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Italy cycling travel questions...(4 posts)

Italy cycling travel questions...-JC-
Jan 7, 2004 12:27 PM
Hi Everyone,

I'm making my first serious bike trip this spring to see the Giro. I'm doing the last 10 days with bikestyle tours then traveling on my own a little. I've been to Italy a couple times and speak some italian so getting around won't be a problem but I could use help with preparation.

I plan to use a trico case to haul my bike. Should I try to insure it against damage or theft in transit (replacement value ~$3500)? Or is the case sturdy enough and bike theft uncommon enough that it isn't needed.

I plan to take the train from Milan to Rome. Sometimes dealing with luggage on the train can get a little sketchy. Has anyone taken their bike on the train? If so what were their experiences?

Are energy bars/gels readily available?

Does anyone have any good tips for washing bike clothes in hotel rooms?

Of course, any other tips or advice anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
JC
re: Italy cycling travel questions...merckxman
Jan 7, 2004 5:20 PM
I've traveled with a bike case on trains in Italy. This was my experience: no big bike cases were allowed on the EuroStars (the fastest and best trains). I was directed/ advised by the railway personnel to take the trains that were designated for taking bicycles on board as these have a space at the front of the car; they were IR (inter-regional)trains; make many stops, are less expensive than the EuroStars, and don't run as frequently. On the Rome central terminal-to- Airport Express they didn't want to let me take the bike case on at all but in the end they said ok (out of kindness I think).

Energy bars, etc: I took a few with me but basically I ate all the great food that is available. You can get power bars, etc. at bike shops.

I took 3 sets of jerseys/shorts; handwashed with hotel soap. No problems.

If you have an odd seat collar bolt I would take an extra one in case you break it when you reassemble your bike. Just about everything else is obtainable.

Stop in at bike shops when you can and pickup some "local" team jerseys (I found they are honored when you ask and are happy to sell them); they always look very nice back at home.
re: Tell Lawrie I said hiteoteoteo
Jan 7, 2004 5:24 PM
You're in good hands with Lawrie and I am jealous of you seeing the Giro. I may get to Tuscany in May or June but not specific to the Giro though I'd never miss the Giro if I were in country while it's going on.

Anyway, Insurance isn't such a bad idea as the train trip could seperate you from bike case--my friend has told me how he took his case on the Italian trains so I think you will be okay, he speaks fluent Italian too though. One bit of advice is they may not be allowed on EVERY train as Peter Rider referred to in a post below. At least that is the case in France.

On my French trips I buy gels and powderd drink mix when I arrive no problem. Sports related big box stores even carry good selection in France anyway.

As for washing I carry a cheap retractable line or section of thin string to tie up in my room. Just like food I wait until arrival to buy liquid detergent for clothes. My best success washing has been to hop off the bike remove everything from my pockets and hop into shower with bike clothes on. It may sound odd but it combines the effort with my shower and saves some time. I also think its easier to intially start the washing with the clothes on. I take them off and finish washing before cleaning myself.

Be careful ringing clothes as stitches tear and once rung dry wrap them in a towel and ring them again--this will get out extra moisture. Especially the chamois.

MOST OF ALL...eat an Algida Brand Magnum Ice Cream bar. You'll see Algida on umbrellas and sidewalk signs etc.

The Magnum is a particular type of Ice Cream bar Algida makes but they are the best. Don't be fooled by imposters from Nestle, etc. Algida is the Brand.
Rent a car.Zonic Man
Jan 7, 2004 5:42 PM
Trains and bikes are a royal pain in the ass. And you can't take the "super train" on TrenItalia if you have a bike, either, so you'll have to make upteen amounts of stops on your way.

If you are going to vacation in one area around Giro Time, stay at the Zi Martino, in southern tuscany. Great food, great people, great beach nearby, tons of rides and cool towns to see. There's even a sweet beach only 5km away in Marino di Castagneto. Oh yeah, and probably the best LBS in the history of cyclesport in www.ciclosport.it

www.zimartino.com

Gels are readily available, but why when you just stop at some little town for an espresso and a snack every 25k? Seriously. No need to use gels. I used 2 one time in a 95 mile ride/sufferfest I went on.

Do the rides around the Zi Martino, we stayed for a week.

That part of italy has great weather around the time you'll be going.

But seriously, rent a car. I suggest a Renault "Kangaroo" or if you have a couple extra bucks, the small mercedes station wagons have room for two bikes, tons of clothing, and three people comfortably.

I know a lot about Tuscany in particular, email me at jed peters at hotmail dot com for more info.