Florence to Pisa cycling holiday
Description of Florence to Pisa cycling holiday
Bike through a Tuscan landscape of rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves and little villages on this week long Florence to Pisa cycling holiday. Cycle to Vinci, birthplace of Leonardo; get off the beaten track and experience an authentic Italy in Garfagnana; tuck into a picnic on Lucca’s ancient city walls and pedal along the Serchio River to Pisa and check out its famous tower.
This is a small group cycling holiday, with a support vehicle which takes you to the start of some of the rides and is always available if you prefer to take a break from the saddle. Cycling distances vary – the longest ride is 85km – and the terrain of northern Tuscany is hilly, so a reasonable level of fitness is necessary. There is plenty of time off the bike, including a rest day in Lucca, so you can explore the towns we stop in or simply relax with a gelato or glass of vino at a pavement cafe.
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PlanetOn cycling trips, it’s easy to use plastic excessively, especially in hot climates or during the summer months when we ride. Rather than use single-use plastic bottles, we refill our water bottles from a large drum kept in our support vehicle. We also encourage travellers to snack on fresh, seasonal fruits rather than processed foods in plastic wrappers.
We have also spoken with many of the accommodation providers we use on this trip about minimising the overuse of linens and towels. Many hotels will display signs asking you to reuse towels and take short showers to minimise water wastage.
Our greatest contribution to minimising our transportation's impact on the environment is to travel by bike, avoiding the any use of energy or fuel. When we do use a vehicle, we are committed to providing local experiences and as part of this philosophy we use local forms of transport wherever possible. Where we use private transport, we stick to the small back roads, minimising the impact on locals using the main roads for their daily routines. Where we do use a support vehicle we will always ensure that it is an appropriate size to suit our cyclist numbers i.e. we wouldn’t use a 16-seater minivan for five travellers.
On this trip we use our own local Europe-based supplier who shares our commitment to responsible business, from waste and water management to ensuring we are leaving as minimal a foot (or tyre) print as possible. Where we use a third party to assist in the running of the trip we ensure they are educated on all aspects of responsible business and supported in making any changes they need to improve in this regard.
PeopleAn important part of travel is mixing with the locals and experiencing “real life” in a destination. On this trip, along with staying in locally-owned hotels and guesthouses, we visit small cafes and restaurants and buy locally produced crafts and food. This gives locals the opportunity to earn money directly and our travellers the chance to interact with local Italian people in their everyday environment. We also use only European cycling guides and support staff, as well as local guides in many destinations.
We source local activities that we believe are sustainable to the economy in that they allow the flow of income from visitors to be distributed to a greater audience rather than remain concentrated with tourism providers. This could be as simple as spending time in a local café, a cooking classes in someone’s home and shopping at small local stores.
On this trip you can enjoy a traditional Tuscan dinner, made entirely of locally-sourced ingredients in the hilltop town of Barga, or sample classic Italian coffee and cake at the famous Fronte della Rocca, a historic cake shop and chocolate-maker in Garfagnana.
The role of females in cycling has often been that of support staff. To help combat this we try and ensure as many of our cycling trips as possible have a head female cycling guide.
All aspects of this trip (on the ground) are operated by Europeans (most of whom live locally) including all our cycling guides, support vehicle drivers, local site guides and accommodation providers. We provide our cycling leaders with a formal four day cycling training course, so that they are up to speed with the needs of our travellers as well as building their skills.
Locals know where the best food, souvenirs, local crafts and entertainment can be found. This trip is operated by local Europeans and we ensure any shopping opportunities, from the larger centres like Florence and Pisa to the tiny villages we stop off at along the way, are authentic experience and showcase Italy’s rich and unique culture and crafts. The food in Italy is often a highlight and we offer a variety of opportunities to sample the full range. From delicious gelato in Pisa to a riverside picnic alongside the Serchio using ingredients purchased by our travellers in the local bakery and delicatessen.
This cycling trip has a maximum group size of 15, to minimise our impact on the smaller communities we cycle through. We believe this is the perfect size for a cycling trip while respecting the capabilities of the destinations we visit. Overtourism is an issue we are very conscious of and we are taking measures to ensure our impact on the communities we visit, and their environment is our top priority.
We have a foundation that was set up to empower travellers to have a positive impact on the communities they visit. It now supports over 50 local, grassroots projects around the world. And over the past 15 years, the foundation has distributed over AU $5 million to projects tackling areas such as sustainable development, human rights, child protection, environmental conservation, wildlife protection, education and healthcare.
As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle.
In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity and the wider community. A bicycle means you can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load, providing a profound and lasting positive effect for the individual as well as their community. Bicycles for Humanity collect donated (used or new) bicycles, repair them if needed and send them to Africa. Along with donated bicycles each of the 40ft shipping containers that Bicycles For Humanity sends becomes a bike workshop, providing employment, skills, training, business opportunity and economic development for the community in which it's placed and helping the community to move away from aid dependence.