In our busy lives with family and work we have very little time to dedicate to our passions. If motorcycle touring is one of your passions don’t forgo it. Rely on someone professional to organise it for you. If you’d like to ride a motorcycle in Italy without any apprehension, let us do the work for you. We’ve been doing this for over 20 years now and know where to ride, where NOT to ride, what to see, where to eat, where to stay.
In an organised and guided tour you’ll have two people of CIMT with the group all the time, one on a bike and one in a support vehicle. Both will be bilingual English/Italian and both very experienced riders which know their way around and can assist you in making your riding so much more enjoyable and trouble free. Think about this:
a) you will have the benefit of a local rider with local knowledge. This does not only mean that the route is planned with the best of knowledge, but that you also benefit from the flexibility that a present knowledgeable rider can add in tackling unexpected events without disrupting the ride for everyone on the tour.
If a tour member is sick, the guide can seek immediate help. If a bike breaks down a guide can fix it, or rely on local contacts to get it fixed, or towed, in no time at all.
b) over the years a local guide latches a personal rapport with local people and places along the route which he’s willing to share in presence. It will be like being introduced to friends of your friends, and this can’t be done on a road book.
c) You’ll be riding with a friend not a policeman. Safety is important, of course, but fun and enjoyment also. You’re on holiday!
It’s absolutely true! A van is normally seen as a real luxury by bikers, and it is. It’s expensive. It means paying for someone’s time, someone’s food, accommodation, fuel and equipment. Normal bikers just load up their bikes and go. This works really well on a private ride, and when you have time to spare. On an organised tour there’s a small group of riders, who most of the time that don’t know each other from before the tour start, which have little time, want to enjoy the ride, and want to minimise the event of anything spoiling this enjoyment.
A support vehicle that can take the load of the luggage off your bikes, so that the ride is more enjoyable, and that can load up a bike for whatever reason, from a puncture to someone feeling unwell, is a blessing not an expense. It won’t disrupt the ride of anyone for very long and the group can continue on its ride without leaving anyone behind.
Imagine the following scenario. As simple as a not repairable puncture (slash in the sidewall) or a broken clutch lever. The group is without support van and no spares. The guide and the group will have to wait for a tow truck to pick up the bike (1 or 2 hours). What if the repair shops are closed at that time? Where will the tow truck take the bike? It will go to its depot and only later head for the tire shop. What if the tire shop opens in the morning? The depot will be local and not in the tour hotel town. What does the tour group do? Do they decide to leave the affected riders stranded with the tow truck in an unfamiliar place? Do they all hang around and lose precious riding time? What should the guide do? Guide the group, or stay with the damaged bike?
If there’s a chase van, the bike gets loaded in the van with the riders in no time at all. The group carries on with the guide on the bike. On the way to the tour hotel the second guide in the van gets the problem fixed. Everyone is happy. This can also apply for sickness. What if someone drops a bike and injures his collar bone or an ankle? Or just gets a bug and is so sick not to have the energy to ride safely?
The support vehicle plays a fundamental role in a guided organised tour, especially when the tour runs over a weekend and in remote areas. Look at it more as insurance with benefits instead of a luxury. Benefits because it can take your luggage in your suitcases. You can ride a bike without luggage and keep the extra space in the panniers for shopping, etc. If a pillion gets tired of riding on the back they can jump in one of the two available seats in the van.
This is not strictly true. Whilst riding in a group is always a compromise and most people on guided tours simply enjoy following the guide without thinking about anything else, you still can enjoy a great deal of riding freedom. If you are more adventurous and wish for more freedom in your ride, don’t discard guided tours immediately. There are still some excellent benefits for you.
(a) your luggage will be at the designated hotel – you just need to ride with your essentials
(b) in case of need our organisation will be at hand to help you out
(c) hotels are booked for you
(d) the guide will always be available for extra bits of information and tips
(e) great companionship at dinners and breakfast even if during the day you do your own thing and a different itinerary to the group
So apart from the general itinerary and hotels, you are completely free. In fact you have more freedom. You will be free of your heavy luggage and of constant search for places to stay with a close at hand travel consultant.
5) I am a really concerned about riding with people of different skill levels.
a) I really don’t want to be stuck behind a slow rider
b) I am a really conservative rider and don’t want to be holding anyone up on the ride
These concerns very often stop people from booking a guided tour with people they don’t know. So how does CIMT overcome this fear and offers everyone a fair ride within their own comfort zone?
Safety is of utmost importance to us, so everyone must have good levels of riding skills before they come to Italy. This doesn’t mean fast nor sporty. A good skill level means that you have the complete command of a motorcycle without endangering yourself or others in the process.
At the beginning of the tour everyone will be given a tour handbook with the complete itinerary and a map. Every evening there will be a briefing, over some drinks before dinner, about the following day, so all tour members will always have a fairly good idea of where we are heading on each day. An option is to split from the main group if riding together really doesn’t agree with you.
If instead you want to ride together and take full advantage of the guide’s presence, we normally let the fast riders run ahead of the group at their pace with the only rule that they must wait for the slower riders following suit at junctions, or viewing areas. The slower riders will be able to take all the time they need to cover the route without the pressure of someone constantly filling their mirrors and pressing them to go faster. The motorcycle guide will judge stretch by stretch when to let the faster guys run ahead of him and/or stay with the slower riders, and when to refrain the faster ones in places where navigation gets more complicated.
Day 1 is the tricky day where everyone gets to know each other’s riding style. By Day 2 you’ll have sussed out in which position you feel more comfortable.
Absolutely YES! The guide will make sure to stop in places where there are good photo opportunities and will make sure the group stays together when riders stop for pictures.
Pictures are important. Clearly, within reason, anyone on the tour is allowed to stop along the route to take a picture of something that caught his/her eye. In these cases, they should signal what they are doing to the riders behind him and let them overtake. He/She should also not take too long to take the picture.
A group ride is always a compromise and it goes both ways.
In the guided tour you get a professional motorcycle guide that will always be present through out the tour duration.
You will be able to follow a rider with local knowledge and bilingual (English/Italian) skills. He will also give you insights on local culture and history. And will be able to judge possible ride extensions, or short cuts, depending on weather and group riding skills
On most of our tours your luggage will be transferred for you in the chase van from hotel to hotel. Welcome and farewell dinners are also included in the guided tours.
Another advantage of our guided tours is the possibility of meeting new motorcycling friends from all over the world. It makes a big difference in sharing a trip with like minded riders even if you live thousands of miles apart.
On a self guided tour you will have to transport your belongings on the bike, no dinners are included. You will have the same itinerary and maps as on the guided tour, but essentially you will be riding on your own. If you like your independence whilst riding this could be an alternative way to travel, especially if you don’t have the time to research where you want to ride.
Italy is a great place to ride, but not a place to learn to ride. We are NOT looking for fast riders, but confident and competent riders. You need to be able to ride any type of turn with a touring bike, including tight switchbacks, and be prepared to ride in the rain if need be. If you need some tutoring come a few days early and ride with one of our instructors.
Always opt for a lighter bike in Italy. The roads are tight and in some areas offer a great variety of surfaces, from excellent to very bumpy. Huge levels of saddle comfort are not really a prime concern as we take many breaks during the day. On average we seldom ride constantly for over 45 minutes. Believe it or not a BMW F750GS can be a great ride for a couple and an R1250RT can prove overwhelming at times. There’s really no need for a K1600GTL unless you’re sticking to the autostradas and superstradas, but then you’re just going from A to B losing out on the minor treasures Italy has to offer.
If you decide to cancel the tour for whatever reason, not depending by CIMT, the rider will have the following penalties:
a) up to 60 days – credit held for other tour
b) between 60 and 30 days – 50% loss and 50% credit for the entire next season
c) after 30 days – 100% loss