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Words and Photos by James Startt
I thought it was just about old bikes and handlebar mustaches. Boy was I wrong! I can’t really recall the first images I saw of L’Eroica. It looked like fun, but it also looked like a lot of work – restoring a historic racing bike and locating the appropriate wool jersey. Yeah, a lot of work to ride on a bike that was implicitly slower than the speed machines of today.
Call me slow on the uptake if you like, but it was only in the past year, that I have come back around again to embrace the inherent qualities of steel. I started missing the elegant lines and immaculate paint job of my early 90’s Eddy Merckx. And when I saw a similar model on Ebay for 200 Euros, I didn’t hesitate. As a result, I no longer saw L’Eroica as an event lost in time, but rather, timeless. And when two friends, Dominique Rollin and Kevin Reza—both professional cyclists—spoke glowingly of their participation last year, I knew I had to make the journey!
But while I was tempted to bring my bike and ride the L’Eroica, I also wanted to document the event, especially its participants. Arriving on Saturday, I immediately understood that I had made the right choice. Gaiole in Chianti—the host town—was filled with people from around the world sporting the colors of their favorite vintage team.