Lucca, Italy. Road or MTB?

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  • Lucca, Italy. Road or MTB?
  • Premier Icon StefMcDef
    Subscriber

    I was there on holiday a few years ago with the missus in nearby Barga.

    The area immediately around Lucca is pretty flat. However, you’re not far (about 45 mins on a bus IIRC) from the mountainous Garfagnana region which, it struck me, would be brilliant for mountain biking. Truly stunning scenery with picturesque hilltop towns above forested hills. Endless steep, winding, techy trails through chestnut forests which were well waymarked and easy enough to follow as walking routes.

    So, from your doorstep in Lucca, road bike would probably be better. 30 mins in the car and you’re in mountain bike heaven.

    devash
    Member

    Tuscany is a cyclist’s paradise whatever discipline you choose.

    rendo
    Member

    Stef’s correct, the area north of lucca is more mountainous than the rest of tuscany, so road or mtb would be good. I drive to garfagnana on friday. i have both a road and mtb bike out there permanantly but recently bought a cross (pickenflick) as i know a fair few roads that climb into the mountains but then change to dirt tracks.
    but for me i always find road routes a lot easier to find if its somewhere i’m not to familiar with. There is a good train service from Lucca to places like Castelnuovo where you can ascend the climb to passo delle radici, which is a great climb to around 1350m.

    i would say that if you are staying nearer lucca a road bike would be better, if you just want to ride from your accomodation, since there is a good mix of flat and hilly terrain.

    Also worth a look is the Alpi Apuane mountains, these are just north of lucca between the serchio river and viareggio on the coast.

    Premier Icon cp
    Subscriber

    Off to Lucca for a couple of weeks in May, will be driving so can easily take a bike for me and the missus.

    BUT, road or MTB? Has anyone been to that area? Is there much in the way of MTB in the area?

    The obvious answer is take both, but it’s not an option, it’s one or the other…!

    Ta, Chris

    Premier Icon steviep
    Subscriber

    We rode in the garfagnana area last year on road bikes and had a fab time. The only downside was that the road surface on some of the passes became a bit dodgy as you got closer to the tops.We bought a landranger equivalent map and just made loops from that.
    Enjoy!!

    Premier Icon cp
    Subscriber

    Thanks folks, very useful info. I am staying pretty much in Lucca, so sounding like the road bike might be the way, which was my initial instinct… but then though MTB might be close by.

    I’ll take a look at getting hold of some maps before I go.

    Does anyone happen to know of any locals/club rides I could tag on to? I went to Lucca years ago for a few days sans bike, and seem to remember reading about a club ride from a bike shop.

    jamesfts
    Member

    As above really, spent a lot of time in and around Barga when I was younger. Though the road riding will be a lot more accessible there is some fantastic mtb riding in and around that area.

    Depending on what you’re into there is (possibly was!) a bit of a downhill track and some good riding around the resort of Il Ciocco, between Barga and Castelnuovo. There was a bike shop opposite the entrance to Ciocco which pointed us in the direction of some good riding which might be worth a look if it’s still there. I don’t know if you have to pay to get up there any more but we used to blag our way in pretty easily.

    We also used to suttle up to Renaio (above Barga) and take various goat/foot paths back down.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    was in Garfagnana last autumn, it’s stunning.

    we took mountain bikes, and found great looking trails that were extremely overgrown.

    (most of the people who lived in the villages have moved down into the towns – the paths between the villages are still there, but noones used them for 50years)

    we had a look on the internet, and found loads of ‘mtb’ rides (gpx stuff) that consisted of 45k of road riding, for a 3k gravel road descent.

    i’m sure there’s plenty of ace mountain biking, but you’ll struggle to find it – it’s not like the alps where you can find a weeks worth of riding just by taking a chairlift, heading left/right, and looking for singletrack.

    we should have take our road bikes.

    Premier Icon Dogsby
    Subscriber

    CP,

    I was in Lucca for two weeks last year and took hte road bike. I did 500 or so kms and it was excellent. I also managed to ride the Stelvio pass on the way down which was outstanding.

    I picked up several routes from the Garmin website and downloaded them onto my Garmin 800 which was a good start point and then with some local assistance (from the villa owner) I found a few other routes and some really excellent hills. I have uploaded all of my routes so they should be available if you search.

    Dogsby

    rendo
    Member

    Does anyone happen to know of any locals/club rides I could tag on to? I went to Lucca years ago for a few days sans bike, and seem to remember reading about a club ride from a bike shop.

    There are a few good bike shops in Lucca and it might be worth asking there. There is a similar culture to the UK (except on a grander scale), if you go out on sunday morning there will be lots of cyclists out.

    I had a memorable ride out of Lucca towards Florence, there is a nice climb from Empoli via vinci towards pistoia/montecatini. Go on sunday morning and it will feel more like a sportif due to the number of cyclists.

    Premier Icon cp
    Subscriber

    cheers folk. Decision made – road bike it is. I want most miles with the convenience of leaving from the front door. A ‘warm up’ to the bigger hills/mountains sounds ideal 🙂

    Squidward
    Member

    As said above there is a great road scene out of Lucca and lots of road ride potential from the city. You will have a ball on the road bike there.

    However, you are only 45 minutes drive from Castelnuovo, from which there are days and days of the most stunning singletrack you could ever wish to ride in the chestnut forests nestled under beautiful hilltop villages. There are well marked hiking trails that can be picked up from maps and some gps routes, but the real gems are the small singletrack walking paths that link hill top villages. You could rely on research and luck to find them but would benefit from a locals up-to-date knowledge to both find and link them up into great days of riding.

    So to make the most of your riding time there I’d suggest you get in touch with a local guide Rupert (rupert@garfagnanaadventures.com) who is based just outside of Castelnuovo. He’s a great fella and runs garfagnanaadventures.com and should be able to show you the trail highlights there whether it be for one to eight days, guided or self guided.

    I’ve been all over Europe, the states, the himalayas and Australia looking for idyllic singletrack. The trails of Garfagnana are that special I’m going again myself in June.

    Squidward
    Member

    and a taste of the type of singletrack riding there you can do in May is here

    mashiehood
    Member

    +1 for rupert – he’s a top fella and a cracking guide / rider. Be prepared for some epic trails (up and down)

    Premier Icon cp
    Subscriber

    ooof. curveball….

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