Last Sunday, I took a few heavy corn runs at Park City. It was in the mid-60s, and two runs were enough. The Salt Lake Valley reached 78F, and driving up and back, passed scores of cyclists.

I know I should be pedaling more, both for the sheer enjoyment of being on a bike and for its great health benefits. Another reason – the subject of this article – is that my wife and I have signed up for an e-biking tour of the Umbrian region of Italy with Inspired Italy, a longtime SeniorsSkiing.com advertiser.

A few seasons ago, Tim Hudson, one of the three Inspired Italy principals, guided us and a half dozen other skiers on a Ski Safari tour of the Sella Ronda region of the Dolomites. Without question, it was one of the most enjoyable skiing holidays we’ve had; eight days of slopes and trails through spectacular scenery, overnighting in small, on-mountain hotels with magnificent cuisine. Highly recommended to any skier or boarder seeking to one-up the same-old North American resort skiing scene.

Now, we’re planning to have an equally great guided e-biking experience in Umbria, a region in central Italy steeped in history and graced with a culture of fantastic food and wine.

E-bikes provide a silent electric assist when you need it.

If you’re not familiar with e-bikes, they provide a quiet electric assist when you need it. Over the next few months, we’ll be honing our e-bike chops with occasional local outings on rented and borrowed equipment. Seniors I know who have splurged for e-bikes report they would never return to their old ten-speeds.

Tim and his colleagues have assembled a fleet of high-quality equipment (not all e-bikes are created equally), complete with cushy gel seats to keep tushes from getting sore. And they’ve organized a variety of 5 to 7 night fully guided tours through several of Italy’s most scenic regions.

Like better known (and much pricier) outfitters, Inspired Italy transports client luggage between nightly destinations; elegant modern hotels housed in ancient monasteries, hunting lodges, mansions, etc. Many have pools, spas, and renown chefs. Some are in the center of ancient villages, others on their outskirts.

The tours include visits to vineyards, well-known regional restaurants, historic cathedrals, an ancient Roman amphitheater, a cooking lesson, etc. All of this breaks up the daily riding time, which never exceeds three hours.

Villa di Piazzano

Our 8-day tour starts at Villa di Piazzano in Cortona, near the Umbria/Tuscany border. Next morning, we’ll ride through the Niccone Valley and along the banks of the Tiber on our way to La Locanda del Capitano, an elegant small hotel in the heart of the ancient village of Montone, considered one of Italy’s most scenic.

La Locanda del Capitano

The following day we’ll cycle the trail of St Francis of Assisi, on our way to Gubbio, site a Roman ampitheater and Park Hotel ai Cappuccinia. Then onto Assisi – three hours of vast views and rolling hills; the day ending at Giotto Hotel & Spa in the center of town. We’ll rest in luxury there for two nights.

Giotto Hotel & Spa

Next we’re off to the village of Tavernelle di Panicale, where we’ll settle in at Villa Monte Solare, once an 18th Century luxury home; now a small hotel with spa, pools and scenic views.

The spa at Villa Monte Solare

On our final day of cycling, we’ll follow the shore of Lake Trasimeno, take a ferry to lunch on Isola Maggiore, and return to Villa di Piazzano, where we started, seven days earlier.

Over the entire route we’ll have ridden 15 hours and covered 165 miles. If this trip is anything like our Inspired Italy Ski Safari in the Dolomites, we’ll also have bonded with our tour mates. The entire experience (dinners not included) costs less than $3,400, per person.

As the corn turns to slush, I realize I’ve had my full share of turns this season. My job now is to get ready for e-biking in Umbria.

4 Comments

  1. Bernie Krasnoff says:

    For a trip like your planning Jon, an e bike makes sense. For most Seniors, I question the value of an e bike. Before buying an e bike, one should think about why we ride a bike. About to turn 80, I ride for the enjoyment of: exercise, “ seeing “ the beauty along the ride, exploring new trails / roads, wind in my face, feeling of accomplishment and at times comradeship. If I want to view something further than I can ride my bike, I use my car.

    Once past 70, my suggestion to all Seniors is “ we have nothing to prove “.

    I think bike manufacturers are creating a large market for e bikes – and therefore a larger market for bikes – by age old marketing strategies.

    Have fun, keep riding road/ mountain bikes as long as we can – with only our own pedal power!

  2. When is this bike trip? Is it available?

  3. Larry Culp says:

    On high end e-bikes you can tune down the assist to get a great workout, yet still avoid the grind of long, steep hills that simply aren’t worth doing any more.

  4. When is the trip, is there space available to join?

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