Bike Snob NYC Compares old and new at Eroica California - Outside Online
June 12, 2018
Eben Weiss, Outside Online
In 2014, I traveled to Gaiole in Chianti, Italy, for L’Eroica. Founded in 1997 to “reconnect others to the heritage that inspired much Italian history, literature, culture, and music,” the Eroica ride travels the famed Strade Bianche of Tuscany. Participants must ride vintage or vintage-inspired bikes that adhere to the following specifications: shifters on the downtube or bar ends only; toe clips and straps or original pedals for older bikes (no clipless allowed); no “aero” brake cables (they must run out the top of the lever and over the bars); wheels with low-profile rims and no fewer than 32 spokes.
Riding any type of bicycle in this beguiling region would have been stunning. Riding a vintage bike (even a loaner of questionable provenance) was transcendent. I’m hardly alone in feeling this way, which is why the Eroica format has replicated itself in various other sumptuous cycling destinations around the world, including the Peak District of Great Britain, La Rioja in Spain, and Paso Robles on the central coast of California, where I traveled in April to partake in my second Eroica.