Eroica and vintage bikes, all the secrets of a grand passion
Epic cycling: quality and courage
Cycling has long enjoyed extraordinary popularity. Italy’s love affair with cycling developed between the 1920s and the ’70s. It can be seen in the myth of Girardengo, and in the strong, silent figure of the young Bartali, who won his first Giro d’Italia at the age of 22. It is shown in the extreme but friendly competitiveness between Coppi and Bartali, and reflected in the toil andsweat of the race and ascent, the courage of a country that with grit and sacrifice rose above the tragedy of war and forgot daily hardships to rejoice in the victory of its champions. The epic cycling feats of those years embody a sense of struggle, and of commitment to the challenges of the road, of the mountains and of life. Those same ideals still arouse fascination and admiration among so many fans.
Vintage bikes: interest and collecting
The rediscovery of classic cycling is increasingly taking hold in Italy and is accompanied by a growinginterest in vintage bikes. The bikes which featured in the story of cycling in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s are now avidly collected, and come back to life during the increasing number of vintage rides now organised throughout Italy. Restored and returned to their former glory, these models once ridden by the great cyclists of the past, are once more the object of excitement and effort, contact with nature, and healthy competition on some of Italy’s most beautiful unmade roads. The most famous creations of Bianchi, Maino, Magni, Legnano and Bartali, winners of the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, are now greatly coveted by fans and change hands for staggering sums. And they are still famous around the world as a splendid example of fine Italian design.
Among these commemorative races, the Eroica of Gaiole in Chianti occupies a place of honour. Open to both professionals and enthusiasts, wearing strictly period clothes, the race involves 6 different routes varying in length from 44 to 209 km, and passes through charming scenery in the Sienese hills of Chianti. So Eroica also means rediscovering and protecting the natural legacy of the Tuscan landscape, love for a past that has become an enjoyable present, and enthusiasm for a stylish means of transport that is both timeless and sustainable. In just a few years, from 1997 to today, these factors have helped to boost the number of participants from just 92 to 7,000: a spectacular international success, which has also led to the creation of a historic bike register. This brings together images, facts and figures in relation to the great models of a classic age, providing a valuable resource for both enthusiasts and collectors. The Eroica 2018 event will take place on October 7th: the hotels in the Siena Inns Group are already well prepared to welcome participants.