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 around 1000-2000 euros. I'm writing a book about touring the Appian Way and you can get access to the pre-publication draft by subscribing in the box to your right.
If you want to join the bike ride along Rome's ancient Appian Way, here are the details and the answers to most of the common questions. If you have a question that you don't see here, leave a comment and I'll get back to you.
Where and when is this bike trip happening?
I'm aiming for early May, 2017 but the dates are flexible. (if you're serious, leave a comment with the dates that are most convenient for you). This is one of the best times to see southern Italy! The weather is warm enough to enjoy, but cool enough for biking. The wildflowers are blossoming, but most of the tourists are still at home.
How much will this bike trip cost?
Ultimately the price depends on the size of the group and the success of our fundraising and publicity. I am estimating roughly 1,000-2,000 euros for the whole trip, or about $2800 U.S. (To get approximate U.S. dollar amounts, multiply the euro cost by 1.4, and round it up to the nearest $5)
If enough people are committed far enough in advance, I can probably negotiate lower prices for a lot of our food and lodging.
Bottom line, if you can budget $2800 U.S. plus airfare, you should be fine.
How long will the journey last?
Just like the price, this depends on what everyone wants to do and how fast we want to go. I would recommend 10 days in each direction. This leaves plenty of time for site seeing, along with slow and easy bike rides averaging 50 miles per day.
Although the Via Appia ends in Brindisi, I'd like to continue on and visit Lecce for a day or two. (See below)
Where are we going?
This bike trip goes more or less diagonally across the southern half of Italy. If you've never been to Italy before, you should be aware that you'll miss most of the famous sites, in exchange for a lot of adventures that most tourists never get to experience. I used to be a tour guide in Italy, and I'll make sure that anyone who wants it will have a good walking tour of Rome at the beginning or end of the trip. But you'll miss Florence, Venice, Milan, and a lot of other famous places.
This is really a trip for travel/history buffs. We'll be off the beaten path for Italy, but you'll still get to see a lot of art, architecture, and archeology.
If you don't want to ride both ways, you can pack your bike and bring it on a train. I'll be there to help you 🙂 This will add a full day onto your trip, and cost about $75 U.S.
I also plan to spend some time in Lecce. This is in the extreme south of Italy (the heel of the boot shape), and while it's a popular tourist site for Europeans (especially other Italians), it's little known to the rest of the world. I've never been there, but one of the locals I met on my last trip described it as "The Florence of the South." I'll be going there after we hit Brindisi, before heading back up to Rome.
How hard is the ride?
Most of the route is flat. We'll be going over some rough roads, so it's important to bring a sturdy bike with fat tires.
The hardest part will be going over the Apennine mountains, where the highest elevation is around 2000-3000 feet. Expect a few days of steep hills (comparable to the roads in the Santa Monica and Santa Cruz mountains), and possibly some cold, wet weather.
If you're even a moderately experienced biker, this trip will be tough but not daunting. If you have experience racing or mountain biking, this should be an easy ride. If you're new to biking, you'll be surprised at how quickly you get into shape. Only the first few days will be rough.
Update: You can still read the details below, but here's the latest: The next via Appia bike tour is scheduled for the summer of 2017. It will take about 2 weeks and you should budget around 1000-2000 euros. I'm writing a book about touring the Appian Way and you can get free access to the pre-publication draft by subscribing below: