Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian
Born from the passion for cycling and its history and tied to the safeguarding of the last “white roads”, Eroica began in 1997.
It is a touristic bicycling rally of antique bikes that depart and arrive in Gaiole in Chianti, going mainly through the Sienese roads with a brief excursion to the Florentine township of Greve.
At the beginning, there were Giancarlo Brocci, its founder, and about 100 passionate cyclists; a restricted group of collectors and nostalgics of what cycling once was. Slowly, Eroica became world famous and known to a vaster pedaling public.
There were 6.205 registered for the last edition, including 2.345 foreigners from every continent, chosen by lottery to cut down on almost double the applicants.
Each cyclist rides a bicycle built before 1987 and with at least base characteristics; external breaks, brakes on the frame, and caged foot rests.
It is a rally for men, women, young and old who recognize and appreciate the value and beauty of this sport, also a philosophy and lifestyle, with attention to the environment and the landscape. The refreshment stops along the route offer local specialties.
At Radi, Montalcino, Pieve a Salti, Asciano, Castelnuovo and Radda one ﬁnds bread and salame, grapes and ribollita, pie , olive oil and red wine waiting for the tired peddlers.
The springtime version in Buonconvento (May 1st) has been added to the Eroica in Gaiole in Chianti (the ﬁrst Sunday in October). Foreign editions take place in Japan, Great Britain (4000 signed up for the 2nd edition), California, Spain, South Africa, Holland and Uruguay (Punta del Este).
There are an additional 30 countries which, in various ways and at different levels, have sent requests to run an Eroica event. Since 2007, on the same dusty roads there is also a race for professionals (ﬁrst called Montepaschi Eroica, then Strade Bianche), today organized by RCS Sport but born from the initiative of Brocci from a project for the Tuscan region.
The Bianchi company dedicate a bicycle to Eroica and various brands have begun to produce woolen jerseys, leather saddles and vintage pieces. It is a growing worldwide phenomenon while cycling tourism is expanding. The bicycle is even a candidate for the Nobel Peace Price!
Says Giancarlo Brocci: “We want to research and spread the authentic roots of this extraordinary sport, with a large popular soul, rich in history and of rare humanity, in order to rediscover the beauty of hard work and the taste for the task”.
He adds: “It seems clear that the Eroica has already become a magniﬁcent expression of the best form of being Tuscan, a calling card for our beauty and values.”