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Would you like to ride a bike across Italy?

Update: You can still read the details below, but here's the latest: The next via Appia bike tour is scheduled for the spring of 2017.  It will take about 2 weeks and you should budget at least 2000 euros. If you want additional news about the ride, secrets on getting stronger and faster and better on a bike and in all your travels through life, copies of my new book about touring the Appian Way, and a number of other undisclosed goodies, be sure to subscribe in the box at the right, or at the bottom of this page

In 2005 I fulfilled a dream of retracing the ancient Roman road, the Via Appia, on a bicycle. Now I'm making it an annual event, and looking for people to come along.

Italy bike tour Appia Aquilonia

You haven't really experienced Italy until you've done an Italy bicycle tour. You'll visit remote, tourist-free villages in the mountains, make friends with fascinating people, and enjoy some of the best food and drink ever created on planet earth.

And you don't have to be a super athlete to complete an Italy cycling tour.

Fourteen years ago, a friend dared me to ride a bike 1,200 miles over the Rocky Mountains to a summer job in Idaho. I bought a ten speed for five dollars at a thrift store, learned to fix it, and made the trip. I was out of shape, untrained, and didn't really know what I was doing. But after 3 weeks, I was hooked.

Bicycling Italy's ancient Appian Way is a lot easier. You'll go through fields of wildflowers and olive groves planted on gentle rolling hills. Explore old Medieval fortresses and Roman ruins, which are often forgotten along the road side.

The only real challenge will be a day or two crossing the Apennine mountains. But you'll be rewarded with views that most Italy travelers never see, not to mention hand-made gelato.

I lived in Italy from 1997 to 2001, and worked there as a tour guide for two seasons. I speak fluent Italian, and have made several bike trips all over Italy.

This blog is dedicated to using a bike as a means of transport, but I'm especially trying to recruit fellow riders interested in bicycling in Italy. If you're an experienced biker or familiar with Italy, this will be a fun and easy trip. If you're new to both, get ready for a life-changing adventure!



13 thoughts on “Would you like to ride a bike across Italy?

  1. Pingback: Why ride a bike on the Appian Way? : Biking is Freedom

  2. Ethan Brook

    Came across your article on biking the Appian way. Looking to use my road bike from Rome to Brindisi. Can it be done.

    Ethan

  3. Jacobbear

    Ethan,I'm sorry I took so long to get back to you on this. It can totally be done! Most of the Via Appia has been paved over and it's used as a modern road. There are a lot of parks and areas where you can follow the original roadbed with the same basalt stones that the ancient Romans put down. These parts are tough to cross on a road bike, but it's worth at least going on a hike through these parts of the Appian Way. Coming out of Rome, there's a 10 mile stretch of the via Appia that's all original road. This makes a good bike ride if you're not loaded down too much, or you can avoid it by riding on the Via Appia Nuova which runs parallel. I prefer the ancient Roman road, even though I've broken a few spokes along the way. Your call. If you really want an easy ride that follows the route of via Appia most of the time, just take the modern Italian highway SS7.

  4. Glenn Newland

    Greetings from Rome,

    I would like to know what your plans are for next year and whether your still keen on pursuing your dream to lead cycling expeditions?

    I can help with the organisation of bicycles, packs, accomodation en-route and any thing else.

    Let me know

    Glenn

  5. rob

    Hi Jacob

    My question is pretty much the same as Ethans. However i am a beginner and 51 years of age. Can i ask you some specific questions that worry me about a solo bike ride from Rome to Brindisi.

    1. As Ethan said, i have a road bike with 700x23 tyres. Will this be ok or do i need bigger tyres due to the surfaces.

    2. I am worried about heavy traffic and main roads. Can you advise how to avoid them.

    3. Is there easy available accomadation on route or should i bring a tent.

    4. Any other advise you can give to a beginner with worries.

    ps Im thinking of doing this in May or Sept 2012

    Cheers

    Rob

  6. Hi Rob,

    1. Your tyres will be OK as long as you stay on the main roads. That said, I would recommend bigger tyres because some of the best sites are off the main road. If you use your 700x23 tyres, take via Appia Nuova to get out of Rome and avoid the basalt stones in the park (if you have the time, I highly recommend staying an extra day to visit the park on foot)
    2. Most of the way, traffic will not be heavy on SS7. The exception, of course, is near large cities such as Caserta and Brindisi. I don't remember the names of the alternate routes but if you get a map from Touring Club Italia (available at book shops and kiosks all over Italy) you can find minor roads. (Buy the regional maps, don't bother with the map of Italy because it doesn't have enough detail)
    3. There are hotels and pensione in most of the towns you'll visit. There aren't many campsites, but I've pitched my tent along the road many times and nobody has ever bothered me for it.
    4. Don't worry. The people of southern Italy are some of the kindest, friendliest people I've ever met. Every time you stop for food, water, etc. strike up a conversation with the locals. They will share a wealth of information, and they'll often try to feed you, too.

  7. Hi Mike! It depends how long and how far you want to ride. Of course my favorite bike ride is following the Appian Way out of Rome (hence, the website). Aside from a few heavy traffic spots around Ariccia, this is a good way to start. You can easily get to Terracina in a day or two, and then you have a lot of options. One of my favorite bike rides in Italy is the bike route through the mountains between Terracina and Formia. Have fun!

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