"Pedal Your Passion."
Vacationing and touring in Italy – by bicycle – was a new concept in 1989 when Ciclismo Classico burst onto the scene to become the first company in the world to specialize in Italian bicycle touring. Leading this charge was Lauren Hefferon who established another world-first: a woman-owned bike tour company.
Today she likens the Ciclismo Classico experience to that of a fine kitchen that develops and delivers award-winning recipes. In the Ciclismo Classico mix are Italy itself (and today a host of other countries); terrain-specific cuisine, wines and beers; a dollop of language immersion plus appreciation of art and music wherever a tour should go. On the Ciclismo Menu are daily rides that blend seamlessly with history and culture on routes scoring high in natural aesthetics while suited to individual riding abilities. Orchestrating the Menu are guides local to one or more of Italy’s 20 regions and whose missions are to imbue the passion and zest for life that mark Italians. These guides have ridden -- even raced -- thousands of miles in their adventurous lives. In special mini-clinics and lessons, they share with guests the fine points of shifting, braking, posture, climbing, descending, cadence and more. With an average of 10 years and 100+ guided trips under their Ciclismo belts, they’re delighted to share stories with guests before all bed down in, variously, a rustic cottage, a castle, a five-star villa or boutique property, each reflecting the character and essence of the region.
Since Ciclismo Classico began 30 years ago, it has introduced physically active and culturally curious travelers to more new destinations in Italy than any other active travel company. The quintessential Italian mode of travel has been the bike. This tradition continues to be the best vehicle for discovering Italy’s natural and cultural gifts, allowing guests to become Italian in style and spirit as they devour the beauty that is Italy.
Generally ranging in duration from 6 to 12 days, trips are organized by ability level: easy, athletic beginner, intermediate and advanced. They all are designed so that guests can cycle at their own pace, enjoying the surroundings, stopping for pictures, and re-grouping at designated rest stops and evening lodgings. More on the levels.
There is literally something for every taste, ability and interest with Ciclismo Classico. Types of Tours and Styles include:
Hiking Adventures have been a natural evolution and area of growth for Ciclismo Classico. “We don’t just pedal, we also let the feet do the walking, too!” Designed for beginners on up to experienced trekkers, on foot, at one’s own pace, there are delights to be seen around every bend in the trail. Two signature hiking trips offered include:
As the name might imply, Italy is home and closest to the heart of Ciclismo Classico and no other active travel company covers it so thoroughly and passionately. But don’t let the name fool you, the company has exported its award-winning style and brand to these other international adventure travel hot spots:
Children ages 6 to 16 are accommodated on scheduled family departures. There is no minimum age on custom and private trips.
Bikes are intrinsic to every cycling itinerary. Bianchi bikes, the legendary blue steed that made Fausto Coppi the “champion of champions” and Marco Pantani the king of the hill, is the model of choice. Stylish, a little racy and quintessentially Italian, all bikes are custom-built for Ciclismo Classico. Standard bike rental is included on all tours. Gaining in popularity yearly, E-Bikes are often requested to help take the sweat out of inclines and hills. For couples, tandems are available upon request as well as kiddie trailers for families. More on bikes and bike fitting.
Travel Agents have been key to the vitality and growth of Ciclismo Classico over its lifetime. Agents and professional travel planners receive all the support needed as well as commissions of 15% to 20% for fully orchestrated bookings.
Lauren Hefferon was still a kid herself back in 1979 when she led a dozen teens from Maine to Boston on what would be her first bicycle tour. Decades later she and her Ciclismo Classico team have led thousands of cycling guests around Italy, elsewhere in Europe and in South America.
Her journey as a youthful, already passionate cyclist led her to Cornell University where she became a licensed bicycle tour guide for the Cornell University Wilderness Reflections program. Her deep love for travel on two wheels really started with a six-week camping/bicycle tour from Rome to London with a group of 14 teens. It’s where Lauren claims to have gotten her “Wheels.” At that time, she was also cooking up a storm over campfires after long days in the bicycle saddle. Her cookbook, Cycle Food, a Guide to Satisfying your Innertube, introduces her love of sharing food, a theme that resonates in her personal and professional life. By 1983 and after a six-week solo European journey by bicycle, Lauren identified three passions: biking, food and Italy, where she lived until 1986.
Now hooked on bicycle tour guiding, by 1989 she was putting her company, Ciclismo Classico, on the map with a journey called Bike Across Italy that still today passes through her grandmother’s hometown in the Le Marche Region of Central Italy. She expanded the number of itineraries throughout her beloved Italy, creating a new trend in bicycle travel by joining forces with celebrity chefs to encourage foodies onto two wheels.
By 2005 she heeded the call of loyal alums who wanted to travel to other countries – but only with Ciclismo Classico. France was a first foray outside of Italy. Today the company conducts bicycle, hiking/walking, multi-sport and photography tours throughout Europe, in the UK, South America, Tanzania, Iceland and the US.
Fast forward to 2019 and the 30th anniversary of Ciclismo Classico. Lauren’s pioneering work continues to create joy for travelers in Italy by introducing them to her love of biking. Her three children all biked with her before birth. And, yes, they now take their school breaks on bicycles.
Founder/Director Lauren Hefferon
Telephone 800.866.7314 US & Canada
Outside US 1.781.646.3377
Address Ciclismo Classico
30 Marathon St, Arlington, MA 02474
(Near Minuteman Bikeway)
ARLINGTON, MA, Jan. 7, 2019 –This year marks a significant milestone for the first woman-owned cycle tour company in the world. In 1989, Lauren Hefferon blazed new trails and founded Ciclismo Classico, the first company to specialize in immersive small group bike tours of Italy.
Throughout 2019, Ciclismo Classico will celebrate 30 years of inspired, passionate travel, offering dozens of active vacation itineraries in its core country, Italy, and elsewhere throughout Europe and around the world.
“Pedal Your Passion” has been Ciclismo’s rallying cry for the past three decades. Today, two bicycle adventures best epitomize the company’s deep love and appreciation for all things Italian. One itinerary, Bike Across Italy, has become Ciclismo Classico’s signature tour. Another, La Bella Puglia Mini, represents the company’s quest to enhance its menu of delicious Italian stories.
In 1989, Hefferon created Bike Across Italy, a tour that still today passes through her grandmother’s hometown in the Le Marche Region of Central Italy. Designed for intermediate cyclists who can bike on average 35 miles a day, the route ventures over rolling terrain for a total of 346 miles from Pesaro on the Adriatic to Porto Ercole on the Mediterranean. Over 11 days guests cycle through four regions (Le Marche, Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany) celebrated for their rich history, distinctive local cuisines and stunning panoramas.
“This tour synthesizes legend and history by letting guests imbibe carefully curated touchstones along an east-west trajectory around and over hills and mountains. Our routes are ancient and well-worn, as is Italy herself. We let geography and populations past and present tell her story through our beloved guides,” she said.
Some of this tour’s spectacles even lie underground. These are Italy’s largest cave system and ancient Etruscan settlements under mounds of earth. Other treasures -- amphitheaters, Roman gates and the Temple of Minerva -- await on hill tops paved with medieval cobblestones. Guests cycle on Via Flaminia, an ancient Roman road over the Apennines, an 870-mile range of mountains that create Italy’s spine from the Ligurian Alps south through the boot. Visits to such cities as Urbino disclose echoes of ducal import contained within their walls. In Assisi St. Francis shares his wisdom before a visit to one of the best-known family wineries in Umbria. On the Tyrrhenian Sea comes a stop at Italy’s most important bird sanctuary, Tombolo di Feniglia. Among the charms that distinguish Ciclismo Classico tours are including such little-known touches as Bevagna that since medieval days has plied the craft of making fine paper or swimming in a lake created from a volcano once familiar to Etruscans.
The 2019 trip dates are: May 11-21, June 6-16, July 18-28, Sept 5-15 and 19-29, and Oct 3-13. The per person double rate of $5,995 (single supplement $1,000) includes; carbon bike rental equipped with a Garmin Edge GPS, informative, English-speaking, Italian-born tour leaders throughout, shuttles, sag-wagon support, wine tasting, walking tours of Assisi and Urbino and a visit to a private underground cave in Orvieto, cooking demonstration with a master chef, visit to Frasassi grottoes and paper maker in Bevagna, all accommodations and breakfasts and some lunches and dinners. See: https://ciclismoclassico.com/trips/bike-tour-italy/
For bicycle tour newbies, La Bella Puglia Mini over six days and 157 miles (daily average 31 miles) introduces a region popular with foodies but still relatively uncrowded with tourists. Greeks, Normans and Arabs have all added their influence here. Today oils from ancient olive trees and crispy white wines from acres of vines compliment handmade orecchiette, bruschetta covered with juicy tomatoes, roasted red peppers and grilled calamari – all paired with warm hospitality that’s sometimes lost in other countries.
This itinerary is south on the Adriatic, beginning in Otranto. Its complicated history showcased in architecture makes it one of Puglia’s most sought-after towns. The itinerary weaves north to Lecce, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where guests are accommodated in a building in existence since 1400.
Moving away from the coast cyclists explore an enological gem, Salice Salentino, a region that gives its name to a red wine. In Alberobello, trulli, clusters of conical dwellings, are surrounded by gnarled olive trees. Moving into Basilicata introduces Matera, another UNESCO World Heritage Site which was recently awarded the title of European Capital of Culture 2019 by the Commission of the European Union. This City of Stone is renowned for its sassi (cave dwellings), where medieval monks created individual cells, tiny chapels and even spacious churches. Matera’s 155 cave churches range from primitive to exquisite. Guests overnight in the now-opulent cave dwellings. The circular town of Locorotondo, known for its white wine, Serra, overlooks Valle d’Itria before guests cycle to journey’s end in the whitewashed town of Ostuni, Città Bianca, reminiscent of Greece.
There are seven departures scheduled in in spring and fall 2019 beginning on 4/28, 5/10, 6/07, 9/06, 9/20, 10/94 and 10/18. The per person double rate of $3,795 ($600 single supplement) includes; bike rental and GPS, bilingual guides, all needed shuttles, van support, guided walking tour of Lecce, wine tasting, all accommodations and breakfasts, and some lunches and dinners. See: https://ciclismoclassico.com/trips/le-bella-pugilia-bike-tour/
For additional information, detailed itineraries, trip availability and reservations please contact Ciclismo Classico by phone: 800.866.7314 (US & Canada) or 781.646.3377 (outside of North America), or visit online: https://ciclismoclassico.com/.
About Ciclismo Classico
Small group sightseeing through Italy by bike was a new concept in 1989 when Ciclismo Classico burst onto the scene to become the first company in the world to specialize in active cycle tours of Italy. Leading this charge was Lauren Hefferon who established another world-first: a woman-owned bike tour company.
This company’s rallying cry then and now is “Pedal Your Passion!” Tours are led by native-born guides who on average have each served Ciclismo Classico clients in excess of 10 years. Daily rides are carefully blended with a variety of cultural and culinary experiences and served up as the Ciclismo Menu that includes musical evenings, language lessons, wine and beer tastings, personalized cycling clinics, cooking demonstrations and opportunities for spontaneous discovery and cross-cultural interaction. Guests are carefully matched with a tour style and pedaling pace perfect for them, then outfitted with a quintessentially Italian, high-performance Bianchi bike. Having now expanded beyond Italy to represent tour destinations worldwide, Ciclismo also offers hiking itineraries, private and custom trip planning, photo tours and the ease of touring by electric bike. Recognized by media icons such as National Geographic Traveler and Outside Magazine, Ciclismo Classico is widely considered to be one of the premier active travel companies in the world.
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