Experience Plus!

Bicycle Tours Since 1972

Experience Plus - Bicycle Tours since 1972

Spring Train in Europe’s Stunning Countryside

by ExperiencePlus! - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 travel-stories

Spring Train in Europe’s Countryside

Pedal up Mount Venoux or through the beautiful hills of Assisi

Long winters welcome active springs and there is no better motivation for staying in shape during the cold months than planning a spring training trip with ExperiencePlus!  Jump-start your spring by rewarding yourself with either of this month’s two featured tours: Spring Training in Provence or Spring Training in Tuscany and Umbria.  

Our Spring Training tours offer multi-night stays at the same place and focus mainly on bicycling.  Train with us and see a birds-eye view from atop a mountain or survey the lush rolling hills of the Italian landscape.  Delight in getting to know the ins-and-outs of a French neighborhood or a Tuscan town.   

Spring Training in Provence offers 8 days of cycling through vineyards and orchards and striking Provençal landscapes and villages.  On Day 5, after pedaling the foothills of the Alps, you will make your way to Mont Ventoux.  Although Mont Ventoux is geographically part of the Alps, it is often considered separate from them because there are no mountains of similar height nearby.

Mont Ventoux is legendary for its steep ascent and its exposed peak.  It is the largest mountain in the region and has been nicknamed “The Bald Mountain.”  From a distance, the peak appears to be covered in snow all year long because of the stark limestone that lacks vegetation, but in reality the snow cover never extends beyond April.  

The view from the top is superb; during our tour in May, you’ll be able to peer down at fields turning green and the cherry orchards that blossom each spring.  From the northeastern lookout alone you can see most of the Alps, including the Vercors, Chaine de Belledonne, Mont Blanc, the Ecrins, the Queyras and the Mercantour.  It is best to bring a wind jacket for the way down, because in French “ventoux” means “windy!”  After climbing to the top, you will come down the Gorges de la Nesque– which is "the best day I’ve ever spent on a bike!" according to one of our customers.

If you like hills but prefer to avoid mountains, Spring Training in Tuscany and Umbria provides some hilly terrain and one long ride.  Starting in Assisi and ending in Siena, this Italian bicycle tour runs for 8 days in April.  

Assisi, where you will spend 3 days, is dominated by two medieval castles.  The town is built on a hill that overlooks the Umbrian basin and is home to Italy’s patron saint, St. Francis.  On day 4, you will travel to Tuscany, known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy.  The itinerary for this day also offers an 86-mile ride along the shores of Lake Trasimeno into the Orcia river valley. Peacefully remote from any highways or big road junctions, the Orcia river valley is green with thick vegetation—the perfect backdrop for long rides on your spring training adventure.  

Whether you choose Italy or France, this month’s two featured tours will take you through some of the most beautiful countryside that Europe has to offer.  Both tours will also have you rejoicing in your dedication to continue cycling through the looming cold weather season– or you can always stay warm and join us in Costa Rica, Argentina, or Chile this winter!

–Allison Korrey


Allison is the newest member of the ExperiencePlus! Team.  She is currently pursuing an MA at Colorado State University in Communication Development. When she is not working or studying, she enjoys reading, cruising around town on her bike and cooking from her vegan recipe book. 

 

Spring Training with ExperiencePlus!

 

Tour de France 

 

Victory at the top of Mount Ventoux

 

Side trip down a cobblestone walkway

 

Tuscany