ChronoPlus Blog: for biking enthusiasts

The True Italian Cycling Experience – What Our Guests Say

The True Italian Cycling Experience – ChronoPlus

Jonathan Chow, an anesthesiologist from California, comes to Italy every year and has been doing so for 9 years! He has just participated in The Strade Bianche Bike Tour 2019 and will be coming again for his annual May visit– he can’t get enough!! Jonathan kindly agreed to be interviewed so he could share his feelings on the true Italian cycling experience he has had with us over the years.

Why I Love visiting Italy

I’ve been to Italy many times, this recent trip has been a unique experience. When I visit places I’m always looking for authentic adventures, I don’t want to travel to a country as a tourist, as soon as I touch Italian ground, I want to feel Italian. I want “la vera Italia”, the true sense of what people are, the true sense of what the food and the wine is, the true Italian culture. The warmth and the friendship is so genuine that there’s no doubt that it is sincere and comes from the heart. This is what Paladino and Gabriele have managed to create for me during this visit.

ChronoPlus Cycle Tours – The Complete Italian Experience

I’ve travelled with many tour companies and each one has their own philosophy. Some just isolate you while others let you run wild. What ChronoPlus has managed to do is to find the right balance, by not making me feel like an “American in Italy” but an “American among Italians”. They act as a type of bridge between Americans and Italians.

For example, their careful attention with regard to the choice of restaurants. This type of eating experience will appeal to those who’ve been everywhere and experienced many levels of cuisine. This is just the right combination of authenticity and level, the correct balance: not Michelin, not café. You actually feel like an Italian being served the best Italian food and wine. I feel that having Gabriele and Paladino with me is like having your Italian cousins looking after you.

Logistics

Talking about the important aspect of logistics on a bike tour, Giacomo, experienced mechanic and masseur, and Paladino and his tech team do a great job and even more so for the serious cyclist. The bike set-up, bike fixing, the care in technicalities and preparations are downpat. Nothing is left to chance. The client doesn’t have to worry about having anything, it’s all there for you. Just bring your helmet and preferred pedals. It’s a smooth operation!

Accommodation and more

The Hotel in Lucca? Wow, what can I say. Great experience, great service. A four star superior hotel hidden inside the walls of Lucca. Keeping the traditional style on the outside, but bringing it to a top modern up to date level inside. An important aspect I would like to note during the bike tour and something that meant a lot to me, was the excellent laundry service provided by ChronoPlus, a very nice touch. It’s often a problem when you’re travelling and I honestly can’t think of another tour company who does this.

Strade Bianche

The ChronoPlus Strade Bianche Bike tour has been fantastic!

The hotel they chose was very unique and right on course. Being able to pre-ride the Strade Bianche was invaluable as most US riders don’t cycle roads like these with road tyres. It helps incredibly to test it out first. For the actual Strade Bianche race, I was not used to the aggressiveness of participants, I learned to know my limits, not to chase these riders, not to go in blind, not to get caught up in the moment. I simply enjoyed the amazing experience. Granfondos in Italy are twofold: for those there to race or those who want an easy experience. The Strade Bianche is exactly this type of negotiable event, I chose the shorter route and with C+ I was able to absorb the unique beauty and white roads of the Strade, I also occasionally stopped to take some pictures to capture what will become great memories, reminding me of the beauty my eyes came across.

The arrival of the Pros in Siena was a highlight made even more special by the perfect vantage point ChronoPlus obtained access to. The energy and intensity of the crowd was superb. This tour was an event into an event, a real treat. ChronoPlus’ smooth logistical handling made it easy to enter into the Granfondo Strade Bianche Race, not something clients could manage on their own as you need all kinds of paperwork, race ID, formal documents, medical certificates etc. etc. You need full Italian language for this! Again, ChronoPlus introduced us to their favourite restaurants – different, traditional and that word again, unique!  A culinary delight.

Lucca and its Pro Cyclists

Lucca is such a cool place for cycling. If you’re into the whole pro cyclist scene, then you’ll see Pala waving down and chatting to many of them on the roads around Lucca. He knows so many pros on the road. This is a cycling paradise for professional riders and is where they live and train in the months between their big races. This is very special for all cyclists. Over the years I’ve been coming here I’ve met Ben King, Ethiopian climber Daniel Teklehaimanot (who used to live here!) and the Italian Champion Fabiana Luperini – What special opportunities these are.

Ask Existing Clients

On a closing note, Jonathan urges potential clients to talk to existing clients – the people who know the true ChronoPlus experience. He absolutely includes himself in this and would be delighted to communicate his experiences to anyone who wants to listen. ChronoPlus have many client contacts all over the world. Services can be conveyed well online but there’s nothing like talking to someone who has first-hand knowledge of what Jonathan describes as “the true Italian cycling experience”. Your friends at ChronoPlus look forward to seeing you again in May Jonathan!

If you have any questions or would like further information about his experiences you can contact him by email:

jonchow@gmail.com

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Ready, Set, Go! – Strade Bianche Bike Tour 2019

The build up to our cycling tour, the Strade Bianche Bike Tour was so exciting, finding the right words to describe just how amazing this Italian experience was, is not easy.

Guest arrival in Lucca:

After the various pick-ups at the airport, we convened with our new and old friends at the Palazzo Dipinto, the magnificent 4 star Hotel inside the walls of Lucca.

After our guests settled into their rooms, it was time for bike fitting.  We then set off to walk through the beautiful streets of Lucca, direction ChronoPlus Headquarters in Corso Garibaldi where you will also find our bike shop, selected as the finest in town by Cycling Tips!

A great scene awaited our guests at the bike shop, on opening the door, their eyes lit up at the sight of 10 Cervèlo R5 DA DI2 Black/Graphite.

Paladino and the team were on the ball and our guests were soon testing the Cervèlos on the 500 year old walls of Lucca.

With the bikes ready and our cyclists sporting their personalised jerseys, we headed out for our Sgambatella, a 35 km ride around the hills of this magical region, Tuscany.

By 20:00, showered up and changed, we were ready for relaxing over some great Italian food & vino. The ChronoPlus team chose a great restaurant that offers the best traditional dishes in town.

Off to Siena:

Suitcases packed, a nutritional breakfast downed and bikes waiting in the van, we were ready to leave for Siena, the town that hosts the unique GranFondo Strade Bianche.

The ChronoPlus Team worked hard to locate the best accommodation for our long weekend in Siena and after visiting a few locations, we selected a 5 star resort.  Our guests were mesmerized when they saw this once medieval village, nestled in the Tuscan countryside, surrounded by incredible views over rolling hills and cypress trees. 

The smiles of our friends’ wives, attracted to this event for its magnificent location, said it all on seeing the this incredible resort’s Spa, an oasis of wellbeing and regeneration among the green Tuscan hills.  The location was perfect set right in the centre of the Strade Bianche stage, so while the ladies prepared for relaxing, we prepared for cycling.  It was fantastic to be able to test the stage out to know what was ahead!

 

In the evening we headed off for dinner and was treated to, let me say, one of the best dinners I’ve had in a restaurant near Siena. This great restaurant uses recipes passed down by Nonne (Grandmas) and Zie (Aunties), handwritten in small notebooks, the pages faded and sometimes stained with oil from the old days. In situations like these, the best option is to be their guest and let them bring what they think their best dishes are. From the homemade pasta to the Famous Bistecca Fiorentina, finished off with homemade cantuccini dipped in vin santo, was like being in a culinary paradise for the evening.

 

It’s the Pros Day:

We rose early, and participated in a nice morning ride before the Pros got cycling.  Even though the race passed under our resort, we decided to venture into the centre of Siena.

The city was bustling with life. There was an exciting atmosphere and a real Italian feel to the place, with the sound of music flowing through the streets and the aroma of coffee in the air.

More the 5000 people turned up for the event.

After visiting the town and stopping for a Panino of home made bread and typical food ingredients from the area, we went looking for the best spot to see the arrival of the pros.

What a race!

We had a light dinner that evening in another lovely restaurant and then retired to bed for the big day ahead of us.

Ready, Set, Go!

The day of this spectacular bike race was here, and we were all ready for it.

Standing amidst all those people was an incredible feeling  We were surrounded by so many different expressions, you could read on people’s faces who was there for some fun and who was there to conquer the race.

Our main goal was to have a good time and to stick together as a group, knowing though that all of us wanted to give our best.

When we heard Ready, Set, Go! We were off!

When we arrived at the Strade Bianche stage, we got a very cool feeling.  It seemed like a battle between man and his bike on this white bendy road.  You find yourself pushing hard with your eyes concentrated on wheels that are slipping on white gravel, but by raising your head to see the beautiful surroundings, and with a push or a “forza” from a friendly stranger on another bike , you get to the end.

Once we got back to our resort, Giacomo, our professional masseur, was ready to do his magic with a great professional post-ride massage.

 

Back to Lucca:

On Monday morning , the main topic around the breakfast table was of course, the race.  Everybody was delighted with their own personal result.  Each of us had their own story to tell about the Strade Bianche experience.

By 11am we were back in Lucca and everybody settled back into their room at the Palazzo Dipinto.  Some then went for a walk around Lucca, others had a small siesta.

We met again at the Bike Shop before leaving for a muscle recovery bike trip, pedaling around the flat areas in Lucca.

In the evening, we dined at a great restaurant in the heart of Lucca.

The next day, we returned to some serious cycling.  We heading up towords Pizzorne on a 65 km ride 1000mt above sea level, pedaling through some charming medieval villages.  Nature decided to gift us with the most amazing views of mountains and in the far distance, of the sea. A great moment to be remembered for our guests.

Grazie & Arrivederci friends:

In today’s world, where people have little free time,  an experience like this can give you so much.  A longstanding client and friend of ours that took place in this event said: “ Life has been so chaotic lately in California, if you get to see your friends 3-4 times a year, you are lucky.”- watch out for his upcoming interview on the strade bianche bike tour in our next blog post. We were so happy to see the smile on his face during this tour – that’s why we do what we do.

It’s all about creating great experiences and getting people smiling.

We are so pleased with how this Pop up Tour went that we are already planing a Strade Bianche Bike Tour 2020.

For more information, email us at info@chronoplus.com

Ciao a tutti from the C+ Team.

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Pedaling gets minds moving – Strade Bianche Bike Tour

Pedaling gets minds moving – Strade Bianche Bike Tour:

This Bike Tour in Tuscany was not planned for this 2019, until one sunny winter day, when pedaling towards the Cappella, Gabriele and Paladino, co-founders of ChronoPlus, minds got moving.Once they rode to the top of the 8 Km steep hill – a favourite of ours for our winter training camp – they stopped, took in the view and started sharing ideas. It was clear to them that it was time to pull out a surprise, by creating a pop-up Bike Tour.

How the event became Official:

A few calls were made by Paladino and in a few days the bike tour was overbooked! From the first day excitement grew around this unique event.

The ChronoPlus Team changed gear. Emails and messages were sent, calls were made. Our graphic designer Francesca came up with some great digital material. In two weeks the idea had become Official.

Strade Bianche Bike Tour 2019 here we come.

Where the event takes place:

Since 2007 the growth of this granfondo has been enormous. In just a few years the event has acquired great fame. The race takes part in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Siena. We will be riding on the country lanes and farm tracks, twisting through the hills and vineyards of the Chianti region.

History of the event:

All this excitement got me thinking and wondering about the history behind this race however there is not much history before 2007. I did come across “the forgotten 120 year history of the Strade Bianche” article wrote by Chris Fontecchio. I found myself hypnotised by it’s content, great article full of incredible stories.

In bocca al lupo to all it’s participants:

The Strade Bianche is for sure a spetacular bike event to take part in and for this reason we wish everyone that will be present, a great day. Enjoy cycling in Tuscany and don’t let the day finish without tasting the amazing food and vino.In bocca al lupo from the C+ Team.

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Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer

What an adventure! We were so delighted to go on a cycling tour with our new stunning friends from Dublin. There is something bonding about sharing time on a cycling holiday. After a nourishing breakfast we hopped on our bikes heading to S. Gennaro and Valgiano, two enchanting villages which are part of a thriving cooperative community of biodynamic vineyards and farms.

Autumn cycling tour in Tuscany - ChronòPlus

 

There’s an interesting article by The New York Times which appeared in October, which perfectly describes the beauty of this area and  explains how the local farmers produce natural wines adopting a chemical-free biodynamic system. While riding we usually stop to visit the farms and the ancient villas scattered in the beautiful countryside for a wine tasting.

 

 

We continued our exciting cycling tour pedalling along the peaceful roads around Pieve S. Stefano, well-known for its ancient parish. We then pedalled downhill along a exhilarating descent named Piccolo Mortirolo.

On another tour we went to  Brancoli along idyllic country roads lined with olives and vineyards that overlook the river Serchio.

How wonderful it was to stop under a persimmon tree, pick up a ripe persimmon and eat it on the spot!

 

Another unforgettable bike trip was when we went to the seaside for a dip in the blue and endless sea in Forte dei Marmi and how delicious  the focaccia was!

 

To us, these experiences are just as luxurious as posh hotels and gourmet restaurants. We love the simple, genuine moments that we collect every time on our cycling tours here in Italy.We truly believe that the most simple things-with the right people- can bring the most happiness in life.

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Cycling tours in Italy 2019

Full Italian cycling tours

2019 is a new year with new places to explore, new things to experience and new people to meet. So where will you go?

We have designed some truly mind-blowing cycling tours in the most beautiful parts of Italy.

We also have a lot of surprises in store for you in fact we have created the ultimate blend of cycling, art, culture, and fine dining which perfectly represents our idea of full Italian cycling tours.

For a perfect cycling holiday, you definitely need a perfect accommodation and for this reason we have thoughtfully selected the best B&Bs, three star hotels, four star superior hotels, and villas to meet anyone’s expectations.

We are able to accommodate almost anything our guests desire such as a yoga session, a cooking class, a private in-house chef or a masseur.

Our cycling tours focus on exceptional culinary experience, notable wines, high-end Pinarello bikes and full van support. The price of our bike tours is inclusive so our guests feel supported and looked after to the full. We’ll pedal across a stunning landscape full of ancient villages that still mantain their feeling of remote authenticity and we’ll experience endless combinations of untouched natural beauties. Our guests will have the chance to have professional post- ride massages and go behind the scenes at a winery.

We are fascinated by local character and we have set ourselves the goal for every itinerary to always show our guests how much authentic character you can find if you are told where to look.

We owe a lot of our success to the expertise of our cycling guides in fact they have found the best roads, and musts to see and do in the area to offer our guests the top in ameneties and services. Our helpful and knowledgeable tour guides are locals and nobody knows the area and the best routes better than they do. When you ride with them you’ll discover enchanting getaways and recharge in stunning settings that you wouldn’t have found by yourselves. They will always put your safety and needs first and ensure that your cycling holiday experience is stress-free. They’ll introduce you to lifelong friends in their hometowns and will bring you into their kitchen to make pasta or local dishes. Living life like the locals will enhance your cycling holidays in fact not only you’ll get a unique insight into a culture different from your own, but you’ll get to meet interesting people as well. You’ll get to see a side of Italy not everyone travelling from another country will have the chance to see. Travelling is undoubtly one of life’s greatest pleasures, learning about foreign cultures and pushing the boundaries of our personal comfort zone are things that will make the effort rewarding and your cycling holiday in Italy one of the best ones in your life.

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Gino Bartali Hero Event

An amazing cycling tour along the Italian cycling legend Gino Bartali’s route

Gino Bartali is famous for being one of Italy’s greatest cycling legends winning the Giro d’Italia in 1936 and in 1937 and the Tour de France in 1938. His victories meant national pride and fascist prestige to Benito Mussolini, the country’s fascist leader. For these reasons Gino Bartali became immediately a national hero and soon had to get used to living in the spotlight. However Bartali – who was also known as the Pious because he was a devout Catholic – had a secret – a secret he kept for almost his life. 

A huge number of Jews escaped to Florence in 1943 when the Nazis occupied several northen and central parts of Italy. In Florence the rabbi turned to the Cardinal of Florence for help. The Cardinal asked Bartali to join a secret network which involved saving a large number of Jewish refugees carrying out anastonishing fake ID operation. Gino Bartali bacame a courier and travelled thousands and thousands of miles, riding from Florence to Lucca, Genoa, Assisi and Rome, carrying fotographs and counterfeit identity documents thanks to which the Jews could avoid persecution. All the documents were hidden in the frame and the handlebars of Gino Bartali’s bicycle and when the police stopped him he asked not to touch his bike since the different parts had been perfectly calibrated to achieve maximum results. He is believed to have helped at least 800 Jews escape the Nazis. The route he took has become legendary and it will always be a reminder of Bartali’s heroism during wartime. He was awarded with the Honour Righteous Among the Nations in 2013.

ChronoPlus in co-operation with the Israel Cycling Academy is organizing some unique cycle events in tribute to Gino Bartali which will take place next May 2019. Further information will be online in the following weeks. Partecipants will be cycling in Italy in some ofthe most beautiful regions (Tuscany and Umbria) riding along the route taken by one of Italy’s greatest heroes and will have one of their best cycling holidays in their lives.

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Cycling Tour and Team Building

A Swedish company, leader in the all-in-one brand newsroom and multimedia public relations platform, has chosen ChronòPlus’s cycling tours for the team bulding of its management team. The bike trip was custom built for the group who wanted to combine work with sport, recreation and relaxation moments. Mia, Kris, Andreas and the other managers, at the end of their experience, told us that after taking part in the cycle events organized by ChronòPlus, they focused more on the projects theywere called to discuss about during these 4 days.

Below are the reviews of the participants to one of the bike tours  we organized  in Tuscany:

“Gabriele, Paladino & Fabiana, thank you so much for a wonderful week and for taking care of some of us cycling first timers. You guys truly have a winning concept thatso many people must experience – stronger, smarter and happier! I’m sure many of us will be back.”

“Thanks for all new great memories I’ll bring with me! You have also shown some of the best sides of Italy, so you should apply for some money from Italian touristdepartment J. Your hospitality and the experience you’re providing is blowing the charts…”

“Paladino/Gabriele, thank you so much for another fantastic ride! It was great ending to a wonderful week! And thanks again to Fabiana for dragging us up the Monte Serra yesterday.”

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Professional riding guide - ChronòPlus

A Champion Team

We are pleased to announce that former World Champion and Professional Cyclist Fabiana Luperini has joined the ChronòPlus team.  … Read More

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Daily post-ride massages for the best performance

Massage is part of the ChronòPlus team approach. A good massage helps reduce muscle pain after a hard workout and really can make a difference to a rider’s attitude and performance. The time spent after you hop off your Pinarello bike is just as important as the time spent on your saddle. Post ride massages help you to prevent injury, relax your muscles, recover faster, improve circulation, calm your nervous system and relieve pain. Ride with us throughout Tuscany like never before and feel better with our team of experienced therapists in our exclusive locations.

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Pedalare in Toscana - ChronòPlus

TuscanyPeople interview

Get the latest TuscanyPeople news…today you’ll find a special article about our passion for cycling. Read here

Read More

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