You might have thought we’d have learned by now. Having already produced multiple RiDE Guides - which involved excessively long days in the saddle, wearing out tyres, breaking spirits and reducing us to physical wrecks - we should have known better that to try doing two weeks of high-mileage riding combined with hours of photography every day. But we did it again anyway.
Two things helped us. First we shipped our Triumph Tiger Sport and Tiger Explorer out to Nice with FlyBikeFly. This meant we were taking our first pictures in Italy a few hours after setting off from home, rather than after a few days. Second, we returned on the overnight train from Livorno to Den Bosch. We disembarked in Holland and rode to the Channel Tunnel, reaching home just hours after getting off the train. Easy. It was just the bit in the middle that was challenging.
Actually, the previous guides had taught us that doing 400 miles a day, every day, isn’t healthy - so we restricted mileage on this trip. We were averaging only 280 miles a day, though as we used virtually no motorways and Italy’s minor roads are mostly extremely wiggly, we were still riding for ten hours most days. After which I had to write up the day’s stories while Weeble processed the pictures.
We were lucky with the weather: one day of blinding rain, an overcast afternoon and morning… but really, conditions were superb. Unlike some of the roads - and we’ve excluded as many of the rough ones from our routes as we could. Even so, there’s no way to cross Italy without finding some roads that could do with a little TLC.
Thankfully, there are many more roads that are simply brilliant. From Piedmont and Liguria, over Stelio and through the Dolomites, we found staggering passes. The rolling hills of Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and Umbria were every bit as rewarding, for all that the scenery was very different. The further south we got, the quieter the roads became. Everywhere we went, we found riding that was better that we could have hoped for. And the food was always amazing…
Italy’s not the easiest destination for touring - neither as convenient as France or as cheap as Spain, plus there’s less English spoken and the road’s aren’t so consistently maintained. But I’d say it’s even more rewarding because the high points are so high, the memories it gives are so memorable. We found some truly amazing roads in Italy - I hope you enjoy discovering them too.
Triumph Tiger Sport
Engine: 1050cc inline triple
Power: 125bph @9500rpm
Torque: 104Nm @4300rpm
Transmission: Six-speed chain drive
Front tyre: 120/70 ZR17
Rear tyre: 180/55 ZR17
Seat height: 830mm
Fuel capacity: 20 litres
Fuelled weight: 235kg
Triumph Tiger Explorer
Engine: 1215cc inline triple
Power: 137bph @9300rpm
Torque: 121Nm @6400rpm
Transmission: Six-speed shaft drive
Front tyre: 110/80 R19
Rear tyre: 150/70 R17
Seat height: 837-857mm
Fuel capacity: 20 litres
Fuelled weight: 259kg
Please note: This page contains the route files for The RiDE Guide To Italy which came free with RiDE magazine in July 2015. These website page are not regularly updated, so please check all critical information before you travel. All route files are in .gpx format. Garmin and BMW users can download the main file, which contains all the routes and our recommended hotels as separate waypoints. TomTom users can download the individual routes and use the Tyre software to convert them. For many routes we also have Google Map links. However, as Google Maps will not plot routes over seasonally closed high Alpine passes (such as Stelvio) when they’re shut, these may not work for every route all year round.