The Italian Lakes Cycle is a 4-day, multi-stage cycle event, covering approximately 320 miles, from Milan, around the lakes of Northern Italy, finishing at the incredible Arena di Verona, in Piazza Bra, Verona. Cycle through the hills and along the water by day and spend your evening by the lakeside sampling the famous Italian hospitality. This event can be completed as a Charity Challenge, providing supporters with the opportunity to raise sponsorship for charity through their participation in the event, or for your individual enjoyment.
Day 1 – Arrive in Novara
On arrival in Novara, you can check into the hotel and spend your free time (flight-times dependent) exploring the hotel spa and amenities. You will meet the crew at registration together with details of the first days cycling. Your bikes will have arrived safely in advance and will be ready and waiting for you to start your challenge. As participants will be arriving throughout the day and evening, tonight’s evening meal is not included (dining facilities are available throughout the day and evening at the hotel).
Day 2 – Novara to Stresa
Approximate cycling distance 125km (80 miles)
Heading straight out into the countryside from the Hotel you can warm up your legs along flat, winding, country roads, as we head north toward the Lakes and mountains before a long sweeping downhill run that takes you to the first of your Italian Lakes – Lago Orta! Enjoy lake views as you follow its western shore before climbing up through mountain gorges to your second lake – Lago di Mergozza. Depending on your legs you can choose your afternoon’s route at this stage. Heading out together from lunch to the Nature Reserve ‘Fondo Toce’ you can either follow the route south, along the shore of Lago Maggiore or you can enjoy an afternoon of short, sharp uphill and technical downhills. The two routes meet up again in the beautiful town of Verbania, before cyclists take a leisurely ride back along the lakeshore to Stresa, where you can enjoy a drink and a dip in the pool at your lakeside hotel.
Day 3 – Stresa to Como
Approximate cycling distance 114km (71 miles)
This morning you follow the shore of Lago Maggiore. Stop for a coffee in Arona’s cobbled square before heading north along Maggiore’s opposite shore to Angera. Sitting under the gaze of Angera’s impressive hilltop Monestary, dangling your feet in the water, you can take a relaxing break before heading across country, where things start to get a bit hillier on your way to Switzerland! You will cycle past Lago di Monate and Lago Varese on your way to Lago di Lugano and the Swiss border. Shortly after crossing the border you will have lunch, where you can wander down to the lakeside to enjoy your meal. After lunch we continue along the lake-shore and back into Italy, enjoying some incredible switchbacks on our descent. Our next destination is Lago Como and the city of Como itself, where you can head up to the rooftop of your hotel to enjoy another well-deserved drink and a dip in the pool on the rooftop terrace.
Day 4 – Como to Lovere
Approximate cycling distance 138km (86 miles) or 160km (100 miles) – Madonna
Today is the day that you have trained for! Riding out of Como you will start to climb above the eastern edge of Lake Como, affording you the most spectacular views across the water. The smooth tarmac winds and dips along the lakeside and through quaint villages perched on the hillside, taking you all the way into Bellagio, where you will have your first drinks stop at the water’s edge and a chance to take coffee in the town.
At this point you have another choice today – if the undulations of the last 19 miles have been enough for you, you can continue along the lakeside, where the route flattens out, all the way into Lecco. Alternatively you can tackle the MADONNA! A cyclist’s pilgrimage, the Madonna del Ghisallo is named after the patron saint of cycling and climbs 500m at an average gradient of 9%, to a chapel and museum (with a café) at the top of the hill. For those who take on the challenge, you will be rewarded with an incredible descent over approximately 10 miles, where you will join the main route on your way toward Lecco.
After lunch and the challenges of the morning, you will have a long, flat spin out, to cover some distance between Lake Como and Lake Endine, to the East. As you reach the last 20 miles you will hit another climb, but will be rewarded with the most incredible views and sweeping switchbacks, as you work your way down to Lake Endine and over the last hill to Lake Iseo and your hotel for the evening.
Day 5 – Lovere to Verona
Approximate cycling distance 146km (91 miles)
Although today is a flatter route, we still have a fair distance to cover before we cross the finish line in Verona, so after breakfast we get our cleats back on and hit the road! We follow the eastern edge of Lake Iseo, making the best use of the cycle path, to get away from the traffic and enjoy the views over the lake. As we pull away from the lake, we wind our way between the vineyards, before reaching our first big hill and our lunch stop. Once over the crest of the hill, we can enjoy the descent, as we make our way to Lake Garda. Cycling along the lake’s edge, we cross small bridges and ride down cobbled streets, where you can stop for a coffee and watch the world go by. As we hit the final stretch toward Verona, you will start to feel the excitement of your journey coming to its climax. We will meet at a holding point and cycle the last few miles together, through the city streets, over the bridges and into the famous Piazza Brà, where you can celebrate with your team at the end of another successful Chapeau ride!
Day 6 – Departure Day
After a leisurely breakfast, the event comes to an end. Your bikes will be safely transported back to the UK leaving you hassle free to continue with your onward arrangements.
Chapeau Events reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
• Full bike transport from the UK and back, if required.
• All accommodation
• All meals except one as specified in the itinerary.
• Complete transport of luggage between hotels during the ride
• Full trip support including mechanics, first aid, drivers and full route support
• Water stops
• Celebration meal in Verona at the end of your ride.
• Flights and transfers, both inbound and outbound
• A bicycle
• Personal travel insurance
• Evening meal on day 1
• Drinks, personal items or entry to any optional tourist sites you may wish to visit.
• Remember to allow extra for drinks, snacks, souvenirs and other personal expenses.
• We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
What can I expect from your accommodation?
Accommodation is in 3-4* hotels, picked for their proximity to our route. All the hotels we choose are excellent with en-suite facilities, offering exceptional value for money; standards however may vary between the hotels. The price of this trip is based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own don’t worry, we will pair you up with somebody in a similar position. You can also opt for a single room, but this will incur a supplementary charge.
What food is included and does it cater for all diets?
Evening meals and breakfasts will be provided at the hotels, apart from the evening of day 1 as specified in the itinerary above. Lunches are provided by Chapeau Catering and are a generous buffet-style (hot and cold) with plenty of energy food to keep you going! In addition, we will provide refreshments at each cycle checkpoint of which there will be 2 each day, in addition to lunch of course and consisting of water, juices and high-energy snacks – 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. Chapeau can cater for all special dietary requirements provided you let us know well in advance of the trip.
What’s unique about Chapeau…why should I choose you?
Our events are tailored to you…our team have physically driven and assessed every mile of the route to ensure the safest and best possible route for your challenge, so rest assured you are in the safest hands. For example, this Italian Lakes route that we have set for you includes options on days two and four, as stated in the itinerary above. The specified routes include a choice of lakeside or hill climb cycling depending on how adventurous you are feeling on the day!
How fit do I need to be?
Chapeau events attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. You will be in the saddle for upward of 70 miles a day for 4 consecutive days, so you should ensure, as a minimum that you are comfortable riding a 60-70 mile day and have achieved this regularly before you leave for the trip. The profile on some days can be hilly, so you should include some hilly rides in your training. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace; this is not a race.
Who will be there to support me during the event?
Your trip will be led by experienced Chapeau Events crew. Our crew are selected for their experience in cycling events around the world, their friendliness and approach-ability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. Our crew leaders are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with the Chapeau Events crew.
The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip whether that’s transporting your luggage, ensuring your route is well-marked, sorting out any mechanical problems or giving you a lift in our back vehicle – our “Love bus”. At Chapeau Events we pride ourselves on our high crew: cyclist ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Will I be safe?
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, first-aid kits and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
What happens to my luggage each day?
Our support vehicles are with the group all of the time. All luggage and spares will be carried in them as we travel to each destination. On reaching our hotels, at the end of each day, you will hand over your bike for safe overnight keeping and collect your luggage. Each morning, you will hand over your luggage and collect your bike. Obviously space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kit-bag.
What insurance will I require?
It is a requirement of entry that you have adequate insurance to cover your participation on the event. We will require a copy of valid insurance before travel. We also recommend that you apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), as the NHS will cover most medical care when travelling in Europe. You can apply for an EHIC at your local post office.
Are flights and transfers to and from destination included?
No…we do not arrange any flights for this challenge, enabling you to take advantage of the many competitive fares between Italy and different UK cities.
The closest airport to the start of the ride is Milan Malpensa, which is about 45km away. A taxi from the airport to the Hotel costs approximately 60 Euros. In the build up to the event we will endeavour to match riders who are travelling with similar flight times, in order to organise a taxi-share and bring down the individual cost. Alternatively you can take the train from Malpensa Airport to Novara, where it is a 10km taxi ride to the hotel.
You will finish the event in Verona on Friday 15th Sept 2017, staying overnight that evening, in Verona. You should therefore arrange your return flights to be on Saturday 16th Sept 2017, or later if you choose to stay in Verona for the weekend. Nearest airports are Verona Villafranca, Milan Bergamo and Venice Marco Polo.
Will I receive further information?
Yes…a full detailed information pack will be issued following signed registration.