Could you take on the challenge to cycle 320 miles in 4 days? The Shakespeare Hospices’ at home nurses travel approximately 320 miles a week to provide end of life care and support to patients and their families in their own home, where 80% of Hospice’s patients choose to receive end of life care. We are challenging you to repeat this feat on your bicycle in aid of the charity.
Dates and Prices
Date of Event
2 – 7 June 2020
6 Days (4 cycling)
Day 1 – Arrive in Novara
On arrival in Novara, you can check into the hotel and spend your free time (flight-times dependent) exploring the hotel spa and amenities. You will meet the crew at registration together with details of the first days cycling. Your bikes will have arrived safely in advance and will be ready and waiting for you to start your challenge. As participants will be arriving throughout the day and evening, tonight’s evening meal is not included (dining facilities are available throughout the day and evening at the hotel).
Day 2 – Novara to Stresa
Approximate cycling distance 125km (80 miles)
Heading straight out into the countryside from the Hotel you can warm up your legs along flat, winding, country roads, as we head north toward the Lakes and mountains before a long sweeping downhill run that takes you to the first of your Italian Lakes – Lago Orta! Enjoy lake views as you follow its western shore before climbing up through mountain gorges to your second lake – Lago di Mergozza. Depending on your legs you can choose your afternoon’s route at this stage. Heading out together from lunch to the Nature Reserve ‘Fondo Toce’ you can either follow the route south, along the shore of Lago Maggiore or you can enjoy an afternoon of short, sharp uphill and technical downhills. The two routes meet up again in the beautiful town of Verbania, before cyclists take a leisurely ride back along the lakeshore to Stresa, where you can enjoy a drink and a dip in the pool at your lakeside hotel.
Day 3 – Stresa to Como
Approximate cycling distance 114km (71 miles)
This morning you follow the shore of Lago Maggiore. Stop for a coffee in Arona’s cobbled square before heading north along Maggiore’s opposite shore to Angera. Sitting under the gaze of Angera’s impressive hilltop Monastery, dangling your feet in the water, you can take a relaxing break before heading across country, where things start to get a bit hillier on your way to Switzerland! You will cycle past Lago di Monate and Lago Varese on your way to Lago di Lugano and the Swiss border. Shortly after crossing the border you will have lunch, where you can wander down to the lakeside to enjoy your meal. After lunch we continue along the lake-shore and back into Italy, enjoying some incredible switchbacks on our descent. Our next destination is Lago Como and the city of Como itself, where you can head up to the rooftop of your hotel to enjoy another well-deserved drink and a dip in the pool on the rooftop terrace. Evening meal is not included this night to enable you the time to explore Como and all its culinary delights on offer.
Day 4 – Como to Lovere
Approximate cycling distance 138km (86 miles) or 160km (100 miles) – Madonna
Today is the day you have been training for! Riding out of Como you will start to climb above the eastern edge of Lago Como, affording you the most spectacular views across the water. The smooth tarmac winds and dips along the lakeside and through quaint villages perched on the hillside, taking you all the way into Bellagio, where you will have your first drinks stop at the waters edge and a chance to take coffee in town.
At this point we give cyclists the option of tackling the MADONNA! A cyclist’s pilgrimage, the Madonna del Ghisallo is named after the patron saint of cycling and climbs 500m at an average gradient of 9%, to a chapel and museum (with a café) at the top of the hill. You will be rewarded with an incredible descent over approximately 10 miles, where you will make your way toward Lecco and re-joining the original route. This is very much an option and cyclists can choose to cycle round the lake instead, a much more gentle choice.
After lunch and the challenges of the morning, you will have a long, flat spin out, to cover some distance between Lake Como and Lake Endine, to the East. As you reach the last 20 miles you will encounter another climb but will be rewarded with the most incredible views and sweeping switchbacks, as you work your way down to Lake Endine and over the last hill to Lake Iseo and your spectacular ride finish
Day 5 – Lovere to Verona
Approximate cycling distance 146km (91 miles)
Although today is a flatter route, we still have some distance to cover before we cross the finish line in the Verona, the inspiration to Shakespeare’s famous plays, Romeo & Juliet and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. After breakfast we get our cleats back on and hit the road! We follow the eastern edge of Lake Iseo, making the best use of the cycle path, to get away from the traffic and enjoy the views over the lake. As we pull away from the lake, we wind our way between the vineyards, before reaching our first big hill and our lunch stop. Once over the crest of the hill, we can enjoy the descent, as we make our way to Lake Garda. Cycling along the lake’s edge, we cross small bridges and ride down cobbled streets, where you can stop for a coffee and watch the world go by. As we hit the final stretch toward Verona, you will start to feel the excitement of your journey coming to its climax. We will meet at a holding point and cycle the last few miles together, through the city streets, over the bridges, stopping at the home of Juliet’s Balcony where you can celebrate with your team at the end a successful ride.
Day 6 – Departure Day
After a leisurely breakfast, the event comes to an end. Your bikes will be safely transported back to the UK leaving you hassle free to explore the stunning town of Verona, the famous colosseum and of course the House of Juliet where Romeo promised his beloved eternal love in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, all before heading back to the UK and on with on with your onward arrangements.
• Full bike transport from the UK and back, if required.
• All accommodation
• All meals except day 1 and 3 as specified in the itinerary.
• Complete transport of luggage between hotels during the ride
• Full trip support including mechanics, first aid, drivers and full route support
• Full TCX and GPX files with navigational turns
• Water stops
• Celebration meal in Verona at the end of your ride.
• Flights and transfers, both inbound and outbound
• A bicycle
• Personal travel insurance
• Evening meal on day 1 and day 3 as stated in the itinerary above.
• Drinks, personal items or entry to any optional tourist sites you may wish to visit.
• Remember to allow extra for drinks, snacks, souvenirs and other personal expenses.
• We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
What can I expect from your accommodation?
Accommodation is in 3-4* hotels, picked for their proximity to our route. All the hotels we choose are excellent with en-suite facilities, offering exceptional value for money; standards however may vary between the hotels. The price of this trip is based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own don’t worry, we will pair you up with somebody in a similar position. You can also opt for a single room, but this will incur a supplementary charge (£275 for the 5 nights).
What food is included and does it cater for all diets?
Evening meals and breakfasts will be provided at the hotels, apart from the evening of day 1 and 3 as specified in the itinerary above. Lunches are provided by Chapeau Catering and are a generous buffet-style (hot and cold) with plenty of energy food to keep you going! In addition, we will provide refreshments at each cycle checkpoint of which there will be 2 each day, in addition to lunch of course and consisting of water, juices and high-energy snacks – 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. Chapeau can cater for all special dietary requirements provided you let us know well in advance of the trip.
What’s unique about Chapeau…why should I choose you?
Our events are tailored to you…our team have physically driven and assessed every mile of the route to ensure the safest and best possible route for your challenge, so rest assured you are in the safest hands. For example, this Italian Lakes route that we have set for you includes options on days two and four, as stated in the itinerary above. The specified routes include a choice of lakeside or hill climb cycling depending on how adventurous you are feeling on the day!
How fit do I need to be?
This event is completely achievable for all levels of experience, whether you are a novice, intermediate or experienced cyclist, as long as you are committed to putting in the relevant training needed. Chapeau rates this event a difficulty level 6 out of 8, which we class as challenging. Your confidence, fitness and technical ability is crucial to enjoy this ride. You will be in the saddle for upward of 70 miles a day for 4 consecutive days, so you should ensure, as a minimum that you are comfortable riding a 60-70 mile day and have achieved this regularly before you leave for the trip.. The profile on some days will be hilly, so you will need to include some hilly rides in your training, especially if you are a novice cyclists. Please contact us on the email below if you would have any questions regarding training tips. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace; this is not a race. For further information regarding how we rate our challenges click here
Who will be there to support me during the event?
Your trip will be led by experienced Chapeau Events crew. Our crew are selected for their experience in cycling events around the world, their friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. Our crew leaders are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with the Chapeau Events crew.
The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip whether that’s transporting your luggage, ensuring your route is well-marked, sorting out any mechanical problems or giving you a lift in our back vehicle – our “Love bus”. At Chapeau Events we pride ourselves on our high crew: cyclist ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Will I be safe?
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with emergency mobile phones, first-aid kits and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
What happens to my luggage each day?
Our support vehicles are with the group all of the time. All luggage and spares will be carried in them as we travel to Paris. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft bag, rucksack or expedition kit-bag weighing up to 15kg.
What insurance will I require?
It is a requirement of entry that you have adequate insurance to cover your participation on the event. We will require a copy of valid insurance before travel. We also recommend that you apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), as the NHS will cover most medical care when travelling in Europe. You can apply for an EHIC at your local post office or online.
Are flights and transfers to and from destination included?
No…we do not arrange any flights for this challenge, enabling you to take advantage of the many competitive fares between Italy and different UK cities.
The closest airport to the start of the ride is Milan Malpensa, which is about 45km away. A taxi from the airport to the Hotel costs approximately 60 Euros. In the build up to the event we will endeavour to match riders who are travelling with similar flight times, in order to organise a taxi-share and bring down the individual cost. Alternatively you can take the train from Malpensa Airport to Novara, where it is a 10km taxi ride to the hotel.
You will finish the event in Verona on Saturday 6th June 2020, staying overnight that evening, in Verona. You should therefore arrange your return flights to be on Sunday 7th June 2020, or later if you choose to stay in Verona for longer. Nearest airport event finish is Verona Villafranca.
How will I get my bike to and from Italy?
There will be pre arranged drop off and pick up points in the UK before and after the ride, for the drop off and collection of your bikes. We will then transport your bikes to and from the event, to give you more flexibility in your travel and to avoid you having to pay expensive baggage costs.
Will I receive further information?
Yes…a full detailed information pack will be issued following registration and before you set off for your event. In addition, pre-event support is always available, simply email us at email@example.com with your questions.