Inception

Usually I route plan picking two points; A and B, and use a variety of online tools to plan a sensible route between them. This gives little to no regard as to what might actually be found when embarking on the mission to come. As a result I often may myself in unsuitable terrain, awkward blind spots where little to no cycle friendly paths or even roads can be found for miles, or even worse, in restricted access areas where I shouldn’t be!

This time, me and the lids started similarly with an idea of where we wanted point A and point B to be. We then used a little bit of common sense and a lot of route suggestions, websites and blogs to fill in the blanks. Rather using “navigation only” based tools, we investigated sites that gave good old fashioned cycle friendly advice and routes specifically designed, and tested, by cyclists for cyclists.

I had previously spotted a blog post post called “The 40 Best Roads In The World To Ride Your Bike” which we combined with a very exhaustive list of routes from Italy Cycling Guide.

The Breakdown

Here is the proposed route and below it explains the thought process.

  1. Starting with the “top 40 roads in the world,” I chose three that were near to each other and close to Nice where we want to fly to.
    https://www.cyclingabout.com/best-roads-in-the-world-to-ride-your-bike/
  2. Then making our way to the coast to join the Liguria coastal route using the old “navigation only” tools to find a sensible route to join them
    http://italy-cycling-guide.info/cycleways-cycle-routes/coastal-rides/liguria-coast/
  3. Follow the Liguria coastal route to the southernmost end near Massa and switch to the VeloRoute 5 for only a short while until Fucecchino:
    http://italy-cycling-guide.info/cycleways-cycle-routes/international-cycle-routes/via-francigena-eurovelo-5/
  4. At Fucecchino follow the Arno river into Florence. This isn’t an official route but we want to visit Florence and this follows a river which should keep the climbs down as we pass through the Tuscany Mountains and usually provides for a scenic interlude. I will check with Strava popular routes if this seems like a good choice:
    strava.com
  5. We will then finish the remainder of the trip on VeloRoute 7 from Florence all the way to Rome:
    http://italy-cycling-guide.info/cycleways-cycle-routes/international-cycle-routes/ciclopista-del-sole-eurovelo-7/

This might not seem groundbreaking, but it is a thought out route. It may have only taken an hour’s worth of planning and discussion, but that’s about 55 minutes longer than we usually put in. Where previously we have chosen two locations, often misguided, or simply based on some childish target like “I want to go to all three Scandinavian capital cities in one trip,” and essentially drawn straight lines between those points.

And with that, and some quick purchasing of a reduced flight I had noticed tracking prices, Saddle Life: Italy 2018 has, in the most part, been planned and booked!


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