Michael Collins from Kent, went on our Liguria – Ride the Riviera mountain biking holiday here’s his story…
So how did my trip start……Well after going to my local shop biketart and looking at different frames, we decided to build my bike with the budget of just over a sensible amount 🙂 well after seeing sparkly stuff the budget went out of the window and I ended up with the bat bike.
After 2 weeks of waiting it arrived my Evil bike, now living by the coast the biggest down hill we have is a mild walk with lots of oldies in electric carts buzzing up and down, so what to do now…. Well a good friend said have you ever heard of Saddle Skedaddle they do bike trips, and after a late night / early morning of work I found them.
One phone call to Matt later I’m booked for 7 days in Italy, now do I rent a bike or take my own….. First off I paid to rent one then the next day I phoned up to say cancel that I’m taking my own. Just for all of you who are unsure where or not to do one of these trips, I would say this is my first of many from start to finish… it was a blast. So I land in Nice early in the morning and don’t have to meet everyone till later that afternoon so lunch in Nice it is. Now the butterfly’s kick in while standing in the airport with my bike all wrapped up in its nice padded bag.
And now slowly people start to arrive who are on the same trip (in my mind I am happy to find out it’s not all couples or pro riders) there is a buzz in the airport some have done a few of these trip and knew each other and a few of us where new to the whole thing. We had 3 guides who all turned out to have their own super powers… Gionata who turned out to be a crazy Sardinian wild boar who is made of stone, Christian a cross country rider who made amazing lunches, and ‘Super A’, a man who did not have an ounce of fat on him and rides a bike up hill like he is coming down hill oh and plays a mean set of drums.
So the transfer to the first accommodation in Alassio which turned out to be amazing place to stay and somewhere I’m going back to! and a husband and wife team with I believe it was two kids, one of which turned out to also be an amazing rider. That night we sit down to supper and start to get to know each other, supper menu is on a scroll so we all look and find what we think will be the perfect meal- how wrong can 11 people be….. Everything on the scroll is supper all 11 courses…..
Oh the other thing was the husband made his own red wine which he was happy to share and as much as you could drink he was happy to keep pouring well being Tee-total myself – no really ask any of then 🙂 anyway I think we all went to bed relaxed to say the least!!
Morning first day of the trip, unpack the bikes and put them back together, breakfast was another feast of eggs bacon, cakes, bread, fruit, teas, coffee, juices and it just kept coming…. Any way totally stuffed we head out on the bikes and maybe 30 mins into the ride we had our first casualty… Nainan one of the many who where clipped in, he had turned the corner at low speed but was unable to unclip in time and what seemed to be a nothing accident put him out for the rest of the trip with a broken thumb.
The first day was epic with technical downhills as well as ups (lots of ups) with a huge lunch and then after a full day of riding we stopped in the town for a well earned glass of beer (well you know me by now soft drink it was, no really) it was then back to the hotel for a quick change to the go down to the local town to watch super A and his band perform and again eat lots of nice food and I think the had a beer menu from around the world again for those who drank 🙂
The next fuzzy morning we had an amazing breakfast once again before another day of fantastic riding and more great food at lunch and supper. On the Wednesday we left Alassio to head for our final destination Finale Ligure.
Now Finale is very different to Alassio and I would say it’s the mountain biking hub and you feel very much at home with the rest of the mountain biking people milling around, the hotel we stayed at here was really just a stop gap for the days riding … a bed at the end of the days ride. The areas trails and tracks are very different again with lots of ups again and epic downs. We where lucky enough to be taken to the 24 Ore di Finale Ligure track for the once around, and this is something I would recommend to anyone visiting the area not to miss. I have to say our guides where great and knew the areas very well and we where looked after and we ate and drank like kings and queens – you know who you are :-)! If you think by booking one of these trips you will lose weight then sorry to say you will not as the amount of food is amazing and still surprises me that I could cycle each day.
To sum up my trip, the first day I realised that the 4 stars where not how good the trip was but the technical side of the holiday 🙂 and each day passed I became more confident of not only my new bike but the group around me. And would I do it again? In a heart beat, for so many reasons, the friends you will make, the memory’s you will take home ( and the bumps and cuts) and the stories and photos you can share with friends and family.
So advice time….if your not sure if it’s for you then trust me it is (unless your anti-social ) oh and ask advice about the trip as the stars are not like holiday ratings 🙂 I know am I doing another trip….. Try and stop me and a word to the group I went with – Jägermeister are on me ..ha ha ha!!