L'Eroica 2017 & Lake Garda Granfondo - ITALY

L’Eroica Tour with Lake Garda Gran Fondo

L’Eroica – Italy 2017: Sept 22 - Oct 2 2017

L’Eroica Tour with Lake Garda Gran Fondo

L’Eroica – Italy 2017 - L’Eroica Tour with Lake Garda Gran Fondo

L’Eroica is a ‘vintage’ Gran Fondo, run on the dirt roads of the Chianti region in Tuscany, which we will save for last. Our plan is to start with a ‘curtain raiser’ Gran Fondo on the shores of Lake Garda, in Italy’s north. After Garda we’ll ride south over the plains towards the Appenines. We’ll cross the range, commonly known as the ‘spine of Italy’, maybe on the roads that Hannibal covered, and have a rest day in Pistoia. From here it’s back on top of the spine as we head into Gaiole in Chianti. After a couple of days in Chianti, we’ll ride grand ol’ L’Eroica with many others, past pencil pines, vines and many an olive tree. The complete tour will be hard, rewarding and eccentric, so don’t miss it. Grab your ol’ pre ‘87 steely and come along.
Excellent accomms, cuisine, and unique rides, guaranteed.


L'Eroica with Topbike Tours - Vintage Cycling in Chianti Region, Tuscany Italy

Pick up: 10.00am, Sept 22, The Marriott Courtyard Venice Airport (or other location if arranged prior)
Drop off: 12.00 noon, Oct 2, Florence Rail Station SMN (or other location if arranged prior)

Friday September 22 2017 | Venice → Lake Garda

We'll meet at The Marriott Courtyard Venice Airport Hotel before heading for Peschiera del Garda on Lake Garda (150k, 2h), where we will settle in for three nights. After assembling bikes, we’ll take in a small ride in our local environs, along roads used by many local pro and amateur cyclists. And maybe a little ride along the roads of Sunday’s Granfondo. For the next three nights we will stay lakeside and dine on local venetian cuisine. The basis of which is risotto, bbq grilled meats and Polenta (which kept generations of ‘contadini’ –farm workers- fed for next to nothing, particularly post war). Tonight we’ll have a welcome dinner in nearby central Verona, at a well known Ristorante/Enoteca.

Accommodation: Lake side hotel.
Dinner: Ristorante in central Verona

Ride: <50k flattish


Saturday, September 23 2017 |

Registration and course reccy for tomorrow’s Granfondo is all we have to do today. Probably a ride around the lake, to the base of the climb, and return. Along with a little carbo loading, probably an aperitif as the sun sets over Veneto, etc. All in all, a fairly easy day. Venetian cuisine again, sta sera, tonight within walking distance.

Accommodation: Lake side hotel.
Dinner tonight: Local ristorante, lakeside

Ride: <70k flattish


Sunday, September 24 2017 | Gran Fondo

Todays Granfondo takes us up the east coast of the lake, and over the southernmost reaches of the Dolomites. Views of the lake from north to south as you climb the one major ascent of the day. Plenty of Italian friends to share it with too. The good thing about a lake ride is that the start and finish are guaranteed to be flat. Just over 1300m vertical ascent today, in circa 103 kilometres. Should be a hoot! Back to the shores of the lake tonight for dinner.

Accommodation: Lake side hotel.
Dinner tonight: Local ristorante, lakeside

Ride: >100k 1350m asc


Monday, September 25 2017 |

After yesterday’s GF we’ll be looking for an easier day today, so it’s running flat across the plain towards the Appenines. Not sure if we’ll be on the roads that Hannibal traversed many years ago, ‘though I’m sure they’ll be well worn. We’ll stay in an Agriturismo (local Italian farmstay) tonight, for our only one night stop over, on the northern ‘cotes’ of the Appenines.

Accommodation: Agriturismo
Dinner: In-house: local traditional cuisine

Ride: <130k, <1000m asc


Tuesday, September 26 2017 |

The storm before the calm. At a moderate pace we will pack up and make our way – riding – out of town. The first part of our ride is a descent, before it flattens out, and it is not until the 45k mark before the road kicks up in earnest. We’ve got 4 climbs to cover today, ranging from 600m asc over 20k to 300m asc over 30k. And we do strike some grades of near 20%, but never fear, they don’t last long. We’ll have a picnic en route and while the full course is 142k, no one is expected to ride the full distance. After all, we don’t want to be late for dinner, our first ‘Tuscan’ one at that. Pre-dinner drinks out by the pool are waiting too.

Accommodation: Agriturismo.
Dinner: In-house:local traditional Tuscan cuisine.

Accommodation: Agriturismo
Dinner: In-house: local traditional cuisine

Ride: <142k, <2000m asc


Wednesday, September 27 2017 | Pistoia

Rest day in Pistoia! A fair bit of choice today, we could visit a museum in Vinci, home to a young man, a long time ago, known as Leonardo. Or we could visit a vineyard that also has an olive grove, and have a tour of the cellar and complete oil and wine making process. Along with lunch, of course. Or we could take it easy in our own backyard olive grove, relaxing by the pool. There is of course the obvious option of riding back up into the Tuscan hills, along with a visit to the ‘King of Cappucino’ in nearby Monsummano Terme.

Accommodation: Agriturismo
Dinner: In-house: local traditional Tuscan cuisine

Ride: >"zero" k


Thursday, September 28 2017 | Gaiole

Today we’re heading for Gaiole in Chianti, where we will settle in for four nights. We’ll head south towards the environs of Florence, before turning left up into the hills, around Calenzano. This serves two purposes, in that it gets us away from the considerable traffic of Florence, and puts some climbing into our legs, to toughen us up for the short ‘kickers’ of Chianti. So remember, that what doesn’t kill you, makes you want to kill the person that says ‘that what doesn’t kill you’. Spectacular riding guaranteed here. Along with a wonderful dinner at a local truffle ristorante.

Accommodation: Bed & Breakfast
Dinner:
Local truffle ristorante, not far away, 8 mins by car.

Ride: 155k, 2,590m asc


Friday, September 29 2017 |

After yesterday’s epic we’ll be looking for an easier day today, so it’s R & R. That is rest and recovery however you take it. Morning ride with long coffee stops, rolling in to lunch in Siena or a local vineyard, or even a picnic by the pool. Afternoon drinks in the square where the Siena annual horse race is held (Palio di Siena). Again, the agony of choice.

Accommodation: Bed & Breakfast
Dinner: Excellent local ristorante, 8 mins by foot.

Ride: 70k, 600m asc


L'Eroica Gran Fondo Vintage & Retro Bike Festival

Saturday, September 30 2017 |

Registration and course reccy for tomorrow’s Eroica is all we have to do today. Along with a little carbo loading, probably an aperitif as the Tuscan sun sets, etc. All in all, a fairly easy day. Not forgetting of course the retro bike market that spreads all over and fills Gaiole, if you need to pick a part up at late notice? You can even pick up a classic Colnago here, in fact you’ll have a good choice.

Accommodation: Bed & Breakfast
Dinner: Excellent local ristorante, 8 mins by foot.

Ride: 70k, 600m asc


Sunday, October 1 2017 | L'Eroica

Today it all changes. It’ll be an early start for those riding the bigger routes, the rest of us can take a more leisurely approach, kicking off between 8-10.00am, genuine ‘pro’ hours. You may choose from 46k, 75k, 135k and 209km courses. Lots of dirt sections, or ‘bianche strade’ and lots of dust, broken up by the best food stops available in any granfondo. It is expected you will be sympathetic to the overall ambience of the event, choosing to ride a pre-1987 bike, with down-tube shifters, toe straps and exposed cables. Woollen jerseys will complete the picture.

Ride: L'Eroica → Choose from 46k, 75k, 135k and 209km courses.


Monday, October 2 2017 | Arrivederci

Pack up day. Time to pack our gear and bikes, and get on our way to our next destinations. Drop off point will be central Florence Rail Station Santa Maria Novella. The Topbike vans will be heading north, close to Milano, so please let us know if you are heading in that direction too.


Topbike's 2017 L'Eroica Tour & Lake Garda Gran Fondo includes:


Please note:

  • Please pack your bike in a collapsible bag or disposable cardboard box.
    [See our FAQ's and recommendations section on packing your bike]
  • Please also see our recommended list of things to bring, it is most important to bring front and rear flashing lights.
  • NB: The itinerary above is to be used as a guide only, as Topbike Tours are well known for making use of all (and creating some extra) opportunities, expect that variations from the above can happen at any time. Please note all distances are approximate and subject to change.

L'Eroica with Topbike Tours - Vintage Cycling in Chianti Region, Tuscany Italy
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