How to keep your bike cool up the mountains of Italy with a teenager in tow

Bikini bathing suits. Factor 15 to 50. Paperback to Kindle. The answers to my holiday prep questions have changed over time, but this year there was one more decision: pedal bike or electric?

I was out on a four day cycling trip in South Tyrol with my 16 year old daughter. Her idea of ​​a vacation leans more toward Instagrammable moments of beach sunsets and flower ice cream. It was much harder to walk up hills in 30C.

A friend suggested we rent e-bikes. What a cop-out, I thought. How wrong I was. These eco-beauties transformed our 30-40km journeys from grumble-filled endurance tests to pleasant triumphs with plenty of puff left over for bonding conversations as we rode. E-cycling still feels like training. You’re pedaling and pumping endorphins, but when you’re completely spinning, steep gradients melt away and it’s like you’re riding the flat.

And so an e-bike is obviously on lanes bordered by grapes and apple trees, with a pit stop at a winery for a glass of freshly squeezed juice (or Müller-Thurgau in my case), or at a lake for a cooling dip, very attractive to teenagers – and their mothers.

Like arriving at your hotel destination, located near the pool in the late afternoon sun and looking forward to an evening of pizza, pasta and gelato after all that fresh air and exercise.

At the start of our trip we enjoyed a day in Bolzano, where a mix of cultures and centuries of German, Austrian and Italian influence are at play. The coolest man in town is Ötzi the Iceman who, at around 5,300 years old, is the oldest mummy in Europe (see “He’s older than you, Mummy” jokes). He lies in a refrigerated cell in the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology, the star of a fascinating exhibition showing his clothes and tools, and explaining his way of life, which ended violently with an arrow in the shoulder blade – a true murderous missile. Paleolithic. There is even a full-sized reconstruction of him, pale-skinned with a luscious head of hair. He may look different now, with new DNA analysis recently revealing that he was dark-skinned and bald.

Afterwards, we walked through ancient streets, past elaborate fountains, 12th century shopping arcades and the cathedral with its distinctive green and yellow mosaic roof, ending at the cable car station. A gondola went up to Soprabolzano, a plateau above the city, where we feasted on ice cream and panoramic views.

The second day was some serious cycling along rolling hills covered in vines, heading south through charming villages – with plenty of wine tasting opportunities – to Termeno. We stopped at Lake Caldaro, the warmest and largest swimming lake in the region, to swim on our backs and see the rugged majesty of the Dolomites.

Termeno (or Tramin, its more familiar German name) is steeped in wine. The gewürztraminer grape is named after him (tip: pair the wine with a punchy blue cheese. Delicious.) Our digs were across the road from the 86m-high Gothic church tower, which dominates the village, at the Gasthof Goldene Traube, a restaurant. serving local specialties – and decent burgers – with rooms above.

On the third day we took a circular route along a designated cycle path, a large part of it along the Aiga River. Just as we reached the medieval market town of Egna late in the morning, the Heavens opened. Dipping into the nearest cafe, we left once or twice with other sheltered diners, diving into comforting bowls of canederli (bread dumplings) filled with cream cheese and Graukäse in a beef broth – a specialty in Tír Evan South.

The next morning as the train that was carrying us to Verona passed through the mountains, we were amazed not only at their beauty, but how easily we could tackle them. Join us!

Intravel ( offers Apples & Vines cycling holidays from £985pp based on two people sharing, with four nights B&B accommodation, one dinner, bike hire and maps. E-bike hire from £28pp, until 31 July and 13 August until 15 October 2024

Three more cycling trips through the Italian countryside

On this eight-day adventure you can e-bike or cycle through the olive groves in Tuscany, starting in Florence and ending in Pisa, cycling around its famous leaning tower. On the way, there are stops in Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo, and in the city of Lucca, with its tree-lined paths perfect for cyclists, soaking up wonderful views of the beautiful Garfagnana valley of Tuscany along the way. Seven-night/eight-day holidays start from £1,800, including meals, transport and accommodation.
For more details, go to

Cycle through the heel of Italy, famous for its whitewashed hill towns, baroque churches and white sandy beaches. Highlights include the trulli houses of Alberobello and the ‘white city’ of Ostuni. From £1,369 for a seven-night self-guided tour, including accommodation.
For more details, see

A self-guided e-bike tour of the Costa Smeralda, taking in coastal towns, remote villages and some of the best beaches in Europe. Even better, you can enjoy this stunning coastline in relatively car-free ways. Seven nights with hand-picked hotels, three evening meals and luggage transfer between hotels, from £1,925.
For details, go to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *