The Eroica - a special kind of bicycle spectacle
The “Eroica” is undoubtedly a predicate adventure on a bike. I confess that I haven't ridden myself yet. This "race of heroes" has little to do with speed, tactics and stopwatches, but a lot to do with camaraderie, extraordinary experiences and a view of Tuscany that can hardly be described. Some did it anyway and with their reports make people want to take part once (www.aktiv-radfahr.de; Enter "Eroica" as a search term, as well as In www.zeit.). The “Eroica” is a nostalgic bike tour that qualifies as a “race”, although it really only depends on “taking part”. Only bicycles built before 1987 are allowed, which are carefully inspected before starting. Four routes are available for the nostalgic hero, with the longest route (205 km!) Overcoming 3.800 vertical meters and is therefore only recommended for high-performance athletes. Because, the "Strade bianchi" offer a further difficulty, these are pure gravel and sand roads on which most of the route leads. This race is the Tuscan answer to the expansion of the road network on asphalt. With the implementation of the race, a memory race was initially thought of in order to experience the last gravel roads on the bikes as it was common for earlier cyclists in the 20th century.
In the meantime, the route of the Eroica is signposted and protected, so that other generations can imagine how in the childhood and youth of today's bicycle z. B. also sections of the Giro d'Italia had to be mastered. Precisely because of these peculiarities, it is only important to achieve one of the daily goals, because there is a bottle for it Chianti and real olive oil as a reward. The athlete can enjoy the wine and oil at the refreshment stands, of course in moderation, because you should arrive at your destination. The cyclists are served at the stands by women in traditional costumes, there is bruschette and other Tuscan snack specialties, which is why the stays at the refreshment points are surprisingly long. And in fact, hardly anyone asks about time values, it's just a matter of getting to the finish line in time before the end. Between the start and the finish, the challenge lies in controlling the two-wheeled vehicle on gravel descents and deep sandy paths, in a landscape that invites you to rest and look.
After the build-up years since the first event in 1997, the number of participants has increased steadily. For a few years now, the number has been limited to 3.500, with people over 60 being allowed to participate on their old bikes without registering. The launch site is Gaiole in Chianti, on the Gaiole website (www.commune.gaiole.si.it) you will receive information about other tourist destinations and interesting facts about the area.
In 2011 there were 3.482 participants on the route, 744 of them from abroad, the German delegation was the largest with around 100 participants. The race usually takes place in the first week of October, next to May, the ideal time for bike tours in Tuscany. You don't have to start straight away with the big loop (205 km), the short stretch of 38 km is pretty good for your bones - given the ancient road conditions. As I said, being there and arriving is everything!
On the homepage The "Eroica" will give you more information about the bike race and how to register.
Last updated: 06.02.2024