Cycle Tuscany – now.
II puffed my way up the Via di Matraia, the road taking us from Lucca into the Pizzorne mountains of the Italian province of Tuscany – in granny gear, grunting up the 12% gradient and barely moving forward.
Though I could feel the warm October sun on my neck and the cool mountain breeze on my brow, it was still hard going. But I could think of a thousand other places I’d rather not be – and the summit was close, with the promise of an icy beer…
My wife turned 40 last year, and to mark the occasion we joined her sister and husband with friends on an Italian cycle tour, from Pisa to Florence; all taken care of by Macs Adventure, a Glasgow-based tour operator specialising in adventure holidays. All we had to do was get ourselves to Pisa.
We hooked up with the others, all farmers from the Eston district in KwaZulu-Natal, at our first night’s accommodation just outside Pisa. Wynne and Marc, Duncan and Chez (pronounced ‘Shay’), Gushy and Vanessa, and Grimbo and Bev (Duncan’s sister), together with Debbie and me, made up our cocktail of beginner, weekend warrior and seasoned cyclists.