The account of a day spent in the saddle, with the impressions of our guide, Licia. This is how the Dory Bike HoteI organises its excursions.

There’s great excitement this morning at Hotel Dory, bike hotel riccione! Today is Tuesday, the day which will be entirely devoted to the “long circuit”: involving a route of102 kmfor the group known as “cappuccino light”,112 kmfor the “cappuccino” group,135 kmfor the “cappuccino super” group, and146 kmfor the “limoncino” group.

So each individual cyclist can choose the itinerary most suited to his level of training, indeed the four options are also categorised according to your average speed.

Normally, I act as the guide for the “cappuccino” group, but today, as an exception, I will be taking part in the tour as an ordinary tourist.

Our destination is Urbino, a wonderful city of art with many cultural treasures and the seat of one ofItaly’s most important universities. It’s a dream for any cycling enthusiast, from the very moment that he finds himself at a height of almost450 metres. I have about112 kmto look forward to then, much of the route taking me uphill!

But it’s already 8:30, and it’s time to leave! Together with me and Bartolo, our guide, there are 12 other cyclists: French, English and Dutch. Twelve people, each with his own background, experience and motivation. However, the magic of cycling is such that when you climb into the saddle and start pedalling, all these differences disappear and you are immediately all friends, united by a single passion.

The organisational genius of the Hotel Dory also provides a minibus to follow along behind. On board is our mechanic, the legendary Mr Drelli, who will be documenting the tour with photos and video footage and, at the top of the more difficult climbs, will be refreshing us with bananas, sandwiches and water. Meanwhile, warmed by the sunshine of a beautiful spring day, we have already passed Tavullia and are nearing the ascent that will take us to Torre San Tommaso. It’s not a difficult climb, a 34-19 is sufficient, and it will offer us an amazing panorama culminating with a view of Urbino.

Let’s stop here for a while and admire the sheer beauty of the surrounding landscape.

These opportunities to chat, to share in the effort and in the pleasure of being in such an incredible natural setting, will be something to enjoy throughout our excursion.

At Urbino, where we have now explored the historic centre and stopped for a coffee, we have given Mr Drelli plenty of opportunities to display his talents in the field of photography.

We reclaim our bikes and cycle down a lovely road leading to Urbania, but after10 kmwe turn off to the right, towards Pieve Di Cagna. Here you really feel you are right away from the world: no traffic, great wide valleys and, with the help of spring, trees in blossom and brilliant colours everywhere you look. So, while I am happily pedalling along, the Beatles’ song, “The Long andWinding Road” comes into my head: the ideal soundtrack for this wonderful trip!

The ascent which takes us to Tavoleto, and then on to Montefiore, provides us with another beautiful view that stays with us till we get to S.Clemente.

Here we have another short stop, with more photos; and when the green of the trees and the pink and yellow of the flowers is joined by the blue of the sea, why then we’ve finally arrived back at Riccione, where a generous buffet meal is waiting for us at the Hotel Dory.

It has been a really intense experience, with lots of pleasure and excitement, but it’s also been very tiring, involving changes in level amounting to about1250 metres. However, it’s been well worth the effort!

Now, we are getting ready for another trip, and looking forward to Friday evening, when everyone will get together at the hotel to look at Mr Drelli’s photos, and we’ll be able to relive this amazing day!

Oh, I nearly forgot: make sure you put some oil on your chains!

I look forward to seeing you soon,

Licia