Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

On Sunday October 2nd the Eroica cyclists pedaled through the roads of Chianti Classico, which you may have known,  informed via press and TV; we were all looking forward to it. And then, finally, there they were, we saw 5,000 riders, and we heard them as well.

It was a fantastic and colorful scene, they didn’t have a roaring engine, only a silent one, their legs.  The roar was manifested through their passion, through the enthusiasm of tens of thousands of fans that welcomed them with applause at every turn of a curve.

Dario, the butcher, came back to Panzano all the way from Japan in a great hurry, to prepare a special buffet, just for them, and to welcome them with the joyful sound of trumpets and horns, at the top of the Passo di Campana hill.

His is a non-official but now traditional buffet, a sign of hospitality, of appreciation for their passion, a passion which is all of ours, inherited from our fathers and grandfathers, fans of Bartali and Cioppi, a tasty welcoming feast, as we, the people of Chianti, do.

You can find photos and details on Facebook, on the Internet, in the press, anywhere.   But my interest lies elsewhere. How can it be that such an anomalous, romantic cycling race, established in 1997, has been able in just twenty years to arouse such enthusiasm, so much that it is copied abroad, too? How is it that from the 100 or so original participants, there are now thousands?

This isn’t your usual bike race, but a route of windy, dusty unpaved roads, travelled using heavy, old-fashioned, vintage bicycles; a labor of fatigue and sweat.

There, if I must find an answer for myself, I think of the value of that same sweat, experienced through past centuries in the fields and in the vineyards, I think about the newly-found joy of the wood’s silence and of the Tuscan panoramas.

Miriam Serni Casalini and Dario Cecchini

“Oh ciclista!
Qui giunto al Passo di Campana,
ferma la bici, godi il panorama.
Panzano ti darà acqua e frescura,
poi ben temprato riprendi l’andatura.
Allenta dei garretti la tua presa
che d’ora in poi avrai solo discesa!”