“Is that Felice Gimondi?” Yep, there’s a winner of all three Grand Tours, leaning on an old team car and laughing. “That mechanic over there says he knows Eddy Merckx, and I think I just saw Francesco Moser having a glass of wine.” That’s l’Eroica for you. Every year, the great and the good of Italian cycling converge in Chianti for a week of fun. Because it’s more than just a race for old bikes. It’s a festival to celebrate the sport we all love.
The other great thing about it is that there’s something for everyone. Want to challenge yourself by setting out before dawn on a 209-kilometer route full of gravel, grueling climbs, and inevitable mechanical problems? Go ahead. Or is a 47km fun ride more your speed? There are two routes in between, too: 75km and 115km. And that’s what’s great about it – it’s as crazy or as chilled as you want it to be.
There are few days on the bike that can compare to the full route, the camaraderie, the sense of accomplishment, the joy taken in laughing at the foolishness of it. But the shorter routes have their own charms. You can take your time, enjoy the cake and the wine and the Tuscan stew at the feed stations, meet people, joke around with your friends, admire the other bikes, maybe treat yourself to a couple of things from the vintage market. You’re completely immersed in Italy’s uniquely rich past and the stunning landscape in which it all happened, and you’re surrounded by thousands of like-minded people from all over the world who want to enjoy it with you.
It’s a day that celebrates more than Italian cycling history – it celebrates cycling itself. If you ride a bike, you’ll enjoy l’Eroica. It’s impossible not to. After all, this is why we do what we do in the brotherhood and sisterhood of the bicycle, because it’s about more than just riding. It’s about fun, however you define it.
For more about our trips, click here. And if you have a few minutes, here’s a great trailer for an upcoming documentary about Luciano Berruti, l’Eroica’s rider No.1, and one of the great characters of the event, who sadly passed away last year.