Topbike Tours - European Cycling Holiday Specialists

David Olle and Emma Colson

An Australian company, Topbike has a fully equipped European base and its own fleet of high quality hire bikes and E-bikes.

We specialise in quality cycling tours with small groups and are famous for looking after our clients.

+61 415 866 061 (mobile)
- SINCE 1997 -
Lake Iseo - Topbike HQ Marone Italy, MBGs Lakeside at Bar Bar

Sicily, TdF, Giro Donne, Italy state of the nation report – Spritz!

Topbike Euro Diary 2022
State of the nation report: Italy June 2022 (last visit, September 2019)

Coffee Report

Our first coffee was at an Autogrill, which as a rule is always a little higher in price – €1.30. No change since pre-covid price. Once ‘home’ we quickly realised we had to have a round of free coffees, as we visited the 4 local bars, as either the owners, or friends, shouted us an espresso, to welcome us back. Day 2 we paid €1 for an espresso at the bar. Again, no change. The always visible price list (it’s the law, for bars to have this) says €1.10. So in our ‘hood I guess we get a locals discount. Nice.

Aperitivi Report

Day 2 we visited the Wilier factory, near Treviso to pick up a new fleet of bikes, and while a lot of the talk was bike related, it shot off on a tangent once ‘Spritz’ was mentioned. Because we were in the Veneto, and the Venetians invented the drink. I’m not sure exactly when, I’m going with the 18th C, but sparkling water was added to wine primarily to make the wine go further. It evolved as other flavours were added, usually bitter/fruit based, as watering down the wine lost some of the original kick. Fast forward to the 21st century and Aperol, who had already been around for a good while, decided to boost their marketing, and bullishly almost took over the Spritz market. I say ‘almost’ because most bars/waiters will oft clarify what type of Spritz you’re after, ie Campari, Aperol, or Select. The latter laying claim to being part of the original recipe. Spritz is now officially classed as a cocktail by an alcohol regulatory board. The best part is that when in the Veneto, Spritz is priced at around 3 euro, as Venetians do not accept that their local drink is a cocktail, therefore refusing to pay any more. In the other states the price is usually 5-7 euro, as they apply the cocktail price tag. So, when in the Veneto…
(you can read more Spritz info here)

Phone Charges Report

Two new Italian sims for our phones cost us 44 euro. The breakdown is 10 euro for the sim, 9 euro for the monthly charge, and 3 euro for a set up fee. The 9 euro a month includes 70 gig, that can be used at no extra cost, throughout Europe, apart from Switzerland. Nine euro (about $14) for 70 gig. 70 GIG!

Telstra Report – Turn Off Your Data – Rookie Error

At Singapore airport, in transit, I received a text message saying I had used $100 in data roaming charges. I’d thought I was connected on wifi, and had neglected to switch off the data. I checked the amount later, ‘twas .33 of a gig. Seriously Telstra, vai fon culo. I’m switching that one to a pre-pay Aldi sim when I get home.

Welcome Back – Ben Tornato

Our small apartment has a balcony on the street, east facing. It’s a lovely place for the three of us to sit for an evening meal, as long as whoever is sitting in the doorway is prepared to do a bit of legwork. It keeps us in touch with the neighbours too, as the summer months gets people out on the street. Gigi across the road called to us on the first night ‘I have something for you’. I trotted down onto the street, to receive our gift. Five copies of ‘La Gazetta dello Sport’ with Australia’s Jai Hindley on the front page (see photo). Of course it’s not the main story as football most always dominates, but it’s still pretty cool. It would take a local winner to claim the front page main photo, and headline.

Skippy Report: Tour de France and Giro Donne

Nine skinny Australians are lining up in Copenhagen for the start of Le Tour today with four of them being the nominated no 1 rider. This is exceptional, and definitely a golden age for Australian cycling, coming off Jai Hindley’s win at the Giro.

This from INRNG: The Tour starts with a 13km time trial around Copenhagen, a tour of many the Danish capital’s sights and monuments. There’s the stage win, a yellow jersey up and an early form test for the overall contenders, all in front of what promises to be a giant crowd in Copenhagen.

Seven Australian women have already started the women’s tour of Italy, the Giro Donne, which is the jewel in the crown for women’s cycling.

This from
Starting with a three-day grande partenza in Sardinia, the 2022 Giro d’Italia Donne takes in a 10-stage, 11-day route from the southern island town of Cagliari to Padova in the north.
Across five regions of mainland Italy, the race features everything from a Classics-style day in Bergamo to a tough summit finish atop the Passo Maniva, with some sprint chances too before a big weekend of climbing to decide the general classification.

Our Tour of Sicily, Aug 31-Sept 8, 2022

Our first Tour of Sicily was 20 year ago, and we have changed the route every year since. It’s one of our favorite tours, featuring excellent accommodation, fabulous cuisine, spectacular views AND courteous drivers. We have places available, so please get in touch now – you never know what might happen next year…!


Main Top: MBGs overlooking Lake Iseo, BarBar
Below Row 1:
Left: The skinny balcony works for us
Right: La Gazzetta dello Sport, the pink sporting rag
Below Row 2:
Left: Betty growth chart, with COVID interval
Right: Wilier Bikes, in the Veneto
(Images: David Olle)

Topbike Tours - Italian Climbs


We Return to Europe in 2023 and running our famous cycling tours in France (Corsica, French Climbs, French Climbs + Paris), Italy (Sicily, Tuscany, Piedmonte, South of Rome, Italian Climbs, Giro) and Spain (Spanish Climbs + Vuelta)

Paul Miller & Naomi, high on the Montegrappa - Topbike Classic Italian Climbs 2018

Ebikes available on all tours, even the climbs tours – bring along your bestie…

Wilier ebikes availble on all Topbike tours

More than Ebikes…

We are continuing to update our complete hire fleet, with new Wilier Triestina electric bikes (Triestina Hybrid model)Find out more about riding one of our electric bikes on tour here.  Better still, come and ride one.