La Piazza Blog & Stories
How Bicycle Travel Transforms Lives: Karen Craney’s Story
September 13, 2019

How Bicycle Travel Transforms Lives: Karen Craney’s Story

cyclist in italy

Karen Craney

Karen has travelled with Ciclismo Classico 18 times. Her story really reflects the many small joys and pleasures of seeing the world around you from the bicycle.

karen craney riding bike

“In 1997, distraught over the death of a friend from AIDS, I signed up for my first long-distance charity bike ride (350 miles over 4 days), the Washington, DC AIDS ride. The kicker was that I didn’t even own a bike, hadn’t ridden one since high school and I was 41 years old! To my surprise, I not only completed the event but went on to do it 6 additional times. That event changed my life in so many ways including the life long friends that I made during the years that I participated in that and other charity bike rides.

It also gave me the confidence to tackle my first bicycling vacation and the rest is history. Since then I have taken 18 tours with Ciclismo Classico, a company that truly provides the ultimate in biking vacations. I biked two coast to coast trips across Italy (northern and southern), pedaled Sicily, Sardinia and Gran Canaria, experienced a number of Italian regions such as Tuscany, Umbria, Puglia, Piedmont, Molise and even rode to the top of the highest point in the French Alps, Col du Galibier. It is completely amazing that all this has come from a person who thought that exercise was getting up to change the TV channel.

Seeing the world from the seat of a bicycle has allowed me to conquer physical challenges that I thought I could never do, see places and people through a different perspective and lens along with appreciating the “little things in life”: seeing laundry hanging from windows of homes in a picturesque small village, hearing its inhabitants chatting away in the town square, viewing flora and fauna at its finest, smelling the pungent odor of garlic simmering in marinara sauce while cruising past a trattoria, feeling the temperature change while struggling up a mountainside and then hearing the wind whistle at your back as you sail back down. Viva la bicicletta!


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