Last summer I decided to book a holiday with Richard Williams, a guide I had met when he was working in northern Italy with Riviera Bike. Richard has now set up his own company, Ridgeline, deep in the Tuscan hills above Pisa. I had been promising myself a trip there for a couple of years since he set up there and finally got it sorted this summer. Even better I managed to persuade 10 of my riding buddies to come along with me, including Paul who flew in all the way from LA just for the trip. To be fair it wasn't difficult to persuade them to come after showing them the pictures of the trails, food and scenery on Richard's website. The pressure was on Richard to produce an unforgettable holiday.
Cheers! From Richard, Davide, Paul, Tom, Chris, ME, John, Toby, Gareth, James, Frances, Jesse (and Dave on the camera!)
Luckily he didn't even come close to failing.
The accommodation is an Agriturismo on the edge of a small town called Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, about an hour's drive north of Pisa where we flew in to. The Agriturismo was a 'basic' country farm hotel. We all shared large twin rooms. But when I say basic, it had a great restaurant serving amazing fresh local food, decent WiFi, a swimming pool and breakfast cafe serving superb breakfast cappuccino. Not only that but there was a fully appointed workshop/bike store as well!
This was to be our home for the next week...
Looks bike friendly!
Anyway - enough chit-chat - suffice to say I decided to take my camera gear along to try and get some good riding shots of everyone. So glad I did as the scenery and trails were amazing...
NOT the uplift truck.
Looking forward to jumping into the that at the end of a hot dusty day's riding!
Anyway - to the business at hand and some last minute fettling in the workshop...
How's this for the first trail of the holiday - natural bike park berms in the burnt forest
Frances is certainly enjoying it!
The lunches never disappointed - limitless fresh pasta and more...
Richard in his element, leading us down amazing dark hidden trails
Dave and Tom doing their best to keep up!
Who asked for more switchbacks?
Yep! says it all!
Richard's local guide Nick showing he can still keep up on a 29er hardtail.
Even the climbs are scenic...
...and I mean scenic!
Coffee to start day 2.
Breakfast, Tuscany style
Paul enjoying his cappuccino
Time to hit up the local SuperEnduro trails - very steep!
Davide - another of Richard's local guides - who also owns a brewery - more of that later!
Richard dropping into amazing trails above Calci
Are we having fun lads?
The bikes rest up during another delicious lunch
Toby enjoying more trails above Calci
John dropping into Calci
Tom - not in his natural Scottish habitat
Of course, the guide has to show off!
Jesse enjoying the olive groves
Finally - time for some of Davide's beer!
Steak night tonight - some seriously large lumps of amazing beef!
Tasted as good as it looks!
Dave enjoying the views high above Massa
Easy does it John - it's a long way down!
Natural trails test out the guys
That doesn't stop Dave messing about
Where Eagles Dare!
There was a little bit of carrying
A church made of rocks, miles from anywhere...
He's at it again!
Last day - and steep rocky challenges.
The last trail of the last day and Toby leads the train home over the railway bridge...
Stormy sunset over the pool on our last nightwww.ridgeline.bike