Sunday 7 October: the cycling and history in Chianti
There is dust, fatigue and bicycle cared for with maniacal passion. There is nature, dirt roads, glasses with round dark lenses that would make the accountant Filini turn green with envy and unforgettable names and symbols for those who love cycling or simply know who Coppi and Bartali were.
It is the Eroica, the cycling event founded 20 years ago by Giancarlo Brocci to retrace the legs of the races that the great cyclists undertook along the dirt roads. It returns as always with its colorful and varied platoon of fans in Gaiole in Chianti area, where it was born and where it has expanded, opening up the experience to the entire world.
But the wheels and pedals are above all the tools to promote the environment, enhance a sustainable way of life, maintain the clean image of a sport that, in other contexts and situations, has lost a bit of the limelight that has illuminated it for more than a century.
And so here are the vintage bicycles, the outfits made of wool or acrylic with the names of sponsors embroidered on them, the bottle holders on the handlebars, lunches carried in jute shoulder bags and everything that reminds us of cycling as it once was. 5000 people, a huge increase on the 92 who started the adventure, find themselves behind the start line to ride along the dirt roads of the Chianti area, whose preservation is one of the priorities of the Eroica Foundation: five routes, from 46 to 209 km through valleys, forests and vineyards, along daring descents and exhausting climbs. Brolio,
Castelnuovo Berardenga, Montalcino, Murlo, Siena, Castellina and Radda are some of the towns where cyclists can find accommodation, food, and participating shops that remain partners of the Foundation every day of the year, so that people can experience the Eroica with this permanent route. Kid Road Book in hand, it is in fact possible to collect the stamps: with the sixth one you are ‘rewarded’ with an ‘Erioca’ diploma to feel a bit like Coppi. Or Bartali. An eternal dilemma.