Road cycling is enjoying a massive surge in interest thanks in part to the success of British cyclists in the Tour de France and Olympics, but even more because of the appeal of a sport that combines competitive fitness with sociability and some very cool equipment. Cycle clubs are all experiencing an increase in membership but, perhaps more appealing to many, informal groups of friend and colleagues are starting to coalesce into weekend pelatons. This trend, for groups to go out together and test their bodies and their machines against the terrain on busy roads across the UK, in evenings, at weekends and even on dedicated cycling holidays, has led to the growth of independent cycle shops and a number of high-end clothing and cycle brands. Often, enthusiasm for the sport is kindled by a challenge to take part in a fund-raiser or a lads' weekend (the equivalent of ‘Neknominate’ but involving Lycra and padded saddles) and then takes hold and becomes a genuinely life-changing pursuit. This usually leads to longer and longer circuits, more adventurous routes and nights away from home, and then to the inevitable ‘etape’ based out of a slightly grotty B&B in one the less glamorous towns in the middle of France. However, like many sports that are taken up in adulthood, riders tend to reach their physical limits once they have achieved ‘match fitness’ and can keep up with their friends on the inclines and in the bar. That’s the time that many of them start to look for more in their sport, and in themselves.
Dr Julian Widdowson is a sports medicine authority and has worked at the highest level in competitive sport for many years. He is Medical Officer for Bath Rugby and also works with the Welsh Rugby Union and was involved with London 2012. He has pulled together a team of performance coaches, fitness instructors and cycling experts to create Cyclissimo. The objective of this brand new organisation is simple – it sets out to combine the best cycling in Europe (on the roads of Tuscany in Northern Italy) with the finest performance and conditioning advice and a beautiful and luxurious environment (a dedicated villa with pool, gym facilities and the best Italian cooking). Cyclissimo (literally – the best of cycling 'with an Italian accent’) has been developed as a brand by leading consultancy InteractBranding and is setting out to redefine the concept of the 'luxury sports experience’. Cyclissimo is based at the A Chele Estate in the hills near the town of Lucca, set in the heart of some of the most beautiful and challenging rides in the world. The cycling heritage of the area is peerless and the team assembled by Cyclissimo offers unrivalled experience of the terrain and routes combined with the best of Italian cuisine and wines and an uncompromising and professional approach to performance training and fitness assessment.
The team behind Cyclissimo asked the question ‘what would you expect in a luxury sports experience?’. Then they put in place the systems to deliver just that. Luxury guest accommodation for groups of up to 20 people, all the fitness and relaxation facilities that you would expect, and a range of services including bike transport or hire, fitness assessment and coaching, ride support and telemetry, massage and sports medicine, transfers, laundry, sightseeing and partner programs – everything the dedicated and demanding cyclist could want. All combined with the latest and coolest Italian specialist bikes and the most challenging and breathtaking roads in Europe.
Cyclissimo is set to change the face of the cycling holiday forever. The website ‘www.gocyclissimo.com’ was launched this month and already the Summer and Autumn seasons are starting to fill up. It’s going to be a very exciting ride.