53013 Gaiole in Chianti, Province of Siena, Italy
Tackling Tuscany's "White Roads"Last October I participated in L'Eroica, the non competitive vintage bike race that takes place in Tuscany each October. One of the main requirements is that you have to ride a bike built before 1987. It's called the hero's race for a reason. It was a grueling day. Cycling on a vintage bike (mine was from the 1950s) is much more challenging than on today's light weight carbon fiber frames and most of the route takes place on the region's strade bianchi or unpaved "white roads" and is relentlessly hilly. Still the countryside is beautiful. Riders pedal past ancient castles, vineyards and through medieval villages and you're burning so many calories you can gorge yourself on Ribollita soup, lard on country bread, and charcuterie at the rest stops along the way. In true Italian style Chianti flows freely on the route. Sign up early. The event fills up fast.