After taking early retirement some five years ago, I set myself the three main goals of: becoming a reasonable cyclist; discovering Italy; and learning Italian. Importantly, these overlapped for the five cycling tours I organised with some friends around Italy. I enjoyed the whole experience so much that I decided to write a book about it – An Italian Awakening…Libertà, Lycra e Linguine. Being an engineer, I wanted the book to be useful and practical, so packed it with lots of information and lessons learnt, as well as the usual blood, sweat and tears (mainly of laughter!).  More information can be found at the website (, which also includes a section on Rides where turnsheets/gpx files can be downloaded for 16 of my favourite rides in Italy (these are available whether people buy the book or not).
I wrote the book for fun and the challenge, rather than any financial gain, so decided to sell copies and donate all profits to the local charity TALK Surrey, which supports stroke recovers and where my wife Nicky volunteers.
Thanks and best wishes
Nick. (G4 Ride Leader)