Thirteen of us gathered in front of the Arezzo train station. One of the three group leaders from Backroads, Jane Mangione, briefed us on what to expect then we boarded a bus for a 1 & ½ hour ride to Celle Sul Rigo and lunch at a ridge-top tavern where a surprise awaited me. It was Sept. 4th, my 86th birthday.

After everyone was comfortable with the bike assigned to them and instructed on the use of the GPS we mounted up and descended into the Val d’ Orcia past groves of chestnut trees, open views of Tuscany’s rolling hills lined with cypress trees, then a climb out of the valley made possible for me by the electric assist bike I requested. We ended the ride in the town of Bagno Vignoni and its thermal baths dating to the time of the Etruscans. We checked into the Allergo Le Terme, our hotel for that night and the next.