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Preparation

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The 250 km journey is accessible to cyclists of all levels (beginners and children will probably want to consider an e-bike). There are some climbs early on, but none are particularly arduous, and if your bike has decent gears you shouldn’t have any problems making steady progress. An easy 5-7 day journey is suggested (see the Route section), which leaves travelers plenty of time to pace themselves and take regular breaks. 

Those who find the steeper climbs more difficult can alternate accompanying their bikes by hand. For those most insecure about being adequately ‘in shape’, an e-bike is an excellent option (all but eliminating the fatigue factor) and there are plenty of local agencies prepared to rent at low costs (see Organize).

An e-bike for trekking

That said, some basic familiarity with bikes and cycling along the way is important (to guarantee a safe and enjoyable ride). This means, primarily, being able to maneuver a bike along dirt paths, through light traffic, and down some steeper paths (when encountered). It’s also important to remember that you’ll be carrying some extra weight. As a result, ‘city cyclists’ (especially if traveling alone) might want to spend some time getting familiar with more rugged journeys and, especially, what it means to cycle while carrying extra weight, before embarking. 

The most important skill is being able to use a gear shift, which will dramatically change the quality of the journey. It’s not a difficult skill to master, a couple rides should be enough if you’re feeling unsure, but it’s not something to be overlooked. 

We also suggest that you (or someone in your group, if you're traveling with one) have some basic biking repair skills. On this particular route you're never too far from a town or repair shops (all of whom are listed in our Guide) but being able to fix a flat will make your life much easier. 

BIKE

Those coming to Italy by plane will probably want to hire a bike in Assisi. In that case, in terms of choosing the right one for you, it's recommended you simply trust the advice of the shop. 

Generally speaking, almost any decent steel or aluminum mountain bike could do. The only downside with mountain bikes is weight (in addition to being generally heavier, many mountain bikes are equipped with suspension, which adds additional weight that really isn’t necessary in this case). 

A gravel bike

A gravel bike is an excellent option (a road and cyclocross hybrid). They’re lighter, fast and efficient, but also robust enough to handle more rugged roads.    

 

Make sure you feel comfortable in your seat, as you’ll be spending quite a lot of time on it. The best thing is to try out a few options before choosing (this is primarily a question of matching body and seat shapes). Added cushion in the form of a gel cover may be in order.

Make sure your bike wheels are equipped with reflectors (they’re required by European law), and that you have a couple of battery-powered LED lights (both rear and front) available in case you find yourself riding during twilight or nighttime hours. A bell is also required by law (and can come in handy when encountering more congested conditions). 

 

You’ll also want your bike to be equipped with a water bottle mount and a rear baggage rack. 

 

It’s probably best to avoid clipless pedals unless you’re used to riding with them. They’ll give you extra power uphill but can be confusing for the inexpert.

 

WHAT TO BRING

 

When thinking about packing it’s a good idea to avoid backpacks and rucksacks, if possible, as they can get uncomfortable on the back and neck, and sweaty during hotter months. A pair of 20-liter rear panniers on your bike (these can be upped to 25 liters if necessary), plus a 7-10 liter handlebar bag up front, should be more than adequate for a 5-7 day ride. Obviously these should be waterproof and durable (if you’re expecting rainy conditions, it might be a good idea to wrap clothes in a large rubbish bag). When packing, try experimenting with weight distribution to find the right combination (it’s a good idea to put heavier items, like bike repair tools, up front). Aim for 6-8 kg when thinking about total weight. Roll and stack clothes to maximize space. 

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