We spent a fortnight cycling in western Sicily in May/June 2000, staying in hotels. We booked all our accommodation in advance. The weather was just right.
We checked in at Heathrow to find a CTC party of 20-odd cyclists on the same flight, and a couple more cycle tourists to boot. When we arrived at Palermo we spent nearly an hour trying to find a way out of the airport. Eventually we had to admit defeat and tag onto the CTC group. We spent the first night at Terrasini, somewhat to the west of the airport.
The next day we set off, sun on our backs, to Cefalù. Colin became pensive. My dearest, if Cefalù is to the east of Terrasini, why is the sun on our backs?. Because there arent any hills in the way, my beloved, unless we make a detour via Montelepre. So we did. Palermo was an asphalt jungle, and we had lunch somewhere east of S. Flávia. From there it was flat and boring to Cefalù. Colin arrived with a sore knee.
We moved on to Nicosia via S. Stefano, having lunch at Mistretta, which is itself very pretty. Nicosia too is worth seeing.
The next day we moved on again to Enna, dramatically situated at the navel of the island. We had 3 nights there so we were both able to take day trips. Colin visited Piazza Armerina and opined that it belonged to the decadence of Roman art, though its an evocative enough place.
From Enna we moved on to Agrigento, where we visited the Greek remains. Colin kept casting wistful looks at the baroque villas there, which he prefers to Greek temples. One of them is the Hotel Villa Athena, where he wishes wed stayed, expensive though it is.
By now we were noticing what seemed to be an established feature on the south coast: strong incessant westerly winds. If these are the norm it would be worth taking remedial action (eg going round the other way).
Our final ride was a rather hurried flog from Valdérice to Palermo airport for a midday flight home.
A natural route on an island of Sicilys size is a coastal circuit. In fact a lot of the cultural interest is on the coast, but the best cycling is in the interior, so such a route wouldnt be the best.
Some details: We took the Cadogan guide. We think that the best map is the TCI 1:400 000 map with Sardinia, cut down to just Sicily and refolded.
We were worried enough about accommodation to book all our rooms in advance (by telephone, confirming by fax). We think a couple of our hotels were fully booked by the time we arrived, but most werent.
The rides from Terrasini to Cefalù, from Cefalù to Nicosia, from Enna to Agrigento, and from Mazara to Valdérice were each a full day (though in some cases we could have taken easier routes). The other rides were fairly easy.
Some knowledge of Italian may prove useful away from the resorts.
I wish wed made a note of the route out of Palermo airport. Its a real nightmare.
Bicycle hire is unlikely to be easy.