Why Italy & Riccione?
There are many great places to ride your bike in the world, competition is high, but for us Italy is the home of cycling! The people in Italy embrace cyclists, and after football cycling is their national sport. On the roads here you see people of all ages, shapes and sizes enjoying riding their bikes.
Riccione is an area immensely popular with cyclists. The region is based in Emilia-Romagna, renowned for being the home of the late, great Marco Pantani. Pantani lived and trained in the area both as a young boy and as a professional. During summertime Riccione is traditionally a beach resort. Out of the beach season the resort transforms into a mecca for cyclists and each day you can see groups heading out on the roads leaving town. Ride inland and within 15 minutes you find yourself within its beautiful hinterland with destinations such as The Republic of San Marino, Urbino and Gradara.
The reason you will be reading this!!!
The area has an intricate network of roads and whilst some may not be as smooth as found in Spain, the scenery, and the lack of traffic (once out of town) more than compensates along with the stunning views. There are hills galore and whilst not mountainous like the Dolomites, there are climbs hard enough for any level of rider. Pantani trained locally so we’ll say no more! The Giro d’Italia has passed through in the last few years, and there is a time trial stage starting nearby in Gabicce in 2013.
In Riccione there are a network of hotels offering guided rides, laundry of bike clothing, rental bikes and storage for your own bike. Most cycling hotels offer ‘super half board’ packages which include breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The guided rides are lead by English speaking guides who genuinely enjoy showing you the area they live and work in. Many hotels run a selection of group rides to cater for all abilities. It is recommended you contact a hotel and let them know your training requirements, they may even provide you with a private guide. For coached groups, most hotels have a ‘bike tutor’ (often one of the guides) who would happily work with a coach to devise a suitable programme for your holiday.
Gran Fondos & Sportives
There are also numerous Gran Fondos at different times of the year, all within easy striking distance. The hotels are usually able to arrange everything on your behalf from entries to travel. It can add an interesting aspect to your holiday and often motivates people to train harder. It is also a great day out! The Italians know how to organise these things properly and usually do so with flair and passion!
Triathlon training in Riccione
Riccione is also a great destination for triathletes. For swimming there is the sea and also the local Olympic sized pool complex which has hosted the World Masters twice in under 10 years! There is the beach for running, the esplanade along the sea front and the local running track.
Off the bike!
Off the bike and for non-cycling partners there is plenty to do. Locally there are markets, beaches and castles to explore. Less than 10km away is Rimini, one of the oldest cities in Italy with museums, art galleries and of course shops to lose yourself in.
So, if you usually ride and train in France or Spain? Why not try Italy and Riccione!
This article was written by Stephen Myers. Stephen works as a cycle guide at The Hotel Milano Helvetia in Riccione and feels well qualified to comment on the area, as prior to working at the hotel, he was actually a guest!
The Hotel Milano Helvetia is a traditional, family run establishment with genuine friendly staff whom will make you feel most welcome.
For any information or questions about what the area has to offer please contact Stephen through the hotels advert on Training Escapes!