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New posts: Wheels, wine and wandering

New posts from BikeToursDirect clients Tim and Elaine Aye as they bike and blog their way across Italy this week. Share their experiences as they cycle the Piedmont region. Follow their blog >

Acqui Terma to Alba

August 26, 2012

hill-town-300x168 New posts: Wheels, wine and wanderingDay two of bike ride. Tim has found a friend and an alliance with the Australian. They both quickly learned that navigating uncharted territories in a common language can be of great benefit. I am grateful that all I have to do is pedal and follow. The Swiss are on their own, partly because they do not speak any English, but have made some obvious navigation errors.

Temperatures in the 90’s, hills 90% of the way with 10-20% grade. I have to admit that at one point everyone got off to walk their bikes with the exception of Tim. Go Tim! He even impressed the Australian not only with his hill work but with his navigation skills. Go figure!

hill-town-2-300x168 New posts: Wheels, wine and wanderingOur map has taken us into some crazy places with road signs that are in a language that we cannot even pronounce. Today, hills, hills, and more hills, Italian countryside, vineyards, villas, churches, crematoriums, sacrament stations and friendly and helpful Italians.

After our ride, we went to go visit the Frunotto Winery where Tim was able to talk wine with the Wine PR person. We not only toured the winery which was beautiful but she opened 5 bottles of great Italian wine. I learned that the crop of 2012 may not yield the best wine due to the drought and lack of sugar content in the grapes. It will be interesting to see how the vintage will turn out after this year.

Alessandria to Acqui Terma

August 25, 2012

Buena Sera, Amico’s e Famiglia!

Today was our first day of riding and the bike tour operator (Girolibero) met us at our hotel. The young cute Italian man named Guido met us and showed us our bikes. They are a cross bike, bright orange, heavy but get the job done. It turns out that we have company — two Swiss that only speak German and French (husband and wife) and a retired firefighter from Australia. We feel like we are on the show “The Great Race”…will the Americans, the Aussie or the Swiss get to the end first? It is very cute but as it turns out no one is in a race but just enjoying the scenery.

alessandria-300x168 New posts: Wheels, wine and wanderingWe rode through the countryside between Alessandria and Acqui Terme, this covered terrain ranging from flat open farm land to miles of wine country. Northern Italy is going through a terrible drought right now and the crops such as corn have been devastated, similar to what the US is experiencing in the Midwest.

Leaving the town of Monvaruzzo we rode into the valley where we started our major ascent towards Maranzana & Ricaldone. For the first day we did not expect to have such steep grades but were rewarded with magnificent views once we got to the top of the hills. The grades were easily 10-12% for a majority of the back half of the ride with 90 degree temperatures.

The views, the people, the food and yes the wine has all been magnificent.  There are many villages that cover the Italian countryside mostly set at the top of the hill with a very prominent church at the top and center of the town.


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