Held in Gaiole in Chianti - Tuscany, on the first Sunday in October, L'Eroica bike race is a Tuscan tradition with a unique charm. Cycling down the strada bianca (white gravel roads) on a vintage bike, in a retro outfit, crossing the wonderful landscapes of the Sienese Chianti, Crete Sense and Val d'Orcia.
L'Eroica was founded as a celebration of road cycling and the history and values of this sport. It was first held in 1997 thanks to Giancarlo Brocci, and the idea was to save Tuscany’s strada bianca from being replaced with asphalt. Thus, the race was established for a rather romantic purpose, strictly tied to the territory, and is today an example of respect for the environment, sustainable living and “clean” cycling. Its name literally means “heroic”, and that's precisely how you feel taking part in it. The bike race is strictly regulated, with only a limited number of participants (about 5.000 cyclists) allowed to join the Eroica. The competition includes five different paths: 209 km, 135 km, 115 km, 75 km and 46 km.
For those who don’t have the chance to participate in the official event in October, fear not! You can ride along the permanent route every day of the year. The path is open to everyone and can be completed in one or more days by all those wanting to test their skills or simply explore the area by bike. You can also get a special road book that you can use to collect stamps along the route and be awarded a certificate. The perfect time to do this route would be in Autumn when the temperature is a little cooler and Tuscany is at its most beautiful.
In case you can't enroll anymore this year, Plinius will remind you at the beginning of 2023 to register for this amazing event! Eroica: The beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest. Eroica look to the past of cycling to inspire the future of this beautiful sport.
Cycle in Style
One of the requirements to participate in the L'Eroica race is a retro cycling outfit. Let the fun begin, there is a great selection of retro cycling jerseys online. Cycling company Rapha enlisted the help of British fashion designer Paul Smith to design an upcoming range of clothing. With Rapha's background in cycling you will find the cycling functionality in the all pieces created and a fabulous classic, retro look. Alternatively you find retro jerseys in the L'Eroica online shop or at Granny Gear. In case you truly want to go retro, look on the Italian Flea markets.
Another requirement to participate in the L'Eroica race is that you need to write a vintage bicycle. Which shouldn't be a problem because who can actually get rid of their first classic road bike, I'm sure there is still a Koga Miyata somewhere in the attic. For anyone else there is always online shop “Steel Vintage Bikes” and many others.
Around the world
The Eroica experience has become popular in other parts of the world, each modelled after the famous Tuscan version.
- L'Eroica South Africa in Montagu, Cape Winelands
- L'Eroica California in Paso Robles, USA
- L'Eroica Nova in Buonconvento, Tuscany, which is the only Eroica race open to modern bikes
- L'Eroica Montalcino, also in Tuscany
- L'Eroica Eiyu in Mount Fuji, Japan
- L'Eroica Hispania in La Rioja region,Spain
- L'Eroica Britannia in Bakewell, Great Britain
- L'Eroica Limburg in the Netherlands
- L'Eroica Germany in the Rheingau region
- L'Eroica Dolomites in San Candido