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Tips for cycling the Via Francigena route – Part 1

via-francigena-route-cycling-rome-italy-francigenawaysCycling the Via Francigena route this year? fitness and health specialist Peter Duffy from D-Pete Health and Fitness Clinic in Dublin has prepared two handy articles to help you get ready. For part 1 he focuses on practical information and essentials:

By Peter Duffy.

If you are thinking about dusting off your old bike to prepare for cycling the Via Francigena route this blog is for you! Just like walking, cycling also requires a fair bit of dedication and preparation as there are a lot of factors that can impact your performance. Here are a few cycling tips for your Via Francigena cycling trip:

1. Set up your bike correctly
– This is number 1 on the list for a reason. If you commit to riding a bicycle that is not tailored to your body, then the chances of you struggling and not enjoying your cycle becomes a frustrating reality.
– People differ with respect to arm, leg and torso length, so in saying that, visit your local specialist bike shop where they will alter the saddle and handle bar positions for you (or adjust when you receive your rental bike).

2. Cycling Kit
– Yes!! They’re tight, they’re vibrant and the prices can be a bit cheeky, but the following pieces of equipment will make your Via Francigena trip far more enjoyable and safe:
A. Bike helmet – A no brainer!! Protecting your head must be made a priority!! Helmets these days are lightweight and well ventilated, and can literally save your life
B. Cycling shorts – Make sure that your cycling shorts are seamless and chafe-free, this will help prevent soreness from repeated rubbing whilst cycling.
C. The Basics (included in your package if renting a bike as part of your trip with
-A puncture repair kit & pump
-A spare inner tube
-Knowledge on how to change a tyre and mend a puncture

3. Sunglasses
Sunglasses are a must for your cycling trip along the Via Francigena route, they will help you by:
1. Keeping dust and flies out of your eyes
2. Cutting out glare and reflections
3. Sharpening your vision in low light conditions if you buy a pair with interchangeable lenses

4. Keep Hydrated!!
Sport drinks and water will keep you hydrated during your cycle. Remember, don’t wait until your get thirsty to take a drink. By the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated!
Drink frequently!
Straw coloured urine = you are well hydrated
Darker coloured urine = you need to drink more

5. Keep Energised!!
Running low on energy will prevent you from enjoying your cycling holiday. Like any other intense activity your body will demand more energy. So eat small, frequent meals or snacks on the
go to maintain your body’s energy levels. Energy bars are great for eating on the go.

6. Practice!!
Don’t wait until the big day or the week before your cycling trip to go on your first long cycle. It is essential that your body gradually becomes accustomed to a new or unaccustomed

Check out the following Beginner Training Program Table:


This will gradually increase your level of endurance and make you more efficient in utilising your body’s fuel. Keep in mind this is also a great opportunity to explore new areas.

7. Interval Cycling
This is a great way to build up your cycling fitness. Experiment with some faster-paced riding. The idea is you are aiming to ride faster for a short period of time i.e. 5 minutes, followed by a recovery period 3 minutes and then this cycle is repeated throughout your cycling session. Make sure that you always warm up and cool down before and after your cycle.

Read Tips for cycling the Via Francigena – Stretches – Part 2

Read more Via Francigena Preparation articles by Pete.

To get in touch with Pete about his health and fitness services:

To read more fitness and training articles ahead of your Via Francigena.

For more information about cycling the Via Francigena route or to book your Via Francigena trip, contact our travel specialists



Product Manager Emmet has cycled the length and breadth of Ireland and knows every nook and cranny like the back of his hand.
More by Emmet

2 Responses to “Tips for cycling the Via Francigena route – Part 1”


Hi Johanna, thank you for your comment. To answer your questions: the trails are a mixture of different kinds of terrain, including road, off-road trails and hills. We would recommend mountain bikes rather than bikes that are only suitable for regional roads. There are a number of options for accommodation depending on the sections that you plan to do. We book accommodation and do luggage transfers as part of our packages. If you would like to contact our team at they can provide you with a full itinerary and give you details on the individual sections that you can choose to do. Kind regards, Lisa.


Hi, Your trip sounds really good and I was just asking a few questions for my trip in a month and a half.

1. are parts of the route suitable for road bike users with narrow tyres or is it full mountain bike conditions? If there are parts can you suggest some to help out.

2. did you book accommodation as you went or have it planned and paid for prior to leaving? I like the idea of riding as far as you feel comfortable but don’t want to come unstuck without accommodation.


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