Caesar Bike Tour Overview

Join us on a ride of historical proportions, as we ride in the footsteps of Caesar, from London to Rome.

Split into 2 stages the Caesar tour traverses four countries as we meander our way on a historical, gastronomic and cultural journey across the ages.  Crossing waterways, rolling over vine clad hills and taking on mountain passes in the Alps and the Dolomites we head towards the Rubicon and beyond. Our final destination is the Eternal city of Rome.

Starting in London we first head to the white cliffs of Dover before traversing the channel (by boat, not bike – it isn’t that epic!) into France. Our route through France takes us via the roads made famous  by the Classics, down through the Champagne region and into the gastronomic heartland of Burgundy. From here we ride into Switzerland and then over into Italy.

Our route through Italy takes us first to Como before heading up towards the stunning limestone peaks of the Dolomites. From here we experience a bit of respite as we descend down to Venice and along the Adriatic coast. After crossing the mythical Rubicon, which marked the boundary between Roman controlled Italy and Cisalpine Gaul, we once again head inland through Tuscany and then more rugged regions of Abruzzo and Molise, before heading due east to our final destination – Rome.

Caesar Bike Tour Highlights

The Itinerary for the Caesar Expedition is split into 2 stages. Riders may participate in either or both of the stages.  If you’d like to take on the entire Caesar challenge choose to Hail Caesar!

Stage 1 –  London to Como

Leaving London we head towards the White Cliffs of Dover, sighted twice by Caesar during his invasions of Britain in 55 and 54 BCE. We cross the Channel to northern France and ride some of the Paris-Roubaix cobbles before meandering our way through Champagne country and then on to the vine clad hills of Burgundy. These regions now famous for fine wine were once the bloody battlefields of Caesar’s epic Gallic Wars. From here we head east towards the Jura mountains and Switzerland. We coast around Lake Neauchatel and follow a great network of bike routes on our way to Lucerne. Travelling south we cross the stunning Gotthard pass and then descend towards the northern lakes of Italy where Como serves as a great spot to mark the end of the first stage of this epic adventure.

Stage 2 – Como to Rome

 From Como we head east through the picturesque regions of Lombardy and Veneto before turning north towards the mighty Dolomites. Bolzano serves as our springboard into this stunning mountain range where we will take in a number of the classic Sella Ronda passes. We then descend towards the Serenissima (the most serene) – Venice – before island hopping to Chioggia and into Emilia Romagna, whose fine cuisine and historic towns beckon. From here we enjoy some respite from the hills as we follow the Adriatic coast before heading inland to the Via Amelia and crossing the Rubicon just as Caesar did uttering those fateful words as he descended on Rome – ‘The die is cast’. We take in the principality of San Marino before crossing the Appenines into Tuscany. From here we explore the rugged beauty of the Maremma region on our way to the Eternal city – Rome – our final destination of the Caesar Epic Adventure.

Caesar Bike Tour Dates 2019

Stage Start Date End Date Days Distance Cost (Euros)
Caesar Stage 1 – London to Como TBC TBC 17 (16 nights) 1752 km / 1095 miles €6,640
Caesar Stage 2 – Como to Rome TBC TBC 17 (16 nights) 1488 km / 930 miles €6,640
Hail Caesar – London to Rome TBC TBC 33 (32 nights) 3240 km / 2025 miles €12,800

Supplements

> Single supplement – Our prices are based on twin/double occupancy. If you wish to have your own room a supplement is applicable. For a single stage the single supplement is €1,040; for the Epic (Hail Caesar) it is €2,080.
> Bike hire – If you don’t bring your own bike we have a fleet of bikes that we are able to rent out. Please click here to visit Our Bikes page which shows the options we have available, including the pricing which varies according to the length of the hire.
> Wine kitty – On all of your tours we run a wine kitty system. This is very much an optional arrangement that ensures non-drinkers can be accommodated. The wine kitty is owned by the group and anything left over is divided up although this rarely happens! As a rough guide the wine kitty is €60 per week.
> Deposits – To reserve a place on a stage of this tour you need to pay a deposit of €1000 (or your local currency equivalent). We also accept payment in GB£ and AU$.  The final invoice will include any applicable single supplements or bike hire costs. Normally. unless otherwise requested, we collect the wine kitty monies on the tour itself. Contact us with your specific requirements and any questions you may have.

 

 

Caesar Bike Tour Food

Stage 1 -London to Como

We begin our journey in England, traditionally renowned for fish and chips but now offering a smorgasbord of international options. In 2012 chicken tikka masala was voted England’s favourite dish! Crossing the channel then takes us into France which arguably has a more firmly established national cuisine. Northern France is known for its hearty fare which is full of solid flavours – from moules mariniere close to the coast to carbonnade – beef stew braised in beer – as we head inland. Travelling down we sample the delicious truite ardennaise – pan fried trout with smoked ham – before entering the world of Champagne and Riesling around Reims. From here we enter the Burgundy region which is known for a very traditional cuisine of rich and hearty flavours – boeuf Bourguignon and Coq au Vin to name just a couple. The wines aren’t half bad too!
From France we head into Switzerland whose cuisine, whilst typically simple fare, has been influenced by France, Italy and Germany and so offers an interesting array of options. We spend most of our time in the French part of the country so we’ll sample the incredible fondues and raclettes that will be on the menu. We enter Italy via the Saint Bernard pass and descend into Valle d’Aosta whose cuisine is heavily influenced by both France and the Alps. The Fonduta (Italian fondue) will make for an interesting comparative study with what we ate in Switzerland. We then head towards the northern lakes of Italy which offer a variety of great dishes based on the lake fish. The end of Stage 1 is Como in Lombardy which is renowned for both its lake fare and its sumptuous risottos.

Stage 2 – Como to Rome

From Como we head towards the Dolomites where mountain fare will once more be the order of the day. The canerdeli – farm style dumplings – and apple strudel are real standouts. From here we descend down to Venice and a more forgiving topography. This is reflected by a lighter cuisine with the risottos of the area particularly good. With its rich and varied history Venice actually has a very different cuisine to the rest of northern Italy. Signature dishes such as Bigoli in salsa (pasta with anchovy and onion) and sepe al nero (cuttlefish) are testament to this uniqueness.
Following the Adriatic coast we then enter into Emilia Romagna which arguably contains the richest concentration of Italian culinary jewels – parmesan cheese, parma ham and balsamic vinegar to name just three. Staying close to the coast though we sample delicious pasta dishes with an array of seafood as well as experiencing Italian sashimi. Heading inland we come across a more rustic cuisine as we enter the Marche region whose vincisgrassi  – pasta casserole with meat sauce – is amazing. From here we ride into Abruzzo which is home to the legendary ‘panarda’ – a feast which is made up of between 35-50 courses that pays homage to St Antonio who clearly had quite an appetite! The final leg takes us into Lazio and on our way to Rome which is much focussed on seasonal ingredients and provides a fitting end to what is a fantastic culinary adventure from start to finish.

Caesar Bike Tour Accommodation

Below are some of the hotels which we stay at during the tour. We have carefully selected these places based on their ‘personality’ and the hospitality of our hosts. If you wish to see the full accommodation list please click here to get in touch and we will be happy to email it to you.

Hotel La Gentilhommiere, Artres -A great boutique hotel tonight in this lovely village. This 18th-century farmhouse makes for a great first stop in France.

 

Chateau Fort Sedan – the biggest castle in Europe is our host tonight. This impressive structure was built in the early 15th century in the beautiful Ardennes region of France. It dominates the town and once dominated the whole region.

Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Silandro – A modern luxury hotel in the heart of Schlanders region. This extremely comfortable hotel is perfect for our aching muscles with its Spas and pool facilities after climbing our biggest test the Passo dello Stelvio!

Hotel della Fortezza, Sorano. This fantastic and classy hotel is set in a historical 11th-century military fortress. It sits high above the beautiful town of Sorano but it is worth the cycle up!

 

Hotel Donna Camilla Savelli, Rome – Set in a converted 17th-century convent in the Trastevere district the Donna Camilla is fantastic place to spend our last night together.

Caesar Reading

Our Expedition Tour reading lists are aimed at being accessible to everyone – all the books are historical but there is fiction, primary authors and serious historians so take your pick! As always if you want any more information or more recommendations please contact us

Start here, with the greatest memoir in ancient history. Caesar’s own words.

Julius Caesar Caesar – A Conquest of Gaul

A brilliant, readable tale of the politics and lives of early Rome.

Christian Meier Caesar: A Biography

Widely regarded as the most significant historian of his era, writing sharp and succinct accounts of the greatest politicians and statesman of the classical period.

Plutarch The Fall of the Roman Republic: Six Lives

An entertaining, fast moving and gripping read

Tom Holland Rubicon The Last Years of the Roman Republic

Shakespeare’s shortest play but a true classic

William Shakespeare Julius Caesar

Entertaining, sometimes crude buy historically accurate and always fun. Definitely worth a listen if you want another way to get your history!

Cameron Reily and Ray Harris Life of Caesar Podcast

Caesar Bike Tour History

Biography

“I had rather be first in a village than second at Rome. “

– Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar was born in Rome on 12 or 13 July 100 BCE into the prestigious Julian clan. His family were closely connected with the Marian faction in Roman politics. Caesar himself progressed within the Roman political system, becoming in succession quaestor (69), aedile (65) and praetor (62). In 61-60 BCE he served as governor of the Roman province of Spain. Back in Rome in 60, Caesar made a pact with Pompey and Crassus, who helped him to get elected as consul for 59 BCE. The following year he was appointed governor of Roman Gaul where he stayed for eight years, adding the whole of modern France and Belgium to the Roman empire, and making Rome safe from the possibility of Gallic invasions. He made two expeditions to Britain, in 55 BCE and 54 BCE.

Caesar then returned to Italy, disregarding the authority of the senate and famously crossing the Rubicon river without disbanding his army. In the ensuing civil war Caesar defeated the republican forces. Pompey, their leader, fled to Egypt where he was assassinated. Caesar followed him and became romantically involved with the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra.

Caesar was now master of Rome and made himself consul and dictator. He used his power to carry out much-needed reform, relieving debt, enlarging the senate, building the Forum Iulium and revising the calendar.

Dictatorship was always regarded a temporary position but in 44 BCE, Caesar took it for life. His success and ambition alienated strongly republican senators. A group of these, led by Cassius and Brutus, assassinated Caesar on the Ides (15) of March 44 BCE. This sparked the final round of civil wars that ended the Republic and brought about the elevation of Caesar’s great nephew and designated heir, Octavian, as Augustus, the first emperor.

 

Brief History

Caesar is considered by many historians to be the foremost figure in Western civilisation. Our journey with him begins at the furthest northern point he reached in 54BCE as the first Roman invader of Britain, and ends in Rome, the city he eventually ruled as dictator and was assassinated in 10 years later.

Caesar ‘s two most famous political and military campaigns are the Gallic and Civil Wars. One reason for their fame, or infamy, is he wrote an excellent factual (most of the time!) account of both of these events. The other reason is they literally changed the course of history.

The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged from 58 BC to 50 BC culminating in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory against overwhelming odds (at the very minimum 2 to 1), resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul (mainly present day France, Belgium and some of Switzerland). While militarily just as strong as the Romans, the internal division of the Gallic tribes allowed Caesar’s tactical nouse to reign supreme. Even a last ditch attempt by Vercingetorix to unite the Gauls against Roman invasion was too little too late. Although Caesar portrayed this invasion as being a pre-emptive and defensive action, most historians agree that the wars were fought primarily to boost Caesar’s political career and to pay off his massive debts. Still, Gaul was of significant military importance to the Romans, as they had been attacked several times by native tribes both indigenous to Gaul and farther to the north. Conquering Gaul allowed Rome to secure the natural border of the river Rhine and the oceans, although Caesar did cross the channel and defeat an indigenous army in his dual invasions of Britain. This conquest has been seen as both a series of military successes by a tactical genius as well as a horrific devastation and slaughter of local populations for personal gain.
The Great Roman Civil War (49–45 BCE), also known as Caesar’s Civil War, was one of the last politico-military conflicts in the Roman Republic before the establishment of the Roman Empire. It began as a series of political and military confrontations, between Caesar and his political supporters (broadly known as Populares), against the Optimates, supported by Pompey ‘the Great’ and his legions. Caesar eventually defeated the last of the Optimates in the Battle of Munda and became Dictator of Rome. This conflict ranged from Italy, Albania, Greece, Egypt, Africa, and Spain, but its first big step was that of Caesar over the Rubicon river as he headed south to Rome with his legions behind him. We will also take this fateful road.
The changes to Roman government concomitant to the war virtually eliminated the 500 year old political traditions of the Roman Republic and led to the foundation of the Roman Empire.

 

The Trip

The Caesar tour runs in June/July bi-annually. Divided into 2 stages it traverses England, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy from London to Rome.

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The Stages at-a-glance

    London to Como
    Length: 17 Days / 16 Nights
    Distance: 1752 km | 1095 miles
    Elevation: 17,152m | 56,273ft
    Dates: TBC
    Price: €6,640
    Grading: 

    Como to Rome
    Length: 17 Days / 16 Nights
    Distance: 1488 km / 930 miles
    Elevation: 21,773m | 71,434ft
    Dates: TBC
    Price: €6,640
    Grading: 

    London to Rome
    Length: 33 Days / 32 Nights
    Distance: 3240 km / 2025 miles
    Elevation: 38,925m | 127,707ft
    Dates: TBC
    Price: €12,800
    Grading: 

The Trip

The Caesar tour runs in June/July bi-annually. Divided into 2 stages it traverses England, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy from London to Rome.

Email me the Tour Catalogue Book Now Schedule a Call

The Stages at-a-glance

    London to Como
    Length: 17 Days / 16 Nights
    Distance: 1752 km | 1095 miles
    Elevation: 17,152m | 56,273ft
    Dates: TBC
    Price: €6,640
    Grading: 

    Como to Rome
    Length: 17 Days / 16 Nights
    Distance: 1488 km / 930 miles
    Elevation: 21,773m | 71,434ft
    Dates: TBC
    Price: €6,640
    Grading: 

    London to Rome
    Length: 33 Days / 32 Nights
    Distance: 3240 km / 2025 miles
    Elevation: 38,925m | 127,707ft
    Dates: TBC
    Price: €12,800
    Grading: 

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