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Serious cycling – as a spectator or participant

  • Serious cycling – as a spectator or participant

    L’Eroica – the “heroic” cycling race  – is a Chianti legend but you could do stretches of the routes at any time. You don’t need a handlebar moustache or legs of steel but you might have those by the end of the ride. L’Eroica is the celebrated amateur event that allows cyclists from around the world to experience the beauty and history of the region while riding classic or vintage bikes. The October event starts and finishes in Gaiole and includes week-long festivities, from wine-tastings to food markets.

    The routes cover much of the Chianti. including Gaiole, Montefiridolfi, Panzano and Castellina. Riders can choose routes to match their abilities; the shortest option is 46 km (27 miles); the longest is 209 km (130 miles). The race draws Italian and international riders, ranging in age from 15 to 90, with the occasional world champion joining in. Because there are no time trials, stopping for a sandwich and a glass of Chianti is perfectly acceptable. Nor is there any doping - it’s all about the natural highs.

    You could do the three-hour “leisure route” over 46 km, which includes views of Brolio Castle and even the skyline of Siena. Other routes are tougher, including the 75-km Radda route. For the more challenging routes, it’s less an easy ride than painful fun. On steel-framed classic or vintage bikes, racing along gravel tracks is not always comfortable. The rides may be low to medium altitude but are full of short, steep, challenging climbs. Expect plenty of bouncing, sliding and braking. The pleasures are about cycling camaraderie and the nostalgia of the vintage ride. There’s also the joy of the rolling Chianti countryside, vineyards and olive groves, small medieval towns and enchanting Renaissance vistas en route. Riding in the Chianti is characterized by quiet, twisting roads, winding ribbons of pleasure, interspersed with sweeping panoramas, short, challenging climbs and thrilling descents. If all this sounds too much hard work, then simply be a spectator. Or choose to hire an e-bike and do a less taxing route. If so, see our Easy e-bike riding through the Chianti.

    Tel: (+39) 393 8601027

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