On July 20, I joined 21 other bikers on a grueling 500-mile bike tour through Italy. Oh no, wait, that wasn't us! That's right, we rode 200+ miles on mostly flat terrain! Although, the last 2 days did become challenging. And only a handful or so brave souls ventured into the Apennines. While others chose to venture into the stores to shop! Taking a bike tour though Italy, was an incredible way to see the countryside. The views from the mountains were breathtaking. The townspeople were friendly and the towns were charming. By biking from Venice to Florence you get to experience life in various small towns that you wouldn't ordinarily get to visit. Each town had its only special charm and allure. That made it difficult to decide on which town was my favorite.

The best part of the trip was that I got to combine my three loves…food, shopping & what is the third? Oh yea, biking! Speaking of food, I don't know if after a day of biking, your senses were heightened, but everything tasted so much better than other Italian food you ate in the states. I believe it really was more sumptuous. It was like a religious experience.

The tour group that organized this trip was Experience Plus (www.experienceplus.com). They sent along 3 knowledgeable guides, Carlo, Alessandro and Mariangela to accompany us. They were terrific. Very patient and sweet.

My co-horts on this adventure were a great group of people from various states and Canada and from very diverse backgrounds, which made the trip that much more fun. Everyone was extremely supportive and encouraging of one another. And everyone seemed to get on well with the others. All in all, it was a fantastic experience. I would like to thank the makers of Camelbak and the manufacturers of my padded underwear and shorts, without whom , I wouldn't have survived! I hope to go again, somewhere interesting on a bike trip next summer.

Thanks to "Dr. Jonz", my webmaster, I have posted some pics from my trip. Please feel free to view them, sign the guestbook, respond to the forum, send me your pics and links to sites, etc. On the forum, please submit your "favs" for others to view.

Phyllis L. Barr

* The picture in the upper left hand corner of "At the Cycle - Race Track" by Jean Metzinger is from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

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