L'Eroica 2013, Gaiole, Chianti ,October 6th

Well it wont be long now until we are heading off for the Eurotunnel, car packed with our vintage lightweight British racing bikes and heading across France with our destination the beautiful countryside of Chianti in Italy. Joining up with the McCormack clan from 'Romance of Rust' we will ride the ever popular L'Eroica along with the rest of this years 5,000 participants.

L'Eroica is a Foundation, the purpose of which is to safeguard the heritage of the white gravel roads of Tuscany. The brainchild of Giancarlo Brocci, the strade bianche have been in continuous use since Etruscan times, but were starting to disappear under asphalt. He started with his love of cycling, added the twist of riders required to use vintage steel bicycles and L'Eroica was born 100 riders in 1997 has grown to 5,000 from all over the world. All decked in clothing styles from back in the day, our merino 'Hoxton' will fit in just perfectly. So what will the Road Rags crew be riding? We have stripped a Hetchins, Holdsworth and Macleans in preparation. The frames have paid a visit to the chromers. Two layers of copper, one of nickel and the final chrome in true Road Rags style, but for a one off, from the seat post back we will be adorning the frame in the Union Jack to add a little touch of 'The Italian Job' to our own style.

Then it will be a case of rebuilding in the old school original style, a few long spins to test everything is in perfect working order and then on the roof and off to the hills of Tuscany and all its beauty for an early start gathering in the piazza of Gaiole. First riders roll out at 5.00 a.m. when the air is nippy and daybreak a couple of hours away but the bonus is the climb to Castello di Brioli, the road illuminated with candlelight. A long day ahead but the legendary 'ristori' are no standard modern sportive rest stops, forget energy drinks and gels, volunteers in garb from the era hand out bread and olive oil, meats, cheeses, fruits and all washed down with a glass of Chianti. Knowing the Road Rags penchant for indulging in a tipple or two restraint could be hard as the sun starts to beat down but we look forward to the road trip, the ride and making friends anew with the warm and welcoming locals. A great weekend with the village becoming a vast exhibition of everything vintage awaits. More photos to follow as the builds come to fruition......