Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Excellent fall ride with Chris - Consuma and Vallombrosa.

I was blessed with another perfect day to ride today, and my friend Chris, from the London area, texted me last night to ride together this morning.  Chris has spent from 1 to 6 months her annually for 6 years or so, so today he even had a route and plan for the ride.  I love it - I decided on plenty of routes with my solo rides and many work tours.  Today, we went out the main roads to Pontasieve, then hooked over to the back road on the west side of the Sieve river to Rufina.  On the main road for a few kilometers, but the turn for the biggest climb of the day comes soon.  We really enjoyed the climb, with some chatting making it seem shorter than normal when Chris stayed with me.  He is a faster, stronger climber than I, and I encourage him to go his own pace, as I am a believer that your personal natural pace gives you the most efficiency.  It is good to be efficient on a climb.

From Borselli, we climbed almost to Consuma, cutting off on the pretty, but rough road over to Vallombrosa.  With many pictures of fountains these days, Chris has been giving me a little bit of a hard time about fountain pictures, and on this stretch of road is one of my favorite water sources.  We stopped and got some great water, then continued over to Saltino, then descended to Regello where we stopped for a wonder cafe and pastry.  It was so nice we even had a second machiato each.  From Regello, it is a nice descent to Leccio where you catch the Valdarno road over to Pontaseive.  Just after Pontasieve, we caught a couple of Italian riders, passed them and rode back as a group.  One of the Italian guys really wanted to lead, so, whatever, we let him.  He kept a pretty good, nice fast pace so all was excellent.  As we returned to town, Chris decided on adding the climb to Fiesole, but I declined.  Chris loves that climb and often adds it on the end of a ride.  Here is the garmin link for another great fall day of riding here:

Pontasieve, Rufina, Borselli, Vallombrosa, Regello, Leccio, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Chris, at one of his waiting spots on the climb to Borselli.
Chris is definitely a faster climber than I.

Beautiful day, beautiful views on the climb to Borselli.

The vineyards and an old villa on the way to Borselli.

Another of my favorite fountains.  This is between Consuma 
and Vallombrosa - excellent, cold water.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Quick 2 hour ride to the north - another perfect fall day.

Busy morning with lots of catch up, some house cleaning in preparation for guests coming soon, grocery shopping, etc.  The weather is so nice I still found time for a 2 hour ride, and enjoyed some riding close to the house in the hills north of town.  I climb Via Faentina to Pian de Mugnone, the climbed to Fiesole, continuing  up to Olmo.  I continued over toward Bivigliano, then turned off to go to Pratolino, then over to the Monte Morello road, but went down to Via Bolognese then turned off toward Cercina.  Great ride over there down to the Careggi area, then up and around Careggi, with some very nice new pavement on a little detour I usually take, then back home.  Here is the garmin link:

Pian de Mugnone, Fiesole, Olmo, Pratolino, Montorsoli, Cercina, Careggi, Fi by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

What a pretty road riding toward Bivigliano before the 
Pratolino turn off.

The perfect weather continues.  This is on the road to 
Bivigliano in the Mugello hills.

Meet and Greet to Impruneta, Ferrone, then solo Panzano, La Piazza, Firenze.

I met Todd and Florence Walker at the shop and we got everything set up to leave town and get them started on their 5 day tour.  It was an interesting day to guide people out of town, as a large event, "Corri la Vita" with around 35,000 participants was underway, with a running race and walk through town.  I realized that I am making progress with my Italian, as I was able to communicate without any real hesitation with the police to see where we were allowed to go.  With a little effort and some slight difficulties, we made it out of town.  Todd and Florence are a very nice couple from outside of Toronto, and were starting a 5 day self guided tour.  My normal job for this work is to get them to Impruneta, then have a cafe and review maps, answer questions, etc. and send them on their way.  Yesterday, there was a huge event in Impruneta, and riding / walking into Impruneta, it was apparent that we needed to put together a plan B.

The festival of the grape in Impruneta is huge, and it was fun to navigate around the parade floats to the town square.  It was way to crowded to do the normal thing, so we descended to Ferrone where I found a cafe and we had a cafe, pastries, and reviewed maps there.  I think they will be fine on their tour and have a great weather forecast for their ride.  I left them there and rode out through Greve to Panzano, then descended toward the La Piazza cut off, but took a small detour to meet one of my daughter's best high school friends at a winery, Monte Bernardi, and had a short chat with her there.  She was there to help with the harvest, and has her own wine label in the US, along with being the wine person for a few New York restaurants.  I thought it would just be her, but there was a group of around 20 helping with the harvest, and they were having lunch as I arrived.  I turned down what looked like an amazing meal, as I had 50 k left to ride to get home.  A beautiful property, and really nice to catch up with a young lady that spent a lot of time at our house when Kate was in high school.

From the Monte Bernandi property, I finished the descent and took the turn to La Piazza.  It was another perfect day to be riding and it was just stunning to ride this wonderful route yesterday.  From La Piazza up and over to San Donato in Poggio, then down to Sambuca, up to San Casciano, then back home through Chiesa Nuova and Scandicci.  Quickly showered and out to meet a couple for a glass of wine that Emily had set up.  It is busy and social time for us right now, and I am doing what I can to enjoy.  Here is the garmin link for the day:

Meet and greet plus Panzano, La Piazza, San Casciano by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

My clients for the morning in Ferrone where we reviewed maps
and said goodbye.  They are off on a 5 day self-guided tour.

View to the southwest on the descent from Panzano toward 
the cut off to La Piazza.

Such a beautiful day riding in the Chianti countryside.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Great team ride with an excellent route with some new roads.

Simply a perfect morning to be up, out, and doing a ride with the team.  One of those days for me that make me extra thankful to be alive and doing what I am doing.  We met at Illiopesca and had a nice ride out to Lastra a Signa, then rode the river road to Montelupo.  Somewhere along the river road the pace increased until it was a hang on if you can group sprint with around 1/2 the group dropped.  Really fun to stay with the fast group and we hit 50 kph on this flat road and averaged around 42.  Fast for me.  We regrouped, then rode through Montelupo, with a couple dropping out to return to Firenze.  The remainder rode a beautiful road up to Montespertoli through Pulita.  I had ridden this road the opposite direction many times, but it has been a few years and never in this direction.  With just a stunning morning, great views, challenging ups and downs, great company, it was a great ride today.

We stopped in Montespertoli, and went to a different bar for a cafe, as a couple of guys wanted to go there.  Nice bar and good cafe.  After that, we rode down to Bacciano, then up to Montagnana.  We regrouped in Montagnana, and discussed the remainder of the ride.  A plan was hatched to ride the Pisignano road, which they said was 26% for 800 meters or so.  That made 4 of 8 decide on a different finish, but we all rode together to the turn off after Cerbia.  Well, it really was steep and difficult, I would think definitely above 20%, and for 500 meters, but pretty close to what was advertised.  After getting to what is the top of the difficult climb, it continues climbing quite gently to the main road to San Casciano from Cerbia.  Great views and a beautiful road on a pretty perfect morning.  Sweet!  From San Casciano, we cranked back to the turn off for Scandicci, with the other three young fellas throwing sprints at each other every so often.  Boys will be boys, and everyone had a great time. From Scandicci, back into town and home.  Great team ride this morning, and I think with my upcoming schedule it will be three plus weeks until I ride with the team again.  Here is the garmin link for the ride:  (beware the Pisignano climb)

Montelupo, Pulita, Montespertoli, Cerbia, Pisignano, San Casciano, Scandicc by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

This beautiful road is between Montelupo and Montespertoli.

We rode the first of two ridge line back roads to Montespertoli
today.  I had ridden it many times the other direction, but it
is always different in an opposite direction.  

Almost the whole group still together after our cafe stop in 
Montespertoli.  Just a perfect morning to ride.

Great view on a beautiful day on the road through Pisignano.

A truly beautiful little road above the difficult climb to San Casciano
through Pisignano.  New road for me.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nice ride with some friends from London and San Diego.

I met Lorenzo, Ray, and Chris at the shop this morning for a ride, which turned out to be kind of short, but really nice on a perfect day to ride.  I spaced out turning the garmin back on after meeting at the shop until we were almost at Olmo, so there is around 15 kilometers missing.  Oh well.  Chris is in London most of the time, and this is his second visit this year, and it was nice to hook up with him for a ride.  He is a very strong cyclist, young, and a very nice, personable guy, so it is always fun to ride with him.  Ray lives in San Diego, is closer to my age ( a few years younger), and also a very good cyclist and nice guy, so it was fun to ride with him as well.  Lorenzo and I ride together most weekends with the team, but it was nice for us to be in a smaller group today.  It appears that everyone will be at the team ride tomorrow morning as well.

We rode up through Vincigliata to above Fiesole, but by a different approach than my normal route.  It was fun, and we approached through last years World Championship finish section.  With the Worlds going on right now, it was fun to re-live last year as we rode through.  We climbed Vincigliata, and I stayed with Chris the entire climb, which kind of surprised me.  We all continued over to the main road above Fiesole to Olmo.  Around 2 k from Olmo, I checked my garmin, and realized I forgot to turn it back on after meeting the guys at the shop.  So, it is missing around 15k, but it did pick up the vertical.  Whatever.  From Olmo, we rode over and up to the road to Pratolino, then down to Pratolino, stopping for a cafe there.  Up to Monte Morello, then down to Sesto, then home in busy city traffic.  At Olmo, we picked up a guy who grew up in Florence, then has lived most of his life in Switzerland, and has returned to live in Florence again a few months ago.  It appears he will join the team ride tomorrow.  Nice ride on another pretty perfect day for cycling.  Here is the garmin link for most of the ride:

Vincigliata, Pratolino, Monte Morello, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Nice ride with some of the guys this morning, and we picked up
a person on the way who will probably join us on the team 
ride tomorrow morning.

The posed shot at Monte Morello with me in the picture.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Meet and greet to Impruneta, the Testelepre solo.

I am deciding that I like the meet and greet service I am doing for Dominick.  It doesn't pay much, but nothing does here, and after a few hours with the clients, I am in a nice position to construct a good tour in the Chianti area.  It is also rewarding to take a nice couple, like Kim and Karl today to Impruneta, calm any anxiety they have about a self guided tour in a foreign country, and send them off happy, wishing them well.  It was cloudy and started raining by the time I left the apartment, but the forecast was for improving weather, and it happened.  We left the shop by 9:40, and the rain had stopped.  By the time we were at Piazzale Michaelangelo for the first photo stop, it was sunny.  Nice. We continued up the main way to Impruneta, stopping for a cafe and review of the maps and route possibilities.  A nice couple from Northern Virginia, she was a little nervous, and he was confident and fine.  Between the two of them, I am sure they will be fine.  I told them which signs to follow, and they picked the medium difficulty route, which is quite pretty and really easier to follow.

I took of the same way, but immediately dropped them, wanting to get a good tour in and return home.  I climbed up through Chiocchio to Spedaluzze, then descended to the Greve valley.  I climbed through Greve to Panzano, then went a little past Panzano to the Testelepre road.  I only ride this 5 or 6 times a year, so I was looking forward to it.  It is an up and down road along the ridge to the southwest of Greve, at times quite steep both climbing and descending.  Great views, a challenge, and a nice ride today.  I cruised into Mercatale, then rode over through San Casciano and descended to the road to Tavernuzze in the valley.   This is also a little different than normal and fun today.  A good crank in from Tavernuzze, and I decided for some reason it would be fun to go through the Centro.  The piazzas were quite crowded, but I made it through with little trouble, only needing to dismount once.  The typical tourist in the Centro can go any direction at almost any time making the passage through there a challenge.  I must have enjoyed it, it was my choice.

Great ride on what turned into a very nice day.  Here is the garmin link for all the information about the ride:

Meet and Greet to Impruneta, then Panzano, Testalepre by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Although it was raining when we met at the shop to get Karl and Kim set up for their three day
adventure, the rain stopped and it cleared by the time we stopped at Piazzale Michaelangelo.
They loved the city view and explored a little.  Nice couple to help start a self guided tour.

The view back to the Northeast around 1/3 of the way along
the Testelepre part of today's ride.

Cypress trees framing the view on Testalepre

The views on the testalepre road were quite nice today.  Beautiful
villa just ahead!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

West, then South for a nice three hour tour outside of Firenze.

Window washing duty this morning, with guests / clients coming to stay with us, followed by a haircut, left me the afternoon for a ride.  We have a lecture to attend tonight, so I had plenty of time for the proverbial three hour tour.  Who knew that the Gilligan's Island song would stay with me for so long, but I always think of it when I do a three hour tour.  I took off through the Cascine, taking my standard route out to Signa.  I crossed the river to Lastra, then climbed up and over Grilliao to Ginestra.  I took the valley road out to the turn off to climb to the ridge, then climb to Montagnana.  The road is getting a little rough, but it is mostly a climb, so the holes can be easily missed.  It is a super pretty route, with big views both ways, and today, the vines were starting to change color.

From Montagnana, I continued up along the ridge to San Pancrazio, another favorite road.  A sweet descent to Ponterotto, followed by a relatively gentle climb to San Casciano, where I took a gelato break, as I get to know the spots for gelato better in the little outlying towns.  From San Casciano, over to Chiesa Nuova, then down the ridge turning for the smokin descent to Scandicci.  From there, head down and crank it through the city home.  Another great ride with excellent temperatures for riding.  Here is the garmin link for more information:

Cascine, Signa, Ginestra, Montagnana, San Pancrazio, San Casciano, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Climbing up to the ridge that takes you to Montagnana, I was surprised
to see these flowers blooming on the side of the road.  Che Bella!

I love riding this ridge toward Montagnana.  This view is to the
North, with the vines just starting to change colors.

The vines are starting to turn on the way from Montagnana to 
San Pancrazio as well.  Should be a beautiful few weeks 
coming up.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Santa Brigida and Doccia hills on a perfect day to ride.

What a perfect day for a ride.  Yesterday, I was still tired from Sunday, and had the beginnings of a slight cold, so I stayed in all day.  Today, I awoke feeling better, and am hoping the cold will not happen.  I wanted to get back on the bike, as it almost always makes me feel better, and today was no exception.  It did not hurt that it was one of the first real "Fall" days, with the temperature around 62 when I started and around 70 at the finish.  Arm warmers up and down depending on whether I was climbing or descending, then into the tailgater around 2/3 the way through the ride.

I rode a route I don't normally ride, and it was super fun.  Up Via Faentina to Olmo, which is pretty normal for me, but then I continued up to the top at Alberaccio, then down to the turn off for Santa Brigida.  Lots of ups and downs riding through Santa Brigida, Fornello, and Doccia to the descent to Rufina starting at the windmill.  I stopped at a favorite bar for a pastry and cafe, then back on the bike, retracing a kilometer or two to the "Popes road".  Love this little road, which I rode into Pontasieve.  From Pontasieve, a few kilometers of cranking before taking the turn at the edge of Sieci to climb back up to the windmill.  I love this climb and do not ride it that often these days.  From the windmill, back to Doccia, then the fun switchback filled descent to Molino del Piano and back into Sieci.  From there, it really is a head down crank back into town.

Such a nice ride today!  I just love being out, doing something I love, in this truly perfect weather.  I will do everything I can to enjoy it while I can.  Here is the garmin link for all the ride information:

Faentina, Olmo, Doccia, Rufina, Pontasieve, Doccia, Sieci, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The view to the south on the way to Santa Brigida.

One of my favorite water spots in Santa Brigida.
I know I say that about lots of fountains.

Between Doccia and the windmill, this is one of the many
excellent views.

Such a beautiful day, and the fields were so green on the way 
to Pontasieve on the tiny road on the west side of the river.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Giro della Cerbaie

Yesterday was a great ride, a very long day, and a challenge for me.  Along with 8 others from the team, I met a little before 6 to load bikes for the ride to Staffoli, close to Pisa, where the Giro started. For me, that meant getting up at 4:15, as I have to stretch and eat.  We made our way to the start as a group of 4 cars, and when we turned off the highway, the fog set in.  It was pretty pea soup until around an hour into the tour.  I had thought the longest course, the "oddesia" was a timed granfondo, but all were a social giro hosted by the local club.  They did a wonderful job, well organized, excellent signage (needed with the fog), good aid stations, and a very nice pasta party after the finish.

We all started together, but soon there were 6 of the 9 of us staying together.  We got on the back of a pretty fast group (I would guess around 500 cyclists at the event), and mostly hung together for the first 40 kilometers or so.  As we did some climbs the groups came apart, but the first climbs were not long, and Luca and I waited for the others at the top of the climbs.  It was probably a beautiful course, but with the fog, there was no way to tell.  The roads were nice, small, with lots of turns, somewhere in the countryside.  As we did our first real climb of the day, we climbed out of the thickest fog, and stayed in mostly cloudy conditions until the last hour or so.  The second big climb was to San Baronto from Cerretto Guidi, at the top of which was the first aid station and controllo.

We broke into our groups after that for different distances, but Margherita stayed with us for the oddesia course.  We were down to 5 now, and proceeded with more climbs, some quite steep.  After climbing to Pinone, we descended on my normal route through Castra, then just a short distance on the main road before turning off on a short, but tortuous climb.  Only around 100 vertical meters, but I would guess the average grade must have been at least 20%.  This was around 100 kilometers into the ride, and it beat us all up pretty good.  After this climb, Margherita decided not to finish the oddesia course, and rejoined the long course and finished on her own.  The remaining 4 rode hard and mostly enjoyed the remaining 50 k or so.  Lots of short but steep climbs in this section took their toll. I actually think for me, the steep, short climbs made for a more difficult course than one with more climbing, but longer climbs.  I can get a pretty good rhythm going on a long climb, which was not the case today.  Once you got settled into climbing, the climb was over and it was either a flat or descent.

Basically a wonderful tour and a fun, but challenging day with some great people.  It is a privilege to be here and be able to participate in these events with the team.  Here is the garmin link for all the information:

Odessia - Giro della Cerbaie by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A foggy start to the day, with 4 cars for team members unloading
and setting up the bikes.

6 of the 9 we had representing the team getting ready to go to
the starting line.

The scene at the start of the Giro della Cerbaie.

The first aid station close to the top of the San Baronto climb.

With around an hour left the weather cleared enough to see 
some of the beautiful scenery.

Che Bella!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Nice Chianti tour for FBB with some extras added on.

I had a nice Florence by Bike Chianti tour yesterday, with a very nice couple from just outside Montreal.  They were fit, and with only the two clients, I was able to change the normal route a little. The hills still challenged them, but they liked all the extras the day provided.  We went out through Piazzale Michaelangelo, then over to Galluzzo for a cafe and pastry.  From Galluzzo, we went over to Cinque Vie and climb to San Gersole through Vacciano.  This is different than the normal route, as there are 3 sections of this climb that exceed 10%.  The road is much quieter and I think prettier, so it is worth it.  We took a few breaks on the way, then hooked up with the main road to Impruneta.

We finished the climb in Monteoriolo, but continued to Impruneta, as neither villa was available for lunch, and we had a set price menu set up at a restaurant in Impruneta.  The lunch was quite good and nice, and we all enjoyed.  During lunch, Emily called to see if we were ok, and explained that there had been a really wild storm in Florence with trees down and 3" deep hail in places.  I told her we had not seen a drop of rain, although we did see dark clouds in the Florence area.  As we returned we saw the storm damage, and I guess we were simply lucky.

After lunch, we continued to Strada, then descended and climbed to San Polo.  From San Polo, we climbed to the little pass then enjoyed the descent, with a number of photo stops (they both had cameras and were into taking photos), then into Grassina.  In Grassina, we saw the first hints of the storm, but after we headed out from Cinque Vie to Piazza Ferrucci, it was like a line had been drawn and there was debris everywhere.  It must have been quite a storm and we were lucky to have missed it.  I will take weather luck any day.  Here is the garmin link for the ride:

FBB Chianti tour plus San Polo - fit clients by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Marie and Ben on a short break on the climb to Vacciano.

A hillside of sunflowers blooming in the middle of September.
Interesting.  I have also been seeing some bulbs blooming lately.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Signa, Pinone, Limite, Cerbia, Chiesa Nuova, and Scandicci on another great fall day.

I was planning on perhaps a day off, but changed my mind to what passes for an easy ride these days, and did a favorite.  I thought I had ridden it recently, and checked the garmin site to see how long it took me.  Well, it had been over 6 weeks, so not so recent.  That is a good example of how much variety of riding is here, a favorite gets hit only every 6 weeks or so, and if you follow the blog, you know I ride most every day.  I booked a Florence by Bike Chianti tour tomorrow, so it was a good thing to do a reasonable ride today.

I set out through the Cascine then the back way to Signa, hooking up with the road to Comeana.  From there, you climb to Carmignano then continue climbing, although it does get steeper after Carmignano, to Pinone.  A nice stop for water, cafe, a pastry, then it's back on the bike for the descent to Limite.  Just an awesome descent, and with a strange sound on the front brake (repaired) I even stopped on the way down.  From Limite, it is mostly flat to Montelupo, then a little uphill to Cerbia on really nice roads.  From Cerbia to Chiesa Nuova is the last climb with a couple of delays today, but good news for the future.  There is already around 3 k of new pavement and they are working on much of the remainder.  That will be really nice to have this well used piece of road with new floor.  Sweet.  I took a different route down to Scandicci, which was fun, then powered back to the apartment.  Here is the garmin link for the ride.

Signa, Carmignano, Pinone, Castra, Montelupo, Cerbia, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A relatively gentle but nice climb from Carmignano to Pinone.
What great roads.

Such a beautiful road, even when it kicks up on the way to Pinone.

Another favorite spot for a cafe and pastry, the bar / cafe at the 
top of the Pinone climb.  Always good espresso and dolce.

I had a strange sound when applying my front break, which was 
a piece of leaf, so I stopped to fix, giving me a rare opportunity
to take a picture of some of the endless switchbacks on 
the descent from Pinone to Limite through Castra.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

San Donato in Collina, Sette ponte, Vallombrosa, and Tosi on a perfect September day.

I have been wanting to ride Strada sette ponte for a while, and today it worked out.  No real commitments, and a week between work tours.  I also have a 145 kilometer granfondo this Sunday, so I added Saltino and Vallombrosa for more distance and climbing to make sure I was ready.  Just a great day and a great ride.  What a pleasure it is to be here and riding in this perfect mid-September weather.  I love this ride and today I had a few of those moments that occur occasionally while I ride, where I just am sort of overcome with emotion, excitement, etc., and start to giggle while I ride.  It happened both climbing and descending today.  Just an excellent ride.  Here is the garmin link:

San Donato, Mattissino, Castelfranco, Saltino, Tosi, Pelago, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The strada sette ponte is so beautiful, I had to take yet another
picture of this road.

One of my favorite stops for a cafe and pastry, in Regello.
Always a friendly face and good espresso and pastry.

Hmmm - the climb continues.

The view through the trees as I approach Saltino and the end
of the difficult part of the climb.

Love this water source on the wall of the Monastery in Vallombrosa.
Great water too!

From my stop in Vallombrosa, the road ahead and the real start
of the descent, with a beautiful little pond below the Monastery.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Scouting a flat route for clients in a couple of weeks.

I have a group that confirmed this morning for a 1/2 day in October on a day I am meeting other people at 2:30 or 3 to discuss 5 consecutive days starting the next day.  Anyway, everyone knows the situation and seems flexible so it will work, which is great for my fledgling business.  The 1/2 day group wants a relatively flat route, and my normal "flat" route usually takes clients around 4 to 5 hours, so not a 1/2 day tour.  I thought about it and came up with today's ride.  There are some options to increase or decrease the climbing, which is important.  After being so busy, I just caught up today and wanted an easy ride anyway, and yes, I have an obsessive personality, and I would feel better after I tried the route.

It worked pretty well, and I think will make the clients happy.  Out of town through the Cascine, then back in on a loop in the beautiful park.  On today's ride I took a bridge over to Scandicci, but I think for clients it would be better to do the whole loop in the Cascine then over Ponte Carraia to Porta Romana.  Up the winding route to the turn off toward Galluzzo, the up to Poggio Imperiale.  Down to Galluzzo, then over to Cinque Vie to Ponte a Ema, then up Via Carota (optional) and back to Bagno a Ripoli.  Out toward Candeli from Bagno a Ripoli, then back to town on a beautiful little flat road by the Arno.  Home past the stazione Campo de Marte.  I think it will work.  Here is the garmin link:

Scouting 'flat' route for Sue Tagmeyer by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The view toward Fiesole from Via Carota. 

Via Carota.  Not sure if it will be on the "flat route" but will 
definitely include it as an option.  Adding this increases the 
climbing by around 80 vertical meters.

Chianti Tour for Florence by Bike with a group of 11

I did a Chianti Tour for Florence by Bike yesterday.  I heard the night before that it would probably be 9 people and was a little nervous about taking care of such a large group.  It turned out to be 11, and it was fine, but challenging.  In this situation, everyone simply has to have some patience.  Some riders are stronger than others, and with one group from Florida, one from Boston, and one from Australia, a number of different fitness levels were represented.  Some had to walk up the harder climbs (probably around 5 or 6) and some had to wait.  I told everyone this at the start, and it really worked out fine.  I think everyone had a good day, although the young newlyweds expressed a little frustration with people stopping for no reason right in front of them.  I made an announcement, but it did not really work.

We rode out through Piazzale Michaelangelo - photo opportunity - then up to Poggio Imperiale, then down to Galluzzo for a first real break of 20 minutes for a cafe and pastry.  We got back on the bikes and started our real climb of the day to Monteoriolo.  Everyone did fine, although there was a fair amount of walking.  Good spirits prevailed and with a number of rest / view stops all were fine.  We stopped at a villa for a pre-arranged lunch that the shop puts together.  It is at a beautiful villa, put on by three generations of the family that lives there, and is really nice.  After lunch, we took a different route back to the city to avoid as much traffic as possible.  Back via San Gersole, Vacciano, Cinque Vie to Piazza Ferrucci, then to the shop on the bike path on the Viale.  All in all a tiring but good day.

Here is the garmin link for the ride:

Florence by Bike Chianti tour for 10 by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Here is the group of 11 (a couple are not in the picture) for
the Chianti Tour yesterday for Florence by Bike.

The view back toward Florence from Villa Riboia, where we
had a beautiful lunch.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nice Vayable tour with Deeann and Lloyd in the Chianti hills.

I had a lovely day today, guiding Deeann and Lloyd in the Chianti hills.  Deeann contacted me through Vayable, an internet guide service.  We got everything set up and met this morning at my apartment.  Lloyd rented one of my bikes, so we set him up, then walked to Florence by Bike, where Deeann rented a hybrid bike for the day.  We had a very nice tour on a pretty perfect day to ride.  It was challenging for them both, but they hung in there, never complained, and seemed to really enjoy the day.  We rode through Vacciano to Impruneta, which has some steep grades.  A nice break in Impruneta for cafe, panninis, and pastries, then Luiano, followed by San Casciano, Chiesa Nuova, then Scandicci before returning to Firenze.  Nice work both of you, and thank you for the business.  Here is the garmin link for the ride:

Chianti hills with Deeann and Lloyd - Vayable tour by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

On the way out of town, I usually stop at Piazzale Michaelangelo 
for the views and a photo.  Looking good!

On Pian de Guiliari before descending to Galluzzo.

At the beautiful church in Vacciano.  Wow, what a day!

On a break at the water fountain just before San Gersole.

The short uphill on the descent to start the Luiano climb.

Deeann in the same spot.

Lloyd climb toward Luiano.

Deeann at the same point climbing the Luiano hill.