Tuscany’s famed L’Eroica vintage bike ride will be coming to the United States for the first time in its nineteen year history this spring. L’Eroica’s unique premise is that participants may only use a bicycle that was built before 1988, with many riders using two-wheelers built prior to World War II. The first-ever Eroica California will be held from April 10-12, 2015, with registration limited to 1000 riders and a cost of $150 per-entrant. Part of the proceeds benefiting local non-profit, Hospice of SLO County. Registration for the event opens in mid-February and the ride will start and finish in downtown Paso Robles. Along with the ride on Sunday, April 12, the weekend will include a Classic Bicycle Concours in central Paso Robles and will also feature a Vintage Market, including classic bicycles, parts and other merchandise.
L’Eroica is an exclusive international vintage cycling event started almost twenty years ago in Tuscany, by Giancarlo Brocci who had a desire to reconnect others to the heritage that inspired much Italian sport, literature, culture, and music. Because much of the ride takes place on Tuscany’s white roads, L’Eroica also led to efforts to protect and preserve the remaining gravel roads in Tuscany. These romantic concepts led to the idea of L’Eroica, an event that drew only ninety two “hunters of feelings and emotions,” (as the creator Giancarlo Brocci calls them) in its first year.
“Today we continue to spread the authentic roots of an extraordinary sport with a great soul. We want people to rediscover the beauty of fatigue and the taste of accomplishment: the heroic cycling of Bartali and Coppi and the sacrifice that seeks out our physical boundaries where thirst, hunger, and exhaustion are felt with all their strength,” said founder Brocci. “It’s cycling that can spread respect and create bonds between riders. It is cycling in a healthy way and all L’Eroica participants are inspiring and beautiful to watch.”
Due to the event’s popularity, L’Eroica events have sprouted in various countries around the world. In addition to the California event, 2015 will see L’Eroica events in Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan. After visiting this past fall, Brocci himself chose Paso Robles as the location for the first L’Eroica in the United States. Wesley Hatakeyama, a long-time local resident and a former participant of L’Eroica Italy, will be serving as Event Director of L’Eroica California.
Organizers have announced that non-profit Hospice of San Luis Obispo County will be the chosen charity of Eroica California. “This event will offer tremendous international exposure for our area and a broader awareness by international vintage cycling enthusiasts who value the original culture of cycling,” said Kris Kington-Barker, the Executive Director of local non-profit Hospice of San Luis Obispo County. “The impact for tourism is not only during the weekend of the event and with participants but also by cyclists who will visit other times during the year to experience the routes established for Eroica California. We are so grateful to be a part of this historic event.”
For more information on L’Eroica California: Visit www.eroicacalifornia
Photos: John Watson/www.TheRadavist.com