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  • Cycling in Mantova
Bicycle Touring in Mantova
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Family Travel Tips
 
 
Bicycle Touring in Mantova

Cyclists near Mantova

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

There is more to Mantova than Renaissance architecture and old world charm. It is a great place to cycle with children. Bike the perimeter of the fortified city. Ride round Lago di Mezzo. Cycle the banks of the Mincio north to Lake Garda. Bike to Bosco Fontana. Ride south to Governolo and, in addition to watching the Mincio flow into the Po, find out how locks work. You need not be a poet or a fanatic to enjoy a bike trip with kids in Mantova.
Getting Started
 
There are numerous cycling routes - designated bicycle paths as well as low traffic roadways - in and around Mantova. Some trails connect the duchy to neighboring towns; others traverse the countryside. Some follow narrow, winding lanes; others meander with rivers and canals. Some trails pass through morainic hills; others cross floodplains and dense woods. Some trails are out and back; others are loops. Some are paved bike paths; others are dirt track. And while the length of each bike route varies, most Mantova trails are flat as a pancake.
The Right Trip
 
Of the many bike trails in Mantova the following hold special interest for families. Mantova Lakes Trail flanks two of Mantova's three lakes and traverses the floodplain known as Parco del Mincio. The flat, paved trail is an easy 23.5 km (14.6 miles) loop. It starts and ends at the Andes boat jetty and is roughly 3 hours in length. The Mantova-Peschiera Bike Path, part of the Ciclopista del Sole or EV7, follows the Mincio River from Mantova to Peschiera del Garda. The flat, mostly paved trail is 37 km (23 miles) one-way and takes 6 hours to ride. It can be biked one-way and bused back or biked as part of a multi-day cycling trip. The easy Lower Mincio Trail follows the levee from Mantova south to Sacchetta. Highlights include the boat lock in Governolo and confluence with the Po. The flat, predominately dirt trail is 28 km (17 miles) one-way and is best suited to mountain bikes. It can be biked one way and boated back or biked as part of the multi-day bike trip. NB: The starting point of this trail is hard to find. The Province of Mantova website has a detailed trail map (click Mantova in Bici to download the PDF); hard copies are available from the tourist office in Mantova.
Plotting your Route
 
The best months for bicycle touring in Mantova are May, June and September. July and August are hot and humid. It is cold and damp from December through February. The wettest months are March, April and November. The best time to road cycle is 9:30 - 11:30 and 14:00 - 17:00 when traffic is lightest. There are 3 alternatives to out and back bike trips; bike and boat, bike and bus, and bike and train. Motonavi Andes Negrini and Navi Andes accept one-way passengers on river cruises between Mantova and Governolo, Sacchetta and San Benedetto Po. (NB: Don't rely on website postings; contact the companies direct for dates, times and fares.) APAM operates a bike and bus service between Mantova and Peschiera from March 1 to October 31. Bikes are allowed on most regional Italian trains and some intercity and international routes. A nominal fee is charged. Look for the bike icon when booking.
Travel Gear
 
The biggest challenge to cycling in Mantova is hiring bicycles. La Rigola and Mantua Bike, the only bike rental companies in Mantova, let city bikes. Neither rents bike trailers or trailer bikes but both let child bike seats. Neither rents helmets. City bikes can be hired from the camping store in Peschiera del Garda from Easter through October. Their selection is much larger than their competitors in Mantova and includes a limited number of bike trailers and trailer bikes. Helmets are available with all bike rentals. Girolibero, an Italian cycling specialist, kits individual cycling tours. Bike trips, including one-day rides, organized by Zeppelin include bike rentals.
Packing Tips
 
The basics for a Mantova bike ride include map, water, snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, first aid kit, cell phone, rain jacket and phone number of your bus or barge. If you're cycling in spring and fall include windbreakers and raingear. Cycling shorts and padded gloves are a necessity on all but short rides. A camera, disposable models work well for young children, is entertaining and fun. Families cycling with young children should pack the items they need for a day on the town (diapers, wipes, etc). Families cycling for more than a day should consider saddlebags or panniers. Distribute the content according to age; kids can't pull as much as adults!
Health & Safety
 
Cycling is a great outdoor activity yet it is important not to exaggerate. Select a trail that matches the interest and ability of the kids. Pace the ride to the slowest cyclist or youngest child. Teach the kids to bike safely and responsibly. Take care when cycling on heavily trafficked state (SS) and provincial (SP) roads; better yet avoid them. Check each bike before setting out on a ride. Wear a proper fitting helmet and bright colored clothing. Stop frequently for water and snacks. Check on children regularly, even those not pedaling. Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas before you depart, the Italian sun forgives no one.
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