Where to Live in Europe?

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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indrek
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by indrek

Lugano (swiss side) has always felt like a sweet place to be with a bike. Plenty of hills around, nice lake side atmosphere, Italy & Lake Como just around the corner, all big citys close... I personally prefer Lugano to Annecy, allthough they are maybe a bit similar. But if April-June are the main months, then I'd agree to stay away from the big mountains as April can be real cold and wet. Then I'd go for Tuscany or Nice and the surroundings... Allthough this year It was only 6 degrees in Nice at the beginning of April and raining:)... If you really are looking a short sleeve weather in spring, then I suggest to go more down south and skip the France, Swiss and Northern Italy. Spain, Mallorca, or Southern Tuscany would be much safer options...

I spent 4 weeks in Firenze last March and it was very nice, but to be honest, I would have preferred some "bigger" mountains on some days... For culture & food, hard to beat though.... Will be in Innsbruck for 6 weeks this year in May, so will see how that feels....

Rondje
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by Rondje

+1 for Aix-en-Provence. A very nice and lively city, when I was there mid may it was booming with activities and plenty of places to eat. While at the same time you just have to leave town to find yourself on the nice rolling roads of the Provence. The beautiful Gorges de la Nesque is at around 100km away and if you want really big climbing the Ventoux is also at a 100km distance. When I was at a 3month trip thru France, Italy and Northern Spain it was one of the few places where I thought: "yeah, I could see myself living here".

I saw someone notice Asturias and it's a great area to ride, people respect cyclists there but roads aren't as great everywhere and there is a bigger chance of rain then other parts of Spain I think. It's the same with Basque country I loved riding there you could practically ride a big climb and finish your ride on the beaches.

Another suggestion I would like to make is Bassano del Grappa. You are in the foothills of the big mountains so you can easily swap between flat roads, rolling roads or the big mountains like Monte Grappa (with a lot of different sides to ride it). To get a view of the area, the last mountain stage of the 2017 Giro was in that area. And If you want a trip a bit further up your like 2 hours driving away (by car) from Canazei to do the Sella Ronda or other Dolomiti climbs. I'm just not sure if the town itself fulfills your wishes.

by Weenie


Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

Rondje wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:37 am
+1 for Aix-en-Provence. A very nice and lively city, when I was there mid may it was booming with activities and plenty of places to eat. While at the same time you just have to leave town to find yourself on the nice rolling roads of the Provence. The beautiful Gorges de la Nesque is at around 100km away and if you want really big climbing the Ventoux is also at a 100km distance. When I was at a 3month trip thru France, Italy and Northern Spain it was one of the few places where I thought: "yeah, I could see myself living here".
...
Another suggestion I would like to make is Bassano del Grappa. You are in the foothills of the big mountains so you can easily swap between flat roads, rolling roads or the big mountains like Monte Grappa (with a lot of different sides to ride it). To get a view of the area, the last mountain stage of the 2017 Giro was in that area. And If you want a trip a bit further up your like 2 hours driving away (by car) from Canazei to do the Sella Ronda or other Dolomiti climbs. I'm just not sure if the town itself fulfills your wishes.
I'll be in Provence and the Southern Alps this summer so I'll do some reconaissance.

I have stayed in Castelfranco north of Venice and ridden through Bassano del Grappa, stayed in Canazei, been all through the Dolomites. If I could have a single hill outside my back door it would be Monte Grappa. That place is a playground. It's an option.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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TonyM
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by TonyM

Reconnaissance

jorryt
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by jorryt

I would say Le Marche. If you pick the right spot you van have a reasonable city nearby, close to the Sibbilini mountains and not miles away from the beach.

Great and quiet roads are everywhere and the people are really friendly.

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PinaRene
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by PinaRene

Mr.Gib wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:01 pm
Mrs. Gib is as hard as nails. She might kick your ass if you said this to her in person. :P
Lol.... mine will trash your saddle... :mrgreen: But fair enough ... my wife doesn't like to ride where the cars pass by with 80Km/h - so therefor she loves to ride on the bikepath. And she loves the climbs over there. ( Semnoz - Col de La Forclaz - Col de Tamié )

Image

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dgasmd
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by dgasmd

Humble opinion from slightly less than a dozen trips to "the homogenous europe". If it was me, this is how I'd do it:

-Since you are going for the summers only (3-5 months max-assumption), I'd pick a different place for the next 10 years!!
-Northerns Spain is a summer paradise for just about everything. San Sebastian, Pamplona, etc. Just pick any place. Rolling to high climbs nearby, 3+ star restaurants everywhere, any hole in the wall is awesome for food and wine, wineries everywhere, Pyrennes a short drive away, beaches (very cold water though), great roads, and fantastic culture/art/history. Quickie weekend trips to England, Finnland, Denmark, etc. I mean, after riding for so many days, you may want to take advantage of everything else the old country has to offer, right?
-Northeast of Portugal. Pick any town really. Lots of vineyards, rolling terrain, but slightly older roads and infrasructure.
-In Italy, you can't go wrong with Perugia, Sienna, Lucca, or even north of Como. You have to think of riding beyong outside of your front door, but the possibilities are endless for. a few months really. The food is ust as good so long as you go outside of the turist trails.
-Northerns Italy. Limited beyong awesome Cols, but not far enough from other areas you can't explore. If you are a vegetarian, just go ahead and hang yourself before you get there LOL..........

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TonyM
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by TonyM

dgasmd wrote:Humble opinion from slightly less than a dozen trips to "the homogenous europe". If it was me, this is how I'd do it:

-Since you are going for the summers only (3-5 months max-assumption), I'd pick a different place for the next 10 years!!
-Northerns Spain is a summer paradise for just about everything. San Sebastian, Pamplona, etc. Just pick any place. Rolling to high climbs nearby, 3+ star restaurants everywhere, any hole in the wall is awesome for food and wine, wineries everywhere, Pyrennes a short drive away, beaches (very cold water though), great roads, and fantastic culture/art/history. Quickie weekend trips to England, Finnland, Denmark, etc. I mean, after riding for so many days, you may want to take advantage of everything else the old country has to offer, right?
-Northeast of Portugal. Pick any town really. Lots of vineyards, rolling terrain, but slightly older roads and infrasructure.
-In Italy, you can't go wrong with Perugia, Sienna, Lucca, or even north of Como. You have to think of riding beyong outside of your front door, but the possibilities are endless for. a few months really. The food is ust as good so long as you go outside of the turist trails.
-Northerns Italy. Limited beyong awesome Cols, but not far enough from other areas you can't explore. If you are a vegetarian, just go ahead and hang yourself before you get there LOL..........
I would also do that for the first 3 -4 years Image


Just a side note on the foods/ restaurants:
- Michelin has only 1 to 3 stars restaurants. Gault & Millau has 0 to 20 (school system in France). The confusion usually comes for foreigners as hotels have 1 to 5 stars (and sometimes a palace category)
- Many European countries are indeed far from ideal for vegetarians (my wife is vegetarian and it is hard sometimes for her...and therefore for me/us...)

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dgasmd
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by dgasmd

Star system is worthless for most. I’ve eaten in plenty is very high end restaurants that had food no better than the average chain restaurant in the US. I’ve also eaten in a ton of “hole in the wall restaurants” found just passing by “in Europe” that were out of his world. If I’m there for 3-5 months, Michelin rates restaurants is not where I’d spend my time. Just me!!

Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

nachetetm wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:25 am
I'm sorry if I offended you, but when I was living in the US I found myself explaining such differences among countries more than I would have ever imagine, even in people attending graduate school. I thought it was good to mention it just in case.
Not the slightest bit offended and of course you're right about the US - the general awareness of even the most basic geography is limited. But I'm not in the US. And this is a cycling forum - the enthusiasts here far exceed the average of any place when it comes to understanding Europe.
PinaRene wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:27 pm
Mr.Gib wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:01 pm
Mrs. Gib is as hard as nails. She might kick your ass if you said this to her in person. :P
Lol.... mine will trash your saddle... :mrgreen: But fair enough ... my wife doesn't like to ride where the cars pass by with 80Km/h - so therefor she loves to ride on the bikepath. And she loves the climbs over there. ( Semnoz - Col de La Forclaz - Col de Tamié )
Image
F*** me that is nasty (even if some photo shopping is involved). What tire pressure to you recommend for that? :D
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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853guy
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by 853guy

Rondje wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:37 am
Mr.Gib wrote:I'll be in Provence and the Southern Alps this summer so I'll do some reconaissance.
+1 for Aix-en-Provence. A very nice and lively city, when I was there mid may it was booming with activities and plenty of places to eat. While at the same time you just have to leave town to find yourself on the nice rolling roads of the Provence. The beautiful Gorges de la Nesque is at around 100km away and if you want really big climbing the Ventoux is also at a 100km distance. When I was at a 3month trip thru France, Italy and Northern Spain it was one of the few places where I thought: "yeah, I could see myself living here".
Hello Mr.Gib,

We moved 20 minutes outside of Aix-en-Provence five months ago. Although riding road is a second love to mountain biking, since moving here it's become its equal, if not my preferred choice of bike-related activity.

Yes, Ventoux is about an hour and a bit away by car, as is the Gorges de la Nesque, and yes, those are epic, wonderful rides. But even the 64km loop (with 890m of climbing/decsending) from Aix-en-Provence to Pourriers and back, around the back of Mont Sainte-Victoire is really beautiful, and while it doesn't offer anything as extreme as the Alps or Ventoux, it's very rideable and offers some decent climbing.

The thing for us as parents to a young family is that Aix-en-Provence offers a lifestyle that's cultured, contemporary, diverse in food, coffee and wine, and not at all isolated. At the same time, it's way less busy than Nice and Cannes (though both are easily accessible) and within ten minutes you're riding amongst olive trees and vineyards.

A couple of things to note:

The Mistral is real. And can be quite forceful (and easily reach sudden gusts of up to 80+ km/h - 24+ m/s). Yeah, I think deep wheelsets are awesome, but there are days when it's just not worth venturing out. It's not like it's super regular, but it's easy to have days in which riding is borderline impossible if not dangerous. This week however has been gorgeous.

Aix-en-Provence is a university town, and has a number of international, bilingual and language schools. Lots of shops, restaurants and cafes have English-speaking staff. In general, I'd say more people are willing to converse in English than in other picturesque parts of France. However, if you can already speak some French, or at the very least, are willing to make an effort, you'll get a much warmer and more cooperative reception.

Lastly, we've lived in New Zealand, in the North of France and now in the South. We've found pockets of paradise in each of them. But as much as we love Provence and have now have made it our long-term home, it has its quirks and eccentricities like everywhere.

But if you're already planning a visit to Provence, and Aix-en-Provence is on the list, then a trip to Gordes, Lourmarin, and Cassis would give you a decent overview of options within an hour's drive, each offering unique Provencal experiences.

Best of luck!

853guy

Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

Thanks for the detailed impression of Aix en Provence. There is a lot to like there. My route this summer will take me through most of that area including Ventoux and the various gorges.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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micky
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by micky

Mr.Gib wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:45 pm
Another suggestion I would like to make is Bassano del Grappa. You are in the foothills of the big mountains so you can easily swap between flat roads, rolling roads or the big mountains like Monte Grappa (with a lot of different sides to ride it). To get a view of the area, the last mountain stage of the 2017 Giro was in that area. And If you want a trip a bit further up your like 2 hours driving away (by car) from Canazei to do the Sella Ronda or other Dolomiti climbs. I'm just not sure if the town itself fulfills your wishes.
I'll be in Provence and the Southern Alps this summer so I'll do some reconaissance.

I have stayed in Castelfranco north of Venice and ridden through Bassano del Grappa, stayed in Canazei, been all through the Dolomites. If I could have a single hill outside my back door it would be Monte Grappa. That place is a playground. It's an option.
[/quote]

I don't live too far from Bassano/MonteGrappa and I would personally suggest more on the Verona side, closer to Trentino.
Nothing wrong with Castelfranco or whole Treviso area, but if you then decide to move around you are a bit too on the "east side".

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micky
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by micky

dgasmd wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:59 pm
Humble opinion from slightly less than a dozen trips to "the homogenous europe". If it was me, this is how I'd do it:

-Northerns Italy. Limited beyong awesome Cols, but not far enough from other areas you can't explore. If you are a vegetarian, just go ahead and hang yourself before you get there LOL..........
I dont have any interest on vegeratian diet and dont have any close friend/relative who cares as far as I know, but vegetarian restaurants are starting to pop up recently.

I know it might sounds funny at first, but Italy is a bit "old Country" for everything, always late on many things.

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kbbpll
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by kbbpll

Ridiculous number of choices. If you're renting, why not rent a month here and then there? My only experience cycling in Europe was going from Athens to London 30 years ago, so I'm not familiar with any hip places now. Southern Italy has little roads and steep climbs up to hilltop towns everywhere, particularly if you love being stared at. Aosta for a summer if you want to do the Col du Gran St Bernard one day and then go flats out into the Po valley another day. If you don't care about a cycling "scene" or fitting in, I'd pick southern Italy myself.

by Weenie


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