October 2012

A vintage bike rally in the Chianti region of Tuscany.

Okay, for those who know nothing of this event, it is a bike ride held once each year in October which begins in the village of Gaiole in Chianti. Its purpose is to celebrate the golden era of cycling which emphasizes mechanical simplicity over technology and the heroic struggle of its riders against the conditions. The route is a 205 km circuit of the Chianti region on local roads which include the Strada Biancha (the white gravel roads) found in this part of Tuscany. The route circles and crosses this very hilly region and features many challenging if not downright vicious climbs. It is attended by 5000 riders, 80% of whom are from Italy. The remaining 20% are from other nations, including the US.

This year I will be riding the 205 km distance and my stepson Justin will be riding the 135 km route. We will have the same start time and share the same route for the first 50 km or so. After that it will be each man to his own, along with the other 4998 riders. My ride is a 1974 Legnano Gran Premio while Justin has a 1983 Bianchi Nuovo Racer.

We arrived just after 5 am at the start line to find a long queue of riders waiting. Each rider had to sign in and get their start time stamped on the card. It took about a half an hour before we reached the front and started our ride. My friend Bob Owen, also from Utah was just ahead of us and waited so that we would start together. We had been chatting with fellow rider Terry from England in the starting queue and the four of us were underway at about 5:40 am as we joined the long stream of riders in the darkness.



Tuesday, October 2

My wife Sara and I along with son Justin and his wife Erin have arrived in Pisa Italy. The purpose of the trip for Justin and I is to ride L’Eroica, the classic cycling event held the first week in October each year. I guess the ladies will have to occupy themselves with shopping while we are out riding.

Wednesday, October 3

Okay, we have arrived in Pisa but our bikes seem to have taken another plane. They did finally get here this morning and were delivered to our hotel. We assembled them and checked them over before heading out for an easy spin to the coast.