The Best Way To Experience Tuscany: By Bike

Essentials & Advice | Italy | By Michael Bertrand

When B&R suggested sending me over to Tuscany for my first ever bike trip, I didn’t hesitate. I mean, who wouldn’t rejoice at the chance to take a (working!) vacation with my wife, staying at great hotels, and indulging in the pleasures of Tuscan cuisine? Here are a few things I learned, and a few reasons why you should consider Tuscany for your very first bike trip.

Lesson 1: Tuscan hills are no joke.

I must confess, I had no idea what I was getting into. For serious cyclists, the legendary rolling hills of Tuscany are a real challenge to sink your (gear) teeth into and see what your legs are really made of. Me? I was more of a ‘casual’ cyclist—I’d go out a few times a week and do 30-40 kilometres in super-flat Toronto. And my wife? More of an occasional biker if anything. Make no mistake, Tuscany is most definitely not flat. But the views at the top, my sense of accomplishment, and those hills we coasted down? Definitely worth it.

Lesson 2: An e-bike will save your marriage.

Being a more ‘serious’ (ha!) cyclist than my wife, I opted for a road bike; she chose an e-bike. So while I was gritting my teeth and grinding my gears on the hills, she’d simply zip up without breaking a sweat, and wait for me at the top. With an e-bike, those who are not as ‘serious’ about cycling will ultimately have less worry and more time to enjoy the stunning views. Whether it’s an occasional or avid route, e-bikes have made any trip with B&R a possibility for those with limited cycling experience. 

Lesson 3: The slow road is the only way to go.

The cypress trees, those hills I keep going on about, the winding roads, the vineyards? I definitely experienced the Tuscany of my imagination—and then some, like a sea of sunflowers on my right and wheat fields on my left, or passing through dense, cool forests. I could see, smell, taste, and even hop off my bike to take a closer look—something I wouldn’t have understood or appreciated if I had been driving.

Lesson 4: You have permission to indulge.

Active travel reaps its benefits: I was burning at least an extra thousand calories a day with daily biking, yet I was eating copious amounts of incredible Tuscan food and drinking a lot of wine at the end of each day.  Somehow, I still managed to lose weight by the end of the trip. Take it from me, you can definitely indulge (and be rewarded for it).

Lesson 5: B&R does it better.

Could I have organized a Tuscany biking trip on my own? Maybe. But could I have researched and created a bike route that avoided traffic and whisked me through the countryside to a family-owned restaurant way off the beaten path? Definitely not.

With B&R’s expertise, we had access to top-notch equipment, tablets pre-loaded with GPS bike routes, luggage transported from hotel to hotel, and prearranged car transfers. It was also indispensable to have access to a local guide whenever we needed it. Thanks to our local guide (mille grazie, Carlo!), special events were arranged for us like private wine tastings, and even a tour of Siena. Just leave it to B&R, and all the little details are taken care of.

Get a taste of what it’s like to go self-guided in Tuscany: