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March 31, 2014 - april 06, 2014 | 5

Biking through Tuscany Wine Country By Greg Aragon I love biking through beautiful countryside’s. I enjoy sampling good wine. And I am a sucker for historic European destinations. So when heard about a new tour company that takes guests through the rolling hills of Tuscany and across the scenic Chianti Wine Region on the Central West Coast of Italy, I knew I had to investigate - and plan a future visit. Led by local wine-maker Carlo Travagli and bike enthusiast Luca Casini, the Tuscany Wine and Bike (TWB) tour was designed to capture and uncover the most authentic aspects of Tuscany – those charming and intimate spots often missed and overlooked by visitors using conventional means of transportation. “My knowledge of wine started when I was still a young lad,” says Travagli. “It goes without saying that at the bottom of Tuscany Wine and Bike lie my passion and my job. There’s also the desire to provide means by which I can truly explain what the

world of wine is really all about.” Travagli says to help his guests understand the Tuscany wine region, he not only gives them an up-close look at the vineyards, the enterprises and the wines, but he also shows them another view of the local Italian landscapes and their history, “because all these elements are entwined.” On the Tuscany Wine and Bike tours, guests will have the chance to cross vineyards and olive groves, to observe the vegetative stages of the vines, and to learn how the grapes are formed and what types of wine they yield. In September and October, it is possible to see the grapes on the point of being harvested and do a tasting course to understand when they are ripe. The TWB itineraries were designed specifically for TWB guests who will be accompanied by Carlo and Luca on a true tour within a territory that changes every few miles from vineyards and cellars, down paths and ancients roads, and through towns and century-old villages. Travagli says the itinerar-

ies will bring the wines, oils, food, places, people and millenary cultures to life, through emotions and senses. “By biking it will be possible to capture aspects which normally remain hidden when taking more comfortable means of transport and, at the same time, it will allow us to cover quite extended distances and, in viable time, learn all about the various viticultural areas, landscapes and history.” And when it comes to great scenery and culture, Tuscany has got its share. Regarded as the birthplace of

the Italian Renaissance, the region is home to museums such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, and seven of its localities have been designated World Heritage Sites, including the historic centre of Florence; the historical centre of Siena; the square of the Cathedral of Pisa; the historical centre of San Gimignano; the historical centre of Pienza; the Val d’Orcia; and Medici Villas and Gardens. Tuscany also has more than 120 protected nature reserves, making the area and its capital Florence a

popular tourist destination attracting millions of tourists each year. TWB provides participants with everything they need to explore Italy’s most renowned wine growing region including all equipment, expert guides, oenologist guided wine tasting, meals provided by regional partners, varied itineraries catered to all levels of conditioning and interests, round-trip pickup service, optional lodging, technical support and emergency recovery service,

and insurance. “At the end of the tour, each one of you will have lived a life experience that will have enabled you to understand and appreciate this world tied to the seasons, to the cycles of life, the mountains, rivers, woods, hills, to the work of men and the communities present and their history and culture,” says Travagli. Tuscany Wine and Bike tours run April 26 through September 27, 2014. For more information, visit: www. tuscanywinebike.com.

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Monrovia High School Robotics Continued from page 1

joins three San Diego teams and four Northern California teams to be among the 128 top teams from around the world to compete at the First Robotics World Championships to be held at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis April 23-26. A total of 24 teams advanced from the West Super-Regional including teams from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona. These five junior class women – the “Kings and Queens” team – stand out not just for their signature costumes of purple-velvet-and gold-embroidered renaissance dresses and the purple and gold medieval royal pavilion where the team relaxes between matches. Their purple robot “Your Highness” performed flawlessly during the competition even after a failure of the robot’s transport cart sent it plunging to the floor of the arena in an unplanned four-foot “drop test.” In fact, during the crucial and difficult softwarecontrolled “autonomous period” of the matches, Your Highness achieved a perfect record of 10 of 10 successful

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autonomous runs scoring an average of 56 autonomous points per match out of a possible 60. The members of the Kings And Queens team Amanda Sullivan, Melissa Johnson, Emma McIntosh, Jordan Nunez and Nicole Miller - designed and built their 18 by 18 inch robot from Tetrix parts, plexiglas, metal shapes and machined aluminum to compete with alliances of robots on a 12 by 12 foot field. In competitions the robots are required to perform a variety of tasks in 2-1/2 minutes including picking up 2-inch plastic cubes and depositing them into elevated goals, navigating a wooden ramp, raising a flag up a pole, and gripping a cross bar and pulling themselves up com-

pletely off the floor, all while coordinating with a partner robot and while sharing the field with an opposing team of robots intent on accomplishing the same tasks. The Monrovia High FTC robotics after-school program is one of many opportunities at Monrovia High School supporting STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) in conjunction with Monrovia’s Math and Science Academy, and supported by the Monrovia Schools Foundation. The Monrovia High School FTC robotics program is actively seeking tax-deductible donations and company sponsorships to help cover the approximate $13,000 cost of taking the team to St. Louis in April.

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