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L'Eroica -- A cycling classic
March 10, 2011 8:15 PM   Subscribe

L'Eroica in Italy offers something truly unique: a race on ancient roads using obsolete bikes, surrounded by gorgeous scenery and fuelled by a mouth-watering selection of food and wine. [Official site]
posted by bread-eater (19 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm marking this off of my bucket list as soon as I figure out how to do this without destroying my wheels.
posted by loriginedumonde at 8:41 PM on March 10, 2011


It's like a ren faire on bikes.
posted by mathowie at 8:56 PM on March 10, 2011


I'm genuinely surprised at my instant antipathy for this thing. I have no idea where it comes from.
posted by eeeeeez at 9:13 PM on March 10, 2011


FUCK. It's not flat.

Nice handlebars.




And by that I mean the mustaches.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:16 PM on March 10, 2011


Hmph. I'll give up my (non-lugged) carbon frame when you pry it from my cold dead hands.
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 9:32 PM on March 10, 2011


Steel is real.
posted by substars at 9:39 PM on March 10, 2011


Loved the French eccentric inspired by Le Terrible. Loved the old guy hunched over in the Bianchi jersy. Love that people who put a lot of sweat into restoring a vintage bike will happily ride it in the mud.

And I love the old style jerseys. Last year I found a good deal on ebay for a box of vintage jerseys from Belgium. I wear some, my fiance wears some, and I gave the rest to friends. I was happy to see the jersey someone pulled out at the bike fair was from my hometown Chicago.

The Brooks Eroica jersey, in case anybody is looking for this style, is made from horribly itchy wool.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:41 PM on March 10, 2011


only bikes made prior to 1987 can enter

Dang. Both my road bikes are '87s.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:43 PM on March 10, 2011


I think they are worried about an influx of hipsters. From the rules PDF:
The organization will not admit riders with farcical or ironic clothing or behavior.
Apparently their rules for bicycles are road race bikes built before 1987 with downtube shifters, toe clips and straps, and non-aero brake levers. They apparently will allow modern frames with vintage characteristics (i.e a retrogrouch bike) but they must similarly be equipped with original, vintage components. Interestingly, it appears they take this so far as to allow riders to ride helmetless despite the sponsoring organization normally requiring them.

Those roads look awesome.
posted by lantius at 11:59 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was reenacting the 1916 tour de france before it was popular
posted by AndrewKemendo at 12:54 AM on March 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Steel is real.

Yep, real heavy. And carbon is imaginary.
posted by The Michael The at 3:49 AM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


for Stateside folks who are interested in riding old race bikes across gravelly unpaved roads, the closest domestic equivalent is the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee (aka, the D2R2). It doesn't have the retro enforcements of L'Eroica and you'll see carbon cyclocross frames mixed up with Rivendells and IndyFabs mixed up with freeride mountain bikes. There will be a lot of folks who wear wool just because it makes sense given how the cold the start is, but there will also be a lot of synthetic jerseys. There's a non-zero chance of ironic mustache action. However, D2R2 has a lot of similar qualities ie. in the same way L'Eroica was instigated to help preserve old gravel roads as a cultural landmark, the D2R2 is a fundraiser for the Franklin Land Trust, a financial institution that helps preserve agricultural land in the Pioneer Valley, saving it from real estate developers who might otherwise replace all of those farms with McMansions and strip malls. Like, L'Eroica, it's also all self-supported so if you flat you fix it yourself, if you get lost, you get yourself unlost. If you crash, you figure out how to hitchhike to a hospital (self-link). And also L'Eroica, the D2R2 is a beast of a ride.

but, God, is it beautiful. You'll start in the morning, when the sun is almost breaking the horizon and dew and fog cloaks the Pioneer Valley. You'll ride through a hundred miles of rural Massachusetts and Vermont for hours and might only see four or five cars. You'll pass paddocks with Arabian stallions and barns that were old when your grandparents were born. You'll snack on apples freshly picked from an orchard at one control and at Patten Hill, on a clear day, you'll think that you can see for forever.
posted by bl1nk at 5:12 AM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


bl1nk - I used to ride and train on the roads that D2R2 goes on. It's incredible up there. Alpaca farms and river valleys and crumbling mountain roads, and hills from which you can see up and down the river valley for miles.

The Michael The - steel frames can be made as light as many carbon fiber frames. My steel cyclocross bike is lighter than my aluminum road bike.
posted by entropone at 7:35 AM on March 11, 2011


The D2R2 sounds awesome.

In MN, we have the Almanzo 100, which also could lay claim to being the stateside L'Eroica. Free and open to all, it's a wonderful experience, even last year when I did have to bum a ride from mile 61 to the Mayo Clinic...
posted by substars at 7:45 AM on March 11, 2011


Apparently their rules for bicycles are road race bikes built before 1987 with downtube shifters, toe clips and straps, and non-aero brake levers.

Ah, thanks. I was kinda wondering if they'd accept my ancient Japanese cheap hybrid, since the snobbery didn't really seem to leave any room for that sort of thing.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:13 AM on March 11, 2011


Snobbery?
posted by hydrophonic at 11:33 AM on March 11, 2011


The Michael The - steel frames can be made as light as many carbon fiber frames. My steel cyclocross bike is lighter than my aluminum road bike.

Of course there are exceptions. That doesn't change the fact that most carbon frames from reputable manufacturers are now approaching or beyond the sub-kilogram point and those frames are downright affordable (e.g. the sub-kilo Felt FC frame for $1650; a full-bike Felt F5 costs $2100 with a 907 g frame weight). The only steel frames near that weight are made from Columbus XCr or Reynolds 953, and those frames are neither cheap ($2800 from Strong Cycles or nearly $4k for an SSR from Indy Fab, for example) nor lighter than the CF frames (hitting maybe the 1.1 kg mark at best).

So yeah, steel frames can be made as light as many carbon fiber frames, but it's costly and infrequent, and steel frames always lose when comparing apples to apples (e.g. low-end cf to low-end steel, high-end cf to high-end steel, etc).
posted by The Michael The at 2:10 PM on March 11, 2011


Brooks also wrote about the event in their blog
posted by bboyberlin at 2:47 PM on March 12, 2011


only bikes made prior to 1987 can enter

Yesssssss. 1979. Chianti and jam tarts, here I come.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:06 PM on March 16, 2011


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