The following is a thoroughly detailed summary of the trip from Leod Motorcycle Escapes:
The Euro is at an all time low agains the dollar so now is a great time. Also Greg Drevenstedt from Rider Magazine is joining us to document the Italy tour and our time at Mugello. We are bringing an extra photographer to cover the tour. Next year the tour will have a minimum of 10 people on it and no journalist and no photographer. It won’t ever get this good, so bag this spot while you can.
What is this tour about?
This tour was designed by Enrico Grassi and Cat MacLeod to be the ultimate Italian Motorcycling dream for accomplished track day riders who enjoy spirited sport touring. We are heading across the Italian backroads through gorgeous countryside and fabulous food. Staying at smaller boutique hotels and enjoying an authentic motorcycling experience across amazing regions of Italy. Visiting Ducati in Bologna and then experiencing a day of intense training with Ducati Rider Experience, at the legendary circuit of Mugello. For the passionate accomplished rider with significant track experience, Leod Escapes has assembled the dream and made it possible.
Where does it start and when should I book flights?
Arrival Airport: Rome - The Fiumicino or(also called) Leonardo da Vinci International Airport
Arrival Date: no later than (3pm or 15:00 local time) on June 12th, 2015
Departure Date: no earlier than 2pm local time on June 19th.
The Eternal City of Rome is a destination in and of itself, you may want to arrive early or stay on later after the tour.
Purchase Airfare: You should generally purchase Airfare 3-4 months before departure. So you'd need to book right now. We find direct flight from Iberia or Alitalia are the best, but shop around as ticket pricing always fluctuates. We find kayak.com a handy way to look at the overall market, then sometimes check direct on certain carrier websites once you’ve found some routes work for you.
How will the group rides in the Italian backroads be structured?
The sweeping curves of the Tuscan coutryside or the maze of Italian cities make for fun riding but make holding together a group difficult so we have to work as a team to keep the group close together at safe distances. Our local Italian guide will lead the group and our sweep/luggage vehicle will bring up the rear.
What will I be riding on the street?
For the valleys and hills of Tuscany or twisting down the mountain pass of Raticosa we will be using sport touring bikes and naked bikes. The two bikes that were canceled and still remain available are an F800R and a Ducati Monster 821. For couples riding two up we suggest the new wasser boxer BMW R1200GS or R1200RT.
What about medical insurance?
For our USA clients, Travel Medical Insurance is always a good idea for this type of adventure and high risk sports. Europe health service is a lot like the fire department, it’s there and it works. Most medications are widely available at most Pharmacia, but it is always a good idea to bring enough of whatever medication you need. In Europe, medical care is free to all EU citizens, but it can be expensive for non-Europeans, especially for hospital stays and surgeries. So get travel medical insurance. Which one? Many won't cover you if you are riding a motorcycle. We've found that any insurance company that is traded on Wall Street is a corrupt scam, they say they offer medical coverage but they don't because they will try to hit up your medical insurance first, which won't work, then they'll come after you. So we've moved our business to Seven Corners Medical Travel Insurance backed by Lloyds of London. Another notable mention is World Nomads. Their insurance is not as flexible as SevenCorners, but it is still decent coverage. Webites for quotes and purchases are listed below. Also note that sometimes, it is cheaper to pay for individual coverage than for more than 1 person.
Where will I be staying?
We’ll be doing three to four star accommodations for the entire tour. We use small boutique hotels so you get the flavor of the country you are experiencing. You want to be part of the experience and hotel ambience and charm are part of that. Large hotel chains are bland. Hotel costs are included as part of the tour.
What do I need to ride in Italy?
Italy is a progressive European Union country. For riders from the USA it is recommended that you have an IDP - International Driver’s Permit. Rarely do you need it to ride/rent your bike, but if there is an incident, your IDP will get the insurance to cover your expenses better than a driver’s license. It is recommended to get this 2 months before your travel date. Depending upon the state and issuing body, the IDP is good for 6 months to 1 year and usually costs around $20.
How is the food?
You don't need to ask. What can you say about a country that sells hundreds of Food Tours every year? Italian food has flare, style and high quality. Breakfasts are light with plenty of expresso, and lunches are simple fare, but dinners are where Italian cuisine shines. During most evenings you are free to sample what you like. Good food, wine and friends is why Italian dinners are never rushed and are usually 3-4 hours. There’s always a free welcome and farewell dinner along with some surprises here and there.
How is Mugello?
Mugello, like Sachsenring is a very technical track. It is not recommended for 1st time track riders and Ducati Rider Experience will relegate you to mostly parking lot drills unless you have solid track experience. Experienced track day riders will have a blast on this circuit. Arrabiata 1 & 2, Scarperia and Savelli will have new meaning in your mind and you will now understand the entry points for turns when you next watch Moto GP here. If your track suit, gloves and boots do not meet inspection, don’t worry, Ducati can rent you appropriate gear for your track day.
How is the track day structured?
You will be riding on Mugello with Ducati Rider Experience. This is not a typical motorcycle track/training day. Think of it as an intense training with a heavy dose of Ducati branding. You’ll be riding the course with local Italians and the Ducati brings out some of their top trainers and testers. You may well want a few autographs from the training team before your day is done. Remember that the riders and instructors English is not the best and it takes them extra effort to communicate with you, however also remember they are fellow riders just like you. Instructors will be there to teach you the lines and much more. Mugello is a very technical track, there will be instructors in each of 4 classes to show you the lines and answer questions so you can best set up your corners for the next session. There are 5, 20 minute sessions in a day.
Who are your guides?
Cat, owner and tourmaster of Leod Escapes will be along, but our local guide is Enrico Grassi, who has been on 2 wheels exploring the breadth and width of Italy for over 20 years. He has traveled extensively on 2 wheels through most of the European countries: crossing Turkey all the way to Iran: Traveling in Tunsinia and Lybia in North Africa and even shipping his bike to the USA and going cross-country from New York to San Francisco. As our tour leader and translator, he embraces the Leod Ecsapes philosophy of experiencing the country and environment you are in: engaging all your senses. The back roads are the joy of traveling, we will be avoiding the commuter freeways and motorways when possible. Our luggage vehicle will be riding sweep. It can also accomodate any passenger who feels the need for a day off the bike.
Do I have to be a fast rider?
Not fast. Smooth and aware. Riding through twisty curves and Italian towns requires skill to be enjoyed. Italians are good drivers but aggressive. Our tours run at a bit quicker pace than average, but we’ll leave high speed for the track. The skill range can be fairly wide. We’ve had professional AMA racers and riders who’ve only been to a few track days. The tour is for competent riders of all ages, who can keep their cool and stay smooth and have done at least several track days.
What if I have never left the USA before?
First, get your passport NOW! Second, Leod Escapes took 10 riders out of the USA for their first time last year, you can do it to. You’re a motorcycle rider, International travel can’t scare you. Third, relax, Italy is safe and has quality medical care. Yes many people speak only a little English but you make do. Learn some basic Italian words and phrases and make an attempt. It’s part of the adventure. You’ll get hooked.
So what does it cost so have this much fun?
We’ve learned that when people have an awesome vacation they never remember what it cost afterwards. $4846 sharing a room, $5405 for you own room. Couples riding 2 up can go for $7908 total (including a large touring bike). Hotels are 3 & 4 star or higher and breakfast is always included. At least 2 dinners are included. All track fees, track bike rental and fuel at the track is included. Pick up from the airport and drop off after the tour are included. Rental touring bikes are included. Only lunches, some dinners, drinks and fuel in the backroads are not included. Expect a few free glasses of wine as well. For some this is a trip of a lifetime, for others it quickly becomes a yearly habit.
Learn more and snag your spot by clicking here.
-- From Leod Motorcycle Escapes