In a heart-to-heart chat with our extraordinary resident Sardinian guide, Renato Matta, he shares a bit of his story. He recounts, in his words, how he fell into leading bike vacations, and eventually joined the Ciclismo Classico Team. Renato paints a wonderful picture of his beloved island, Sardegna, igniting and enthralling us all with his unsurpassed energy and immense pride for his home on this unique, soulful island.
Cover photo: Renato Matta poses with 104-year old cyclist Tziu Giuliu in their native village San Sperate, Sardinia
"As long as I can remember, I’ve always had a bike at home, probably my most favorite toy for many years. At the age of 14, I discovered my first road bike (a very cheap one) and it gave me great pleasure to explore the places around my hometown and further away. While enjoying this freedom I also learned how to take care of my precious two-wheeled vehicle, learning basic mechanics.
When I was 18 years old, I got my first mountain bike and a whole new world opened up to me. I’m so lucky to live in Sardinia, a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, a huge natural park–perfect for every outdoor activity. It's actually a never-ending story; an exciting treasure hunt. Every corner, forest, valley in Sardinia has a story to tell and you can get lost in the memories of those living there; men as old as some of the stone houses they live in...but as gentle and hospitable as the golden sand of Sardinia's beaches.
I've done some racing, both cross country and downhill, but my most precious time is really just riding in the wilderness, at peace with myself or having fun with friends. Now after 18 years as a full time guide, and over 150 tours––I've re-discovered the road bike again.
In 1999, I started organizing excursions for friends and little groups, when by coincidence I met a new tour operator searching for guides in Sardinia and I started with enthusiasm to be a guide. At that time, I was a self-employed accountant, super busy and stressed, so for me to do two or three tours a year was a perfect stress relief and a way to reconnect myself with my soul. After a few years, the number of trips increased until it became obvious that it was the right time and oppportunity to change my life's work in a very positive way.
Renato with guests on our Savor Sardinia Bike Tour
Three years ago, when I was introduced to Ciclismo Classico I was relieved to finally find a company that shared my vision of what a bicycle vacation is all about. It's the best way to combine travel, a new way of seeing things, intimately experiencing places by bike–through the tastes, smells, the antiquated and time-honored places and voices of the people that have lived there and who, over millions of years, have figured out how to transform nature's gifts into pure enjoyment and a feast for the senses.
I’ve seen many beautiful places, but probably my favorite is still my beautiful island and home, Sardegna. To travel by bike, take in the variety of landscapes and environments, the stunning views, the climate, the people, and the great food...Sardinia is the best choice for bike vacations.
Renato on tour with guests and Ciclismo Classico co-leader Jacopo Montobbio
Aside from my unconditional love for cycling, what I also really appreciate about my job is meeting people and sharing my passion with them. Over the years and through guiding I’ve met so many people who have become friends of mine and all of them have enriched my life in many ways.
And, well, I guess I’m still in search of new friends!"
Renato lives in Cagliari, Sardinia with his wife Enrica and their three-year old son, Francesco.
Find out more about our popular Savor Sardinia tour and stay tuned for other biking vacations led by Renato Matta.