Contributor Lorena Jones was lucky enough to obtain a special invite from Brooks to ride L’Eroica – the vintage bike ride held in the Chianti area of Tuscany every October. Every rider must complete the ride upon a bicycle made before 1987, and it is traditional to dress in vintage kit, too. This year, it rained – but Lorena enjoyed every moment. Here she shares her experience…
I had been given so many accounts of L’Eroica before having the opportunity to attend myself. These tended to take the direction of ‘it’s my favourite cycling event’, ‘it’s magical’, ‘it’s the best event I have been to’, ‘you will love it’. Naturally, therefore, I was super excited about going to L’Eroica. And now, here I am following the event, and of the same opinion. L’Eroica has become my favourite cycling event and I too have been caught up in its magic.
I was fortunate to be one of a select few invited by Brooks, who have been sponsoring the event since 2004. The magic started as soon as we arrived. As we wound our way up the driveway and drew closer to the 1000 year old monastery which would be our accommodation for the weekend, we were completely taken back by the beauty of the building and surrounding area.
Anticipation and enthusiasm for the event ahead grew as the cyclists and organisers bonded over whisperings and anecdotes of previous years. Fortunately Saturday morning brought clear skies and winding our way through the crowds on the main street in the centre of Gaiole we were lead to a small and somewhat dusty shop front. My excitement rose as I peeked through the iron gates of this Aladdin’s cave to see a collection of wonderfully aged bikes; each with a Brooks saddle and no doubt their own story to tell.
In keeping with the theme of the event, the cycling kit also pays homage to those way back when, and trying it on my initial thoughts were along the lines of: ‘is it wrong that I want to include these into my everyday wardrobe’?! Provided by Santini and especially designed for Brooks, 1886 (the year Brooks was established) was proudly depicted on both the shorts and the wool jersey.