I’m Tim, originally from Sheffield but now living between a Tuscan town called Lucca and the Mediterranean flanked Italian riviera. I work as a cycling guide for all kinds of riders and am based at a bike shop in the historic walled centre of Lucca named chrono bikes.
Central/northern Tuscany is one of a few places in Europe (possibly the world) which appears to be tailor made for cyclists. The countryside undulates spectacularly and you can ride for 5 hours on the flat taking in the coast, vineyards, roman ruins and an abundance of medieval towns where the food is good but the wine is even better. Or..you can ride hard in the mountains for 10-12 km at 18% without a gradient change, descending through olive groves and villas dating back to the renaissance.
The pictures of me were taken on a famous climb in the environs of lucca named Monte Serra.
The Serra is legendary in Italy and amongst cyclists worldwide. Bartali, coppi and fiorenzi magni all trained on this mountain in the 50s and Marco Pantani set a record up the “test” road in the early 90s. Drafting behind dr.Cecchini on a vespa all the way up for ten km at times the gradient peaking at 22%.
There are three roads up Monte Serra. San Andrea in Compito, Calci and Buti. Buti is the test road, so called because the pros are often time trialling up this thas as the gradient is the most forgiving. Calci starts steep for the first 3/4km then levels out a little. San Andrea is the killer, you have to climb around 3 km at 10/12% before you even start the climb. The climb starts at 16% and hits 22% at the steepest point. In length it’s just over 10km but the writing on the road deceives you as it states its only 9.5. The picture is taken at the start of the San Andrea road. I’m told that an article on the Serra was recently published in Rouleur but I’ve not seen it so of anyone can convince Gian to send me a copy I’d more than grateful 😉
There are lots of spectacular rides out here and I will do my best to share them with you and hopefully get the opportunity to show some of you first hand in the future.
I trust you’ve all been out enjoying the English sunshine in the peaks and raising a glass to froome.