How Bicycle Travel Transforms Lives: Janice Johnson
Janice Johnson muses about her very special experience of participating in the fantastic vintage event called L’Eroica in Tuscany and just how bicycle travel with Ciclismo Classico has transformed the lives of herself and her husband Brent.
“How has bicycle travel transformed us?
Brent and I had always been interested in traveling to Europe. But we aren’t drawn to large group tours where you ride from place to place on a bus like a sixth-grade field trip.
We knew there was great cycling in Italy. One of our friends rode in the historic L’Eroica rally in Chianti, featuring vintage bikes and some unpaved roads. That sounded nostalgic and fun, but we didn’t want to brave it on our own. Then Brent found Ciclismo Classico’s website. Ciclismo offered a tour called Tuscany and L’Eroica. Bingo.
We flew to Italy expecting friendly guides, scenic routes, bike and snack support, good meals, and pleasant lodgings. We got all that, but received so much more—both tangible and intangible things.
Our guides didn’t just point out scenic or historic places. As locals, they knew all about them, passionately cared about them, and drew us deep into the culture and history of the cities and villages we visited. They coached us, helping us be courteous and thoughtful tourists.
The guides also demonstrated and encouraged a spirit of adventure. This may be why Brent, who never liked coffee, sampled a cappuccino on the first morning. Now he drinks a cappuccino pretty much every day. He also took a leap of faith by tackling the longest L’Eroica distance that any of our fellow guests were doing. And he killed it, along with riders half his age.
Both of us agree that our tour gave us a new perspective. We had seen photos of the beautiful Italian countryside. But being there, traveling slowly by bicycle and feeling the roads, the sunshine and wind, seeing the ancient chapels and houses in the distance, the vegetation … we felt as if we had become a part of Italy. As Brent put it, “This isn’t just a picture or map in a book. It’s real!”
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