Ride the Italian Divide With Rebecca Rusch While Raising Funds for World Bicycle Relief

Mar 25, 2018
by Edoardo Melchiori  
Photo Edoardo Melchiori

PRESS RELEASE: World Bicycle Relief

WBR has partnered with Tourissimo to present to you Appenninica, a fully supported MTB tour over the Italian divide. It’s the opportunity to cycle in an Italian region renowned for its history, art, traditions and food and wine, along a fascinating mountain bike trail: the Alta Via dei Parchi on the Apennine Mountains. Emilia Romagna – the region of the Appenninica ride – is also known for its thermal waters, which we will get to enjoy.

Appenninica MTB Guided Tour will run from July 28th through August 4th, 2018. Participants will help support World Bicycle Relief under the lead of Rebecca Rusch and WBR staff.

Photo courtesy of World Bicycle Relief

Participants will ride ancient routes between fortresses, medieval hamlets leading through valleys, lakes, and ancient forests. And of course, at the end of the rides we get to enjoy magnificent food and the lively Italian atmosphere.

To Italians, Emilia Romagna is known as the “home-cooking capital of Italy.” To others, it is known as the birthplace of many of the foods that lie at the heart of Italian cooking- lasagna, tortellini, prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar, and “The King of Cheeses,” Parmigiano-Reggiano, to name a few. Additional local products include chestnuts and spelt, honey, mushrooms succulent cold cuts, berries and black truffles. The signature dishes of the Apennines are tortelli (fresh pasta filled with cheese and vegetables), polenta served with mushrooms or wild game, and tigelle and piadina (flatbread served with local cold cuts). Hey, we need to fuel those rides!

Joining Rebecca and WBR’s staff on this social vacation is a unique chance to ride new, exotic trails and to support the mission of World Bicycle Relief to mobilize more individuals through the Power of Bicycles.

The funds raised through this trip will help empower students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs in rural Zambia and give them access to reliable transportation and a brighter future.

Tourissimo is donating two Buffalo bikes per rider and each rider will be responsible for raising enough for 10 bikes (ca. $ 1,470). Raising enough for 20 bikes will get you a signed copy of Rebecca Rusch’s book, Rusch To Glory. But there's more because top fundraisers will also receive:

- An exclusive Rebecca Rusch CamelBak water bottle
- A selection of Rebecca’s favorite GU products

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Rusch

Rebecca Rusch is the Queen of Pain with a heart of gold. It doesn’t matter if Rebecca is pedaling through the night on an epic adventure across Italy, riding her bike up Africa’s legendary Mt. Kilimanjaro, or teaching at a #JoinTheRusch camp or clinic, she brings energy, positivity and inspiration to whatever challenge she meets.

As a professional athlete for over three decades, the 7x World Champion has continually tested her own limits, and shattered the glass ceiling in whatever sport she tackles. She redefined the team dynamics of adventure racing, has a first female ascent rock climbing El Capitan in Yosemite, river boarded down the Grand Canyon, and has given the men a run for their money in endurance mountain biking.

Rebecca’s work extends far beyond the start line as the best-selling author of Rusch to Glory, event producer for Rebecca’s Private Idaho, motivational speaker, firefighter, and cycling advocate. Additionally, she has raised over $100k for bike related charities through her adventures and events. Through Red Bull Media House in 2017, Rebecca released a full length feature film, Blood Road, which followed her very personal journey along the 1,800 kilometer Ho Chi Minh trail.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Rusch

bigquotesI have ridden around the world and hands down one of the most beautiful places I've ridden a mountain bike in in the Apennine Mountains of Italy. This gorgeous terrain has everything from stunning vineyards, rich history, friendly locals and world class mountain bike trails. The opportunity to ride in this special place in support of World Bicycle Relief is a trip I would never pass up. I hope you can join me.Rebecca Rusch

The Apennines are the mountains that run almost the whole length of Italy from Liguria (in the North) to the tip of Calabria (in the South) and even into the island of Sicily. They are Italy’s equivalent of North America’s Great Divide on a much smaller scale (roughly 1/3).

As well as being the watershed, these were literally a great divide because until the coming of the railroads it was quicker to sail from Ancona on the Adriatic east coast to Rome on the west.

Drivers today that have to cross still complain about the task. But riders find there an amazing playground of quiet valleys and passes among forests of chestnut, oak, and beech trees. A network of secondary roads departs from the valleys formed by the rivers that spring near the mountain peaks.

There seem to be in the inhabitants an atavistic mix of respect and admiration for nature that could derive from having to rely on it and its products for millennia because long haul trading wasn’t as lively as in coastal towns and in the Po River Valley. Their practical sense of hospitality goes back to the days when pilgrims traveled to reach Rome, and to WWII days when the Italian resistance, the partigiani, found shelter and hospitality while organizing their liberation plot with the help of the allies.

The Apennines are divided into three sectors: northern, central, and southern. They are comprised predominantly of sandstone and limestone marl (clay) in the north, limestone and dolomite (magnesium limestone) in the center, and limestone, weathered rock, and Hercynian granite in the south.


Unique landscapes and amazing views will welcome our riders along the longest hiking trail in the northern Apennines.

Our route crosses the border between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna several times.

The trail was and still is a hiking trail that runs north to south, taking advantage of the national and regional parks present in the area. In recent years, a modified version of the Alta Via dei Parchi was scouted and marked for mountain bikers. Our program will cover the second part of it for a distance of approximately 160 Mls (250 km) and 33,000 ft (10,000 mt) of elevation gain.

This itinerary is home to breathtaking places that fill walkers and riders with a sense of awe and adventure. There are vast landscapes, unspoiled wilderness and the historic remains of ancient borders.

This trail is suitable for expert riders who want to experience some exhilarating trails and do not mind the occasional “hike-a-bike” section.


The Alta Via is a trail through the Apennines in Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany. There are almost 500 kilometers of uphills and downhills that include all the best that this area of the Apennines has to offer: glacial rings, lakes set in the splendor of high altitude prairies, thick forests and clear rivers, volcanic rocks and gypsum cliffs.

There are eight parks crossed through by the Alta Via: two national parks: Appennino Tosco-Emiliano e Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna; five regional parks: Alto Appennino Modenese, Valli del Cedra e del Parma, Corno alle Scale, Laghi di Suviana e Brasimone, Vena del Gesso Romagnola and one interregional park: Sasso Simone e Simoncello.

This trip is about creating real impact in the field through our partner, World Bicycle Relief. Each rider/fundraiser will be required to raise a minimum of USD 1,400 before the start of the trip. World Bicycle Relief will provide you with a fundraising page and support to help you achieve your goal while you use your voice to reach out to your community. All participants that raise enough for 20 bikes will be top fundraisers and will receive - among other things - a signed copy of Rebecca's book Rush to Glory.

Tourissimo - the tour operator - will donate two Buffalo bikes per tour booked.


1. Seven nights accommodation
2. Welcome drinks to introduce the program, staff and to award the best fundraisers
3. All breakfasts
4. All lunches (on full riding days and consisting of picnics)
5. All dinners with water and house wine
6. Daily guided rides
7. Entrance to two thermal spas
8. Free Wi-Fi (through the hotels or through us; not always reliable in remote areas)
9. Bike case transportation from starting point to the last hotel

All riders will receive the following straight from World Bicycle Relief:

- WBR jersey
- WBR t-shirt
- WBR water bottle
- 2 WBR hats
- WBR socks
- Fundraising support and individualized page for their efforts

Cost per person in double occupancy is $2,495.

Reserve your spot
or, download the PDF presentation


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