Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nice tour in Chianti with the Balbach and Jones families.

A long day yesterday, but a nice tour with two families from Buffalo, New York.  We loaded the bikes and I got a list of which bikes (they are numbered) went with which person the night before at Florence by Bike, which is our team sponsor and a great place to rent bikes.  The vans picked Leif and I up at my apartment, as I had done the water, snacks, etc., a little before 8.  We drove out to Radda, and had time to stop for a cafe in Greve.  We arrived at the hotel, a little early, and Leif and I went to the reception desk and the people there knew him and offered us more cafe.  Perche no (why not).  The two families then found us, as we were the only people there in riding kits, and we went out to the vans.  I rode my bike over to a gas station at our starting point, just below Radda, and met the vans there.

We got everyone on their bikes, fitted, explained the gear shifting, and were off pretty quickly.  The two fathers were pretty pro active helping get helmets and bikes fitted, which was great.  Leif and I had discussed routes, and were pretty much in agreement, and we set off to descend to Lucarelli.  With a boy who is 7, a girl 8, and another girl 10, we were a little concerned about keeping everyone safe and happy on the bikes.  We talked with the parents and the kids, and basically we had nothing to worry about.  Everyone did fine.  We descended to Lucarelli with a couple of stops to re-group, then climbed to the road between Panzano and Castellina.  We definitely needed a few stops on the climb, and a few people decided to let the van take them up some of the climb, but everyone arrived happy.

We set off on the bigger road and descended to the turn off for La Piazza.  We stopped again there and I explained that we would have a much more difficult climb here, but if people wanted to use the vans, around 2/3 the way up, the road mellowed to an easy climb.  4 of 9 decided to climb with me, and the rest were in the vans.  We all regrouped to finish the last easy climb, then loaded the bikes in the vans to go to Podere La Capella for a wonderful lunch with their own wines.  The lunch there is simply fantastic, and the wines excellent.  They are a very small vineyard, in good years around 20,000 bottles, but the wine is very good.  After lunch the clients bought some wine and arranged shipment to the US.  We then took everyone in vans to Siena, dropped the clients off, then returned to Firenze.  Dropped the bikes at Florence by Bike, checked everything in - helmets, pump, tools, etc., and then back to my apartment.  I was home by 6:30 which makes for a long day.

Yesterday was the Festa de San Giovanni in Florence, with San Giovanni being the patron saint of Florence.  This means a day off and a truly excellent fireworks display, which Emily and I watched from our terrace.  Good day, but tired by 11:30 when sleep finally called.  Ciao.

Balbach / Jones families Chianti Tour for Dominick by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Leif, my fellow guide, with Robbie and Becki, our two van drivers
for the day at the hotel in Radda, waiting for our clients.

Part of the gang of 9 (two families) on the way to Lucarelli from Radda.

A quick break in Lucarelli and regroup for our first real climbing
of the day.  The youngest, Finn (7) and Haley(8) did fine.

The group was a little smaller with some in the van when 
we did the last climb in the La Piazza area.  Beautiful day!

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