We rode through the undulating landscape of southern Tuscany passing some small towns and riding through others in the Val d’Orcia. The 9.3-mile ride included a long climb to the town of Pienza. Once again, I was thankful I had requested the electric assist bike. In Pienza, the home of pecorino cheese, we were on our own to explore the many cheese shops and coffee bars. I didn’t need any cheese so I found a coffee bar that suited me and sat outside people watching. A favorite pastime at my age is to let my imagination fashion a story about the people passing by, why they are there at that particular moment, what their day will bring, what their family is like, just making up stories.
After the break I chose the 18-mile option, passing vineyards and cultivated fields to arrive in Montepulciano, the highest Tuscan hill town we would visit. On our own for lunch, I stopped at the enoteca, wine tasting site, just off the Piazza Grande, and had a taste of the famed Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It was nice but did not appeal to me as much as the Chianti I preferred.
After lunch the ride involved more ascents and descents to arrive back at the Bagno Vignoni in Albergo le Terme. I found the descents most exciting but didn’t allow myself to exceed 50 km/hr on the speedometer. Thirty miles per hour on a bike flying downhill is about all the excitement I can handle.