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Riding Bikes: The Perfect Special Occasion Trip

Posted by Carol Sicbaldi

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Looking for that perfect destination to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, family reunion, retirement or any other great life milestone?

In her own words, Ciclismo Classico three-time guest Melora Hutton shares her recent story of a very unique July family trip in one of Italy's best kept secret corners: the Sud Tirol, land of the Dolomites and some of the most beautiful scenery you've ever seen. This unique spot–and many others on the Ciclismo Classico map–provide a perfect backdrop for creating an unforgettable event.

"I first traveled with Lauren and Mauro in 1996 on the Tuscany & Enchanting Island of Elba trip. Lauren was pregnant with her first child, and had a camera strapped around her neck since she still took most of the Ciclismo Classico photos. Ten years later, I came back and traveled on the Assaggio Toscana trip (it was also the year Italy won the World Cup). What an experience that was! I was teaching by that time, and was traveling for a month in Italy with a fellow teacher. I cycled, but she didn't so we went our separate ways so I could join the Ciclismo group. I roomed with a lovely lady from New York who had lost her fiancé when the World Trade Center came down on 9/11. This trip was a huge part of her healing process (he was Italian).  Every time we saw sunflowers, I stopped and took her picture.
 
Since then, it has been my dream to bring my husband and children with me on a Ciclismo Classico family tour. Every year when the catalog arrives we pick a trip to dream about.  Well, now 22-years after my first tour, we decided this year was THE year. My husband retired recently, and we decided to finally take our dream vacation with our children on the Sud Tyrol Family. We adopted our boys from the Philippines 5 years ago, and we've been traveling with them ever since. Of course, I've been training our little boys as future cycling partners!
 
Our Ciclismo Classico guides really made
my son’s 14th birthday special 
 
 
We decided on the Sud Tyrol Roll because of the mileage (our kids are new to riding 10-speed bikes) and the cost as it was one of the very affordable family trips out there. Another appeal was ending at Lake Garda. We are water people, so being able to extend our trip to another part of the lake (Sirmione) was perfect for us. We also liked that we weren’t in a different location every day. That works so much better with kids. We were able to spend more time exploring places, instead of packing up and moving every day.
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(Left: The Hutton Family: Theodore and Nancy and their two sons Jinno and Jonel)
 
We thoroughly enjoyed the Sud Tyrol area. Most of the ride followed bicycle only paths along the many rivers of the area with the Dolomites as a backdrop. When we weren’t on the path we rode on farm roads through apple orchards. Our kids enjoyed the many museums: seeing Otzi the Ice man at the Archaeological Museum, the Mountain Museum with all the Buddhist artifacts, and the Science Museum were top notch. Since my husband and I couldn’t hike, we went to an adventure park for kids where they climbed, zip-lined, and clipped in and out of their carabiners–all on their own. That was a huge highlight.
 
Our Ciclismo Classico guides really made my son’s 14th birthday special. There was a cake with sparkler at breakfast, another cake from the manager of the Hotel Grief in Bolzano (she came to meet him when we arrived), and another sparkler cake at dinner. Our guides also immediately developed a rapport and friendship with our kids (ages 11 and 14) and spent time coaching them on their riding skills.  
 
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 We really appreciated how they put so much effort into accommodating us on the day we couldn’t hike.  My husband has a foot injury & my knee is pre-arthritic. We can’t hike anymore, but we can bike. Our final dinner in Riva del Garda was out of this world! Every detail at the restaurant was perfection, but the desert was unlike anything we had ever seen or tasted! Wow! We also appreciated how much information  our guides shared about their local area. We got to know the culture and the important history of this area. It helped us to understand this unique part of Italy.
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(Left: Ciclismo Classico guide Umberto Cena & Jonel)  
 
It's a great trip for a family reunion or
for families wanting to try out travel by bike
 
 
Highlights for the kids? They loved the pool at the hotel in Riva del Garda. They also loved the food. The restaurants, gelato spots–all were winners. The breakfast at Hotel Grief was impressive. We had seen in a guide book that it was rated the best breakfast in Italy and we agreed.  

I would highly recommend this trip to other families. The rides were very enjoyable and achievable for all the levels of the family.  We loved that it’s a part of Italy not many American tourists know about. It was a great way to immerse ourselves in this unique part of Italy. We have already talked about what we want to do next time we come back!
 
The biking was very doable. Next time we come, I’m thinking of asking more family members to join. It's a great trip for a family reunion or for families wanting to try out travel by bike.
 
After returning from Italy, we got in the car drove up to Idaho (we’re Californians) and rode some Rails-to-Trails. Our family can now bike anywhere together. That in itself is amazing.
 
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Jinno and Jonel: building life-long memories 
 
Thank you very much, Ciclismo Classico!"
 
Check out the full list of family vacations here.
 

family, sud tyrol, dolomites

Written by Carol Sicbaldi

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