Recently we have been exploring different types of health and fitness holidays and adventures. We came across A’QTO Cycling, run by Nancy and Damian based out of Melbourne. The team offers a variety of cycling tours in Italy. We thought this was a great way to not only get a holiday in, but keep fit and healthy at the same time. We asked if it is required to be a big rider in order to keep up on their tours, or whether your normal every day Joe would be able to keep up. Here’s what the team at A’QTO asked:


“1. Are you a recreational cyclist with a serious passion?

Our Italian cycling tours are designed for recreational cyclists with a serious passion. What we mean by this is people for whom cycling is a part of their everyday (or every other day) lifestyle and who have a desire to challenge and reward themselves with a cycling holiday in Italy. Our guests are looking for a cycling holiday with both a good level of riding, beyond what they would do in a week at home, and also the rewards of beautiful food, wine and company that goes with being in a beautiful place like Italy, with a group of like minded people. As with any group, in any walk of life, there are varying levels of fitness, expertise and skill however, this is not a competition and we don’t have any “gun”, semi pro riders join us on tour. We have people from all ages right up to early 70’s and it’s an absolute inspiration to see the passion and attitude to life of those joining us, particularly those in their 70’s….. it certainly gives us all something to aim for.


2. Do the numbers motivate you or scare you?

Most of our prospective guests appreciate the detailed information provided by A’QTO Cycling, including our daily ride descriptions, the graphs and data stating distances and elevations, and also our ride difficulty legend relating to each tour. This information is designed help prospective guests understand better what they can expect on tour, and in most cases, motivate them for the challenge. It is certainly not designed to scare you. So, if it does scares you, take a closer look at the graph, as while it may appear to be mountainous, the “valleys” could be at 20m above sea level and the “summit” is only at 120m above sea level, meaning it’s a very gentle rise and a short fall, rather than a mountain.  We also believe that if you have some encouragement and support (which we certainly offer), and most of all the willingness to take on a challenge, you will be most certainly be motivated.


3. Are you up for some climbing?

We find that the question of ‘how cycle fit do I need to be’ is asked by prospective guests across many of our tours, and most often relates to the climbing and elevations. That’s possibly because most of us riding in Australia are not used to the level of climbing and terrain of a country like Italy. Yes, we have some hills and mountains but how often do we ride them and do they really compare?

For the most part, Italy is a hilly and mountainous country and so for each of our tours, you will need to expect a little or a lot of climbing, depending on which tour you choose. There’s no avoiding the geography that is Italy…unless you choose to sit out some sections of the ride in the support vehicle, which is absolutely fine too. Just remember, it’s your holiday.


4. Are you prepared to do additional preparation pre tour?

We say that every guest joining us on tour in Italy needs to do some additional preparation pre tour. We find that guests who do not do any additional preparation before the tour, and just rely on their usual weekday rides, perform well for the first few days, but become more tired and fatigued than the riders who have ridden more pre tour.

We also recommend that it is beneficial to do more riding “training” before you leave, so that your body becomes accustomed to riding day after day.

Here we share with you our perspective and thoughts on some pre tour preparation tips for our Tour of Puglia, as an example. Note, this same approach can apply for any of our Italy bike tours.

Know Your Distances and Elevation
Review the list below to know what to expect for each day.

Day 1 – 41k & 290m
Day 2 – 65k & 895m
Day 3 – 92k & 1055m
Day 4 – 76k & 738m
Day 5 – 124k & 535m
Day 6 – 83k & 999m
Day 7 – 65k & 327m
Day 8 – 72k & 389m

Then pick two or three of the days on tour, the longest day and then the day with the most elevation and least km’s, so days #5 & #2, and then find a couple of loops in your local area that mirror the same characteristics. Once you are regularly riding these, you’ll notice that it is not only good for the legs and fitness, but also for the mind; knowing that you can actually ride the hardest day on tour.

Your goal should be to complete these loops as part of your weekly riding from at least 8 weeks out from the tour, and preferably 12 weeks out.

Ride Day after Day
Most of us don’t generally get the opportunity to ride 8 days in a row. We have found that some guests who don’t do extra training before they leave, ride well and enjoy the first few days, but come days 5,6,7 and 8, they are tired and slow down due to the cumulative effect of fatigue. So, another of our recommendations before you depart is to ride multiple days in a row, so that your body becomes accustomed to the multiple days of riding and feeling of fatigue, and is able to deal with it better. Your goal should be to ride 3 days in a row, and then have a rest day. Then repeat.:


Are you ready?

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