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Ride Info

Ride Overview

Sicily 2023

  • Arrival
  • 10/18/2023
  • Departure
  • 10/31/2023
  • Ride Coordinator
  • Alma Worthington
  • Tour Company
  • Hike & Bike Italy
  • Starting Location
  • Palermo Airport
  • Finishing Location
  • Syracuse
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $3225
  • Deposit
  • $1000
  • Number of Riders
  • 24 (min. 20 /max. 25)
  • Space Available
  • 1
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating

2B  Warning - Read the Description Carefully

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† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Description

Sicily – Italy’s Enchanted Island (2023)

Overview: Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, lies just off the toe of Italy's "boot." It is an amazing land rich in history and traditions, where art and culture intertwine with wonderful natural beauties. Standing on the Mediterranean crossroads between Europe and Africa, Sicily was periodically invaded by half the ancient civilized world, resulting in a very rich and varied cultural heritage. The island today is a melting pot of breath-taking mountains and active volcanoes, pristine beaches and ancient temples, Moorish cities and sleek resorts – and it is a great location for a bicycle tour!

This tour itinerary is divided into two sections each exploring a distinct region of the island. The first section takes us to the western coast, with attractions including Zingaro National Nature Reserve, lofty Erice, the Trapani salt pans, the wines of Marsala and the fabulous temple sites at Selinunte and at Segesta.

The second section explores the south-eastern part of the island where a chequerboard of stone walled fields and river valleys embraces a series of rich baroque market towns – Ragusa, Modica, Noto and Scicili. The city of Syracuse is the epitome of the island’s glorious Greek heritage.

(There may be the possibility of an optional additional (14th) day to include a trip to Mount Etna – see under Logistics below)

Itinerary: The tour starts with a morning transfer (one hour) from Palermo Airport to the coastal resort of Castellammare del Golfo. If there is time in your schedule after sorting out the bikes there is the option of an out and back warm up ride along the coast to the old tuna fishing port of Scopello and the Zingaro National Nature Reserve.

It is recommended that you arrive in Palermo a day or more in advance to allow time to explore the city and its environs (including Monreale). There are frequent train and bus connections between Palermo Centrale (Central Railway Station) and the airport (the railway station at the airport is Punta Raisi).

Departing from Castellammare del Golfo we ride first to the ancient city of Segesta before continuing west to meet the coast at Nubia, just south of Trapani, for our overnight. If you arrive in time you can take to cable car from Trapani to visit the hilltop town of Erice.

Riding south from Nubia we hug the coast as we ride through a bleached landscape of saline (salt pools) and shimmering heaps of salt dotted with small mulini (windmills) that were used to grind the salt. Marsala is an elegant town full of stately baroque buildings and bookshops. The town is famous for its sweet dessert wines, first developed by English soap merchant John Woodhouse in the 18th century. 

Continuing south along the coast we arrive at Mazara del Vallo. The narrow streets of its charming old town centre are laid out in the Islamic style called Casbah, evidence of the strong North African influence – it was one of the key cities of Saracen Sicily. Continuing south our objective is Selinunte, home to some of Sicily’s most important historic sites. East of Selinunte the rolling hills that surround Menfi are carpeted by acre upon acre of vineyard. Destination for the day is the ancient port of Sciacca, one of the oldest and prettiest spa towns in Italy. The objective of our loop ride from Sciacca is the beautiful hilltop town of Caltobellotta. On arrival back at our Sciacca hotel the bikes are loaded in preparation for the following morning’s transferto Piazza Armerina, and on arrival there there will be time to visit the extraordinary Unesco World Heritage listed Roman villa at Casale, the most important Roman site in Sicily. The afternoon ride takes us on a roller coaster route to the elegant baroque town of Caltagirone, renowned for its high-quality ceramics. From here we pedal to a wonderful medieval castle near Vizzini – the overnight here is a real highlight of the tour. 

The ride from the castle to Ragusa passes through Vizzini and takes us through a series of pastoral landscapes – the scenery on the approach to Ragusa is truly spectacular. 

From here there is a long descent all the way to the coast – we reach the sea at Punta Secca, which together with Scicli features prominently in the adventures of TV’s Inspector Montalbano. A great way to finish the day is with a chocolate tasting at Modica’s famous Antica Dolceria Bonajuto. From Modica we head for the UNESCO heritage town of Noto with its baroque churches and palazzi. A granita at Caffe Sicilia is the perfect way to finish this ride. The out-and-back ride from Noto takes us the southmost tip of Sicily along a wonderful stretch of protected wild coastline with three separate wetland marshes. 

The final ride from Noto is to the Mediterranean gem that is Syracuse and its island of Ortygia.  With its elegant piazzas and buildings Syracuse is without doubt one of the world’s most beautiful cities! 

The Rides:

Day 1 – Castellammare del Golfo Loop (23.7km / +563m)

*Day 2 – Castellammare del Golfo to Nubia (55.4km / +493m)

*Day 3 – Nubia to Marsala (72.9km / +578m)

*Day 4 – Marsala to Selinunte (73.8km / +390m)

*Day 5 – Selinunte to Sciacca (49.4km / +445m)

Day 6 – Sciacca Loop (47.7km / +1048m)

*Day 7 – Sciacca to Caltagirone (36.3km / +615m)

*Day 8 – Caltagirone to Vizzini env (46.8Km / +618m)

*Day 9 – Vizzini env to Ragusa (65.2km / +863m)

*Day 10 – Ragusa to Modica (73.4km / +662m)

*Day 11 – Modica to Noto (43.8km / +517m)

Day 12 – Noto Loop (51.2km / +388m)

*Day 13 – Noto to Syracuse (56.3km / +683m)

* required rides (average distance and ascent of required rides = 57.3km / +586m)

Ride Rating: The itinerary is rated 2B, and there are no required rides that significantly exceed the rating. The optional loop ride from Sciacca has level 3/4 climbing – an easier alternative will be available.

On some of the core routes we will be cycling occasionally on gravel roads for short times but that should not be a problem on road bikes with slightly wider tires (700x25-28) recommended. Hybrid and touring bikes are perfect for this tour.

Accommodations and meals: Included are accommodation for 13 nights (a mix of 3-star and 4-star hotels  with one night in a 5-star castle), all breakfasts and 8 dinners (drinks not included).

We will have a get together every evening.   Because of hotel restrictions all happy hour/map meetings will be cash bar and with limited snacks.   Our gourmet dinners will be plentiful.  We will have a chocolate tasting in Modica.   

Guiding:  A native Italian guide/driver who also speaks excellent English, will accompany us. Also included are guided walks of Ragusa and Syracuse with professional guides

Support: The luggage van will transfer luggage between hotels. It will also will provide emergency support – there is no on demand sag support. Coach transfers from Palermo to Castellammare and from Sciacca to Piazza Armerina are included.  There will be a daily route briefing. Routes will be in the form of maps, GPX files and route notes - cue sheets will not be provided. The GPX files will be available well in advance of the tour for those with their own GPS units or GPS enabled smartphones. GPS units with the routes pre-loaded will be available (free of charge) to those who do not have their own. A trip planner with some useful general information will also be available in advance.

Logistics:

Arrival: There will be an included coach transfer from Palermo Airport to our first hotel in Castellammare del Golfo on Wednesday 18th October 2023. Our provisional hotel is the Marina di Petrolo. This transfer will leave Palermo Airport mid-morning so if you propose to fly in on that day, your flight should arrive there no later than 10.00am. (If you miss the transfer, you can take a taxi to Castellammare).

It is recommended that you arrive in Palermo a day or more in advance to allow time to explore the city and its environs (including Monreale). There are frequent train and bus connections between Palermo Centrale (Central Railway Station) and the airport (the railway station at the airport is Punta Raisi).

Bike boxes will be collected on the evening of 18th October in Castellammare for transfer to Syracuse.

Departure: We depart independently from our Syracuse hotel after breakfast on Tuesday 31th October. Our hotel in Syracuse is the Hotel Roma which is located a mile from the bus and railway stations. There are frequent direct bus and train connections from Syracuse to Catania Airport (around one hour journey time). Transfers can also be arranged if required.  

(Note: The tour is a 13-night itinerary with the final night in Syracuse.  If there is sufficient interest, there may be the option of an additional day which would entail a pick up from Syracuse after breakfast for a trip to Mount Etna in a 4 x 4 vehicle and a transfer to a hotel at Catania Airport for a 14th night. The cost of this optional extra would depend upon the number of participants and would be paid directly to Hike and Bike Italy. You should indicate when signing up if this might be of interest to you). 

Bike rental: Rental bikes (hybrid, road and E-bikes) will be available through Hike and Bike Italy. Those wishing to rent should liaise directly with Hike and Bike Italy – more information about this will follow in due course. Bike fitting for those renting will take place in the afternoon of Sunday 15th October.

Weather and climate: Sicily has typical Mediterranean weather with long, hot summers that last well into October. This means you’ll get plenty of warm weather and sun at this time, although there’s more rain than earlier in the summer. Palermo has an average high of 22ºC in October, so it’s still nice and warm. You should bring some warmer clothes for the evenings though as it cools to 16ºC at night. The sea temperature’s 23ºC, while humidity’s low. You can expect seven hours of sunshine from the 11 hours of daylight each day. UV levels will be moderate. 

Costs: The cost of the tour is based on an exchange rate of $1.10 to the Euro. The price is subject to change based on the exchange rate and will be reviewed in March 2023. Depending on currency exchange rates, there may be an adjustment in the amount of the final payment.  The initial deposit of $1000 plus the $100 BAC tour fee is due immediately.  The final payment of $2225 is due on May 1st, 2023.

Singles and Solos Policy: It is recommended that singles who want a roommate try to find their own. However, after receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the ride and given until January 1st to find a roommate. If they are unable to find a roommate, they will have the option to receive a full refund (minus the BAC fee and payment processing fee) or pay the solo supplement and stay on the ride. If a single pays the supplement, they may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if necessary. The Ride Leader will assist by attempting to match singles who apply for the ride, but singles must make their own rooming decision.  

The solo supplement is $800 and is limited to four spots. Solo supplement payments need to be sent to the BAC office by January 1, 2023.  Checks must be made out to "BAC" with a notation of the tour name included on the check. These are to be mailed to:  Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193.

Cancellation Policy: The BAC ride registration and payment processing fees are not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled due to participation sign-ups being below stated minimum requirements.  Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations.  If the cancelling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time.  If the cancelling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed.  If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the cancelling roommate may also be liable for the single supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour.  BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.     

For cancellations for which a replacement is not found, the Hike and Bike Italy cancellation fee policy is as follows and are additional to any BAC cancellation costs:

90+ days - $260 (to be adjusted for current exchange rate) 

30-90 days - $1000 (to be adjusted for current exchange rate)

0-30 days - $2500(to be adjusted for current exchange rate)

The above fees will be deducted before any refund is calculated.

Ride Participant Responsibility: Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles.    All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader.   Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you may have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.

Insurance: Before participating in any BAC tour, you should assess whether your medical and travel insurance coverage is sufficient. BAC maintains insurance that covers expenses related to accidents, medical emergencies such as sudden and unexpected sickness, and repatriation. This coverage applies when touring outside the US, regardless of your nationality. It will cover you door-to-door for a maximum of 90 days but will expire if you make a side trip not related to the BAC tour for more than 7 days before or after. There is limited coverage for a family member to join a covered person in an emergency. The policy covers the cost of treatment for Covid and other unexpected illnesses, but not quarantine. You should ensure that your vaccinations are up to date.

If we still have a Covid 19 risk we will follow all the necessary rules and change activities needed to remain covid compliant and to keep the tour as safe as possible Discussions concerning any necessary covid precautions will take place next year.

Sign Up: To submit a request to join this ride use the "links" displayed above this Ride Description. When you are accepted, the Ride Leader will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List. You will then receive an email notification to log into the BAC website to sign the release of liability form, and pay the non-refundable BAC ride registration of $100 plus the tour deposit of $1000 by credit card. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List.

To contact the Ride Leader, "click" the name at the top of this Ride Description.


Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510 office@bicycleadventureclub.org

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