Q. Is wireless internet available at the Italian Cycling Center?
A. Our base hotel is an internet cafe with wireless internet in the bar and in all the rooms. There is also wifi at the Residence where most of our riders stay. Pay a small fee at the front desk and you will be given a password so that you can use it.
Q. Would you give more details about available accommodations?
A. We have a residence and a hotel in which we accommodate our guests.
The Residence is similar to a hotel but it is meant for longer stays than one would normally have at a hotel. Many of its rooms have kitchen facilities and there are some mini-apartments with two rooms. Unless otherwise requested, we accommodate our guests at the Residence, where the bike room is located and where most of our riders prefer to stay. The Residence is located in a residential neighborhood, 700 yards from our base hotel and the restaurant in which we eat. The Residence is more tranquil than our hotel, whose dining room often entertains large parties of exuberant diners.
Our base hotel, located on the village piazza, is where one arrives to check in, where we enjoy the Prosecco hour before dinner, where we have our meals, and where we start our morning rides. Non-cycling guests sometimes prefer to stay here so they won’t have to walk to meals. Cycling guests, however, ride their bikes to breakfast and lunch, and enjoy the after-dinner walk back to the Residence to help them digest their abundant dinner.
Both the Residence and our base hotel are located in a lovely vertical village on the lower slopes of Monte Grappa. The village offers a variety of stores, two banks, two barbers, a bakery, a beauty salon, a pharmacy, a post office, a masseuse, and bus service to Bassano, all easily accessible on foot.
Q. When is the best cycling weather at the Italian Cycling Center?
A. We limit our season to the months when the weather is good for cycling, so you can always expect decent weather. Of course, the weather is never entirely predictable. We once had a heat wave in May, and on occasion it has been cool enough to wear tights at low elevation in August. We are in a fairly dry region and usually we lose only two or three days of riding due to rain in our five month long season. Also, because of the nearby mountains, the rain is usually in the afternoon or at night, so it doesn’t interfere with our rides. July and August are the driest months and those with the least traffic on the roads.
Q. When is the best time to cycle in the Veneto?
A. Our favorite time is early May, before the summer season has arrived and life is normal in Italy. The corn is just coming out of the ground, poppies are in bloom everywhere, and cuckoos are passing through on their migration north. July and August are favorite months because they have the best weather and the least traffic. Of these two months, August has the least traffic because most businesses are closed and many people are on vacation somewhere else.
Q. My wife and I are interested in visiting your center in May but are concerned that the weather may be too cool and rainy or snowy at the higher altitudes.
A. Spring weather being unpredictable, there is always a risk of inclement weather in the mountains in May. However, snow and cold weather are more likely to be a problem in September than in May, which is usually a temperate month. May rains blow away quickly, so that if it rains in the morning the afternoon is usually clear and beautiful. If foul or cold weather threaten at higher elevations, we don’t go there. There are climbs on our other routes, so it is always possible to do lots of climbing.
Q. How much in advance do I need to make a reservation to still be able to get my dates?
A. We can’t predict when our facilities will be fully booked. Mid-May to mid-June and September are usually the busiest periods for us. However, we are not the only guests at these popular facilities. We have shared them with groups of German-speaking parasailers, car rally crews, Ducati motorcycle rally participants, Alpine troop reunions, and groups of European cyclists. When the Giro d'Italia, or other cycling events, are nearby, our hotel and every other hotel for miles around, fill up with cycling teams. The best advice that we can offer is to make your reservations as early as you can. We require only a token deposit of $100.
Q. Rather than go through the hassle of taking our bikes to Italy, can we rent bikes from you?
A. Yes, we can provide good quality road bikes with aluminum, carbon fiber, or chrome-moly tubing frames. Triple or compact cranksets provide low gears for the mountains. To arrange to have a rental bike when you arrive, email Patricia at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. Can we ship our bikes ahead by UPS or FedEx?
A. It is possible but not recommended. Unless you have special connections, shipping your bike by a commercial carrier from outside the European Union is very expensive. There will be duty and other charges of several hundred dollars levied on your bike and case when they arrive in Italy. The charges for shipping from the U.S. do not include this duty, and I doubt if the shipper even knows what happens on the Italian end. Someone must pay these additional charges for you before the shipper will leave the bike at our hotel.
Q. We would prefer to ride on our own rather than with the group. Can you provide maps of your routes so that we can tour them on our own?
A. We can provide you with the best local maps available. They are useful to keep you oriented and to enable you to find your way around when you ride on your own. However, they don't show all the roads and are not detailed enough to be used to follow our intricate routes. Our routes have been developed over many years of riding in the area. They take advantage of the most suitable roads for cyclists, avoiding traffic and maximizing scenery. You will have a more successful ride, and a richer experience, if you ride with the group rather than on your own. In addition, the ride leader will be available to answer your questions and explain local culture, history, and art.
However, if you have a Garmin from the Edge 1,000, 800, or Touring series that displays maps and allows you to follow a route, we can download one of our routes on it. The Garmin will show a map with street names, intersections, and your location as you move along. The device will indicate when a turn is coming up and will notify you if you miss the turn. It will suggest an alternate path to get you back on your route if you have gone very far past the turn. If you have never followed a route on your Garmin, learn how to do it before you arrive so that you have a smooth ride here.
Q. My wife would like to do some touring and shopping in Florence after our stay and we would like to travel light without bikes. Do you have any suggestions?
A. We will be happy to store your bikes and cycling gear, or just the bike cases, until you are ready to leave Italy. If you get "museumed out" while touring you can always cut your trip short and return to the camp to cycle for a few more days. If you are flying out of Venice, it may be convenient for you to spend your last night in Italy with us to pick up your bike and take advantage of our airport shuttle service. You can also ship your bikes to Florence by train and store them at the train station.
Q. I have a 7 a.m. flight out of Venice. Should I spend the night in Venice or can I get transportation to the airport at 4:30 a.m.?
A. It will be easier for you and your bike to get to the airport from our hotel than to get there from a hotel in Venice. Our airport shuttle service is available 24 hours a day.
Q. How can I be sure that I am getting the best room in the house?
A. You can’t be sure on your first visit with us, but you can check out all the available rooms and then request the one you like the most. Remember the room number and ask for that room when you sign up on subsequent visits.
Q. At what time does the eight o’clock ride start ?
A. The eight o'clock ride leaves at 7:55 a.m., and sometimes even few minutes earlier if we have a long ride scheduled. We like to be sure that we have enough time to be able to complete the ride and be back in time for lunch.
Q. What are the traditional mistakes that all but the most seasoned American travelers make when they take a vacation abroad?
A. They try to do too much in the time they have available, and they take too much luggage.
Q. Do they ever serve a bad meal at the your hotel restaurant?
A. Yes, but only on special order.