Gaiole in Chianti
- The annual celebration of vintage ciclismo -
Every October the sleepy town of Gaiole turns into a parade of bicycle eye candy. Enough reason for us to mount our bikes on the car and cross the Swiss Alps to make our way down to the Italian Tuscany.
In this blog post we take you on a short picturesque journey, showing you the event through our eyes.
Hard to resist!
Thousands of riders, collectors and curious eyes from all around the world, flow into this beautiful old town in the heart of the Tuscan hills. Strolling through the big markets, you can either feast on tasty Italian food or try to resist on spending all your money on the countless bicycle stalls with spare parts, vintage clothing or entire bikes which maybe still missing in your collection.
Head to toes in warm and comfortable vintage wool jerseys, leather shoes, knitted gloves and signature caps we were ready to hit the Tuscany roads.
Basso, Colnago, Olmo, Coppi and Bianchi were the stars of our L'Eroica team. Our training rounds took us up and down through the wine yards, taking in the magnificent views, testing the terrain and our gear, to prepare for race day, which took place on the following Sunday.
After the first day of riding, we picked up our start numbers, together with the L’Eroica goodie box. As always, it was packed with local treats, good coffee, wine and Risotto, which makes the perfect base for a good Italian dinner party back home.
Teaming up with Stelbel
On the second day of our pre-race preparation, our destination was Siena. Lucky with the weather, we teamed up with our friends from Stelbel and rode off for a typical Italian lunch on the famous Piazza del Campo in Siena. The round trip of 80km was just what our legs needed, to prepare for the steep Strade Bianche roads that were awaiting us.
The big day was finally here. With hundreds of other riders, we slowly made our way to the starting line, where we got inspected from head to toe to comply with the rules of the race. After the last years of easier applied regulations, the Eroica committee once again shifted their focus back on more authenticity. And starting the ride amongst hundreds of properly dressed riders, definitely takes you back 40 years in time. Off we went direction Castello di Brolio, the first climb of the route.
The spirits were high and everybody full of encouragement for each other. We were surprised by some rain, but it made the journey only more unforgettable. Wet from the rain and breaking our first sweat, we made it to the first stop, where hundreds of bikes were standing on display. Refreshing on good wine, cheese, and fruits, talking to other riders about their bikes, philosophizing about the beauty of the sport, you simply didn't want this day to end. Bella Italia!
With bellies full and legs tired we finished the race and returned to Gaiole. We were awarded a medal in a vintage spirit by a lovely old signora and now it was definitely time to open the big bottles of wine to celebrate the succesful day, until late into the night.