If there's such a thing as a “Mecca” for bicycle travel, Italy may be the place. And if you love wine and Italian cooking too, then you'll definitely want to pedal through Tuscany.

As an American bicyclist living in Europe, my goal is to find the best bike routes around the continent, some known and others undiscovered. This week, I'm going with a classic: the region south of Florence and Siena. I'll search for some of the richest red wines in the world while taking in the charming countryside, eating delicious local Tuscan cuisine and riding a few tough hills to burn those calories off!

The trip starts in Florence where my girlfriend and I meet up with our traveling partners over dinner near the Basilica of Santa Croce. We feast on capellacci, ravioli stuffed with sweet squash and walnuts, and tender Florentine steak with fresh arugula, all with a tasty local Chianti.

Photo courtesy Trent Strohm via Flickr/CC