I remember really well a speech by Giancarlo Brocci from 2nd October, 2010. This was my first Eroica, and at the time a passion for vintage bicycles brought me to Gaiole in Chianti. I didn’t know what to expect from the Strada Bianca, the White Roads that Giancarlo brought up several times during the presentation which I would ride the following day.
The aim of the event I learned, was to preserve the kilometres of unpaved Tuscan roads, at the time barely used except by those living and working off the land. His speech fascinated me, and it made me think of the fields around my hometown of Bergamo which was my playground as a child.
This memory was what inspired me on 25th April, 2018 to fill a bag with the bare necessities and ride from Bergamo to Buonconvento, following the course of rivers, secondary roads and dirt roads, on the anniversary of Liberation Day in Italy. Myself, Maicol and Alessio, each on our Stelbel bikes, followed the Serio river to Crema and then arrived in Piacenza, the last Emilian province. Following the river Trebbia upstream, we climbed up to Passo della Forcella in the Val d'Aveto and then down to the sea in Chiavari, the first coastal city of our journey.
Sunny days accompanied us on the climbs and descents of the beautiful Cinque Terre, up to Lerici before arriving in Tuscany on the seafront of Marina di Massa, then Forte dei Marmi and finally Viareggio. A visit to Piazza del Duomo in Pisa was a must, mixing with the tourists who flock to see this attraction. We then entered the Tuscan territory, focusing on the Volterra, the last leg of our 530km journey before arriving at our destination of Buonconvento.
Pappa al pomodoro, lampredotto and a nice bottle of Chianti to share with friends were the things we most desired after this trip, just the right boost to face the 135km Nova Eroica course the following day.
The perfect weather, impeccable organization and authentic refreshments made this, our first Nova Eroica, an experience that I hope everyone can do, but the journey through this magnificent country is something that changes the way you go by bike.
Alessandro Caccia, Stelbel Telai