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the foliage

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There are several reasons to dislike autumn: days get shorter, the sun is cooler and real cold weather is around the corner. But just one reason is enough to love it, which is the opportunity to experience the season by bike. Pedalling in the wind, admiring the changing colours, listening to the sound of dry leaves crackling under the tyres.  Autumn and two-wheelers are an excellent combination to enjoy the fiery colours of nature that characterize this season, in which shades of red, orange, yellow and brown are dominant. Temperatures are cooler, even the air is cleaner. A fall scenery worthy of being observed and enjoyed; because this is also the perfect period for a full immersion in the food-and-wine specialities of the area, among wine shops, food fairs and farm tourism. Fight cold weather with appropriate clothing, technical windproof and water-proof materials. Everything else is biking. We suggest five cycling routes which are perfect for autumn and suitable for all tastes: for those who prefer slow cycling on level ground, but also for those who don’t get frightened by rough and steep climbs and by heavy rains.

PZeroVelo The Rhine Valley (1.233 km) – Germany is a flat country, suitable for bicycling. There are equipped and protected bicycle paths which are full of repair shops. Among the most popular paths, without a doubt, is the one which runs along the Rhine: the river begins in Switzerland, moves northwards to Liechtenstein, then to the West, crosses Basel and the border between France and Germany touching Strasbourg, before entering in the Regions of Baden Wuttenberg and Rheinland Platz. From here the Rhine flows north, far past Frankfurt, crossing Cologne until it finally reaches the Netherlands. It is not necessary to cover the entire 1.233 km. The adventure can start from France – the river flows through the Alsace – or from Worms, the country of the Nibelungs. An unmissable sight is the Rhine Gorge, a Unesco World Heritage Site: the symbol of the typical German landscape, with its ruined castles, its ghost stories (search for Marksburg Castle) and its medieval villages. In short, a route between legend and reality. The suggestion is to ride along both riverside paths. Inform yourself on which ferryboats bicycles can be brought aboard.

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The Langhe (105 km) – 100% cyclability and a heady scent of truffles, make autumn the perfect season for a unique experience on your bike through the Piedmontese hills. Starting from Bra, the capital of gastronomy, making a refill of energy (and cheese) and then going about 20 km southward reaching the Barolo area. To propose a toast is something you won’t want to miss! Then you’re ready to saddle up and remount towards Alba, where in November the white truffle is considered “the king of the table”, also moneywise. Continue your journey going through the Barbaresco hills, with its fiery vineyards and spectacular sceneries. Neive is one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, so take advantage at this point for a pit stop to check the tyre pressure. Then continue northwards heading for Asti, the homeland of the Moscato wine. Those who still didn’t pedal enough will find, 40 km away among castles and hazel groves, Casale Monferrato, another famous wine-producing Piedmont town. 

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Provence-Camargue (70 km) – France is also a great place for cycle tourism. This tour combines history, art and wilderness. Starting from Avignon, the town of Popes, you must take a ride on the Avignon Bridge which is known for the famous 1800 French song Sur Le Pont D’Avignon. Running through the Durance river, sail along the Parc Natural Regional Des Alpilles to stop at Arles, a town with Roman abbeys and monuments, where Vincent Van Gogh decided to spend his last days. Here starts The Camargue Nature Park: let your bicycle guide you. Here you can find pink flamingos, bulls and white horses in a wild state, among salt marshes, beaches and swamps in the Rhone Delta. The last stop of the route is Saintes Maires de la Mer, where you can enjoy a typical risotto.

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Cornwall (about 300 km) – This is the perfect route for cyclists who aren’t afraid of up-hill slopes, wind and rain. Cornwall is a country in South West England, inhabited by fishermen, where everyone can slowly savour the pleasure of life. Here the climate is one of the hottest in England (in summer you can go to the beach), but in autumn the temperature varies around nine and ten degrees. Furthermore, streets are almost empty, there are off-season prices, sheer cliffs that give shivers, waves are perfect for surfers (look at Sennen Cove) and nearby there’s the Tintagel Castle where, according to legends, King Arthur reigned. Other unmissable destinations are: Land’s End, the most westward point of England, with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Saint Ive’s Harbour Beach (good starting point for your tour) and Falmouth, picturesque town among street markets and astonishing colours. Finally, southbound, pedalling through country roads towards Marazion you reach Saint Michael’s Mount. On the top, there’s a mythical castle. A note for lovers of history: four centuries ago, the Founding Fathers left Plymouth and sailed to America.

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The Route of Sulphur, Enna (33 km) – Pedalling in southern Italy during the summer-time is not recommended. That’s better in autumn: the weather is hot, but pleasing. Sicily offers many routes for cyclists. The utmost is the ascent of Etna, on a racing bicycle or on a mountain bike. The point of arrival is The Rifugio Sapienza, which becomes at risk when the volcano starts erupting. For those who are out of breath the right route would be “A Piducchiusa”, the “Via dello Zolfo”. A stunning ride through the abandoned railways in the area between Piazza Armerina, Valguarnera and Dittaino, crossing the parcs of Ronza and Floristella-Grottacalda. The name descends from the miners that for decades went back and forth in these places to reach the mines.

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