were all ready to return to our two wheels the next day.

A fifth time for me & my favorite bike tour?  I wouldn’t rule it out.

Contact  Jay at [email protected]

 

cycling trips