Best Biking Summer Holiday... Italy

Best-ever biking summer holiday to Italy so you can get some ideas for your own. You don’t have to spend thousands of pounds or be away from work for long

ITALY

Name: John Hogan
Bike: Ducati Monster
Miles covered: 482
Total cost: £1,600
Pros: Dolomites, food, weather
Cons: Coming home...

This job offers the most amazing perks, usually petrol powered but not always. When I received the invite to go and look at the new range of Dainese clothing in Italy I accepted as a matter of course. Knowing about what’s hot and what’s stitched together in Bangladeshi sweatshops is what I do.

The plan was to fly out to Italy for an in-depth tour of the factory and view the new products for 2008. I did notice on the bottom of the invite something about maybe riding a Ducati for the afternoon, so I packed some leathers, just in case. Meeting up at Stanstead airport I noticed I was with the journos from other magazines that usually live in holes testing products rather than going out on launches. We went straight to the Dainese factory when we landed, and did a few hours work before dinner. The goodbyes were fairly heartfelt I thought, considering we would be back in the morning to carry on with the presentation.

The next morning it turned out that Dainese had only ever planned on an afternoon of our time, but they had arranged a look at the Ducati Driving Experience, a new company that had been set up allowing people to try new Dainese clothing and new Ducati bikes at the same time. We put on our kit, I jumped on an 800 Monster and we set off into the hills. “This is good fun,” I thought after about half an hour of really twisty, super smooth traffic free riding. At the first coffee stop I had a chat with the owner of the company. “The ride will get better for shure-a John, you-a must wait and see”. I jumped on the Monster and followed the snake of red Ducatis making its way into the mountains. The roads got better and the pace got quicker until eventually we were all riding at our own pace. Thanks to my one-piece leathers I was carrying more confidence than most and got to the front, something that has never happened before or since riding with other journos! No matter how much people say they don’t like having their ego massaged they do, because by now I was buzzing.

Three hours later things were still the same, I had somehow ended up on a trip that had anyone else in the office known about there was no way I would have been out here. The roads seemed perfectly designed for the Monster and I couldn’t put a foot wrong, my rubbish wheelies had turned into long rubbish wheelies, my cornering was smooth and my pace rapid. When we pulled into the carpark after a full day’s riding I lit a smoke.

I had one of those moments when you have had an amazing ride, everything had been perfect and the sun was as high in the sky as I felt. The hotel was the most amazing place I have ever stayed, every facility was available, including a breathtaking view of the Italian Alps from my balcony. Sitting down to a meal it was clear that everyone on the trip felt the same as me, none of us should have even been there and yet here we all were. We all made the most of it and enjoyed the evening.

The following day was the same, beautiful food, stunning views and then the choice of which Ducati to try next. Riding a Hypermotard for the first time, and being in the Italian Alps when I did so was something I will never forget. The trip, though expensive, is worth every single penny for a reader considering doing the same trip. Every single beer was cold and quenching, every meal better than the last. The hotels were slightly wasted on a savage such as myself, but the roads and the bikes, they were unforgetable. If you only ever do one organised trip in your life, let it be this one. I promise you that you won’t regret it.

WHOWHATHOW?

The cost is around £1,600 per person. But for that you get everything (bikes, food, hotels) bar the flight to Italy. The company can tailor a package to your budget if you want to spend more and feel even more important than I did. Flights to Bologna can be had for less than £100, and you won’t really have to put your hand in your pocket for anything once you get there. I said it was expensive and it is, but definitley worth it when you get there.

Contact: www.jpbari.com

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