Monday, April 13, 2015

L'Eroica California Ride Report in Photos

The first American L'Eroica ride took place April 11 and 12, 2015 in Paso Robles, California, and I feel lucky to have been there. Here are a few photos and captions from what should become an essential annual event for anyone interested in celebrating cycling history with classic bicycles, fun people and epic riding.

I should say heroic riding, because that better relates to the Eroica name, and the accomplishment of completing the rides on a vintage machine. Though there are no bike-checks, official L'Eroica Italy rules require riding a pre-1987 (or facsimile) racing bicycle (I chose a 1974 Peugeot PX-10 kind of like this).

This means riding in toe clips and straps, using friction shifters, relying on old brake designs and pedaling up steep, long, dirt climbs on way-too-difficult gearing - or climbing off and walking, which many of us had to do. 

L'Eroica celebrates the romantic days of cycling when many roads were dirt, you rode for hours without seeing a car and you could stop in cafes out in the country to break bread and enjoy a little vino-fino with good friends before pedaling on to your destination. 

As celebrity ride leader, Andy Hampsten told me (Andy owns Cinghiale cycle touring company in Italy), L'Eroica is designed in part, to help preserve our classic backroads and hopefully prevent them from all being paved over and turned into highways.

The Paso Robles L'Eroica began on Saturday with a cycling festival. The banner event was the concours d'elegance bike judging, which was followed by a dinner. On Sunday, the rides took place. We had short, medium and long course options of about 40, 65 and 125 miles. 

I opted for the medium ride and rode with my Spokesman teammate John Pollard in our vintage style Santa Cruz Wheelmen wool jerseys. John brought his custom 1980s Peter Mooney. Among the other unique aspects of this ride was vineyard reststops, complete with wine tasting and even wine-filled bike bottles to take along!

Enjoy the photos and captions and say hi if you make it to next year's event!

The meet & greet Saturday morning

Concours d'elegance judging about to begin

Judges with clipboards scrutinzing

Bianchi had a nice booth at the show

A couple of Brian Fessenden's Pogliaghis

Lovely Jo Routens

Reinforced bottom bracket

Hellenic stays and piercing cable routing

The Jack Taylor area in Classic Rendezvous tent

Double front brakes

Super badge

Retro ride rig

Carminade - a rare French marque

All the way from Utah in style

Like those photo booths at arcades

A genuine gonfleur on a 1938 Bianchi

Andy arrives to lead us off

We were on the dirt 75% of the ride

Not a car in sight & almost all day

It wouldn't remain flat for long

First vineyard reststop - complete with wine tasting

Trying to keep pace with Andy (in Giro pink)

Caught up with him at the reststop

A photo out of the 1950s

L-R: Tom, Keith, John, Jim & Ryan
More Eroica CA photos
And more


Anonymous said...

I love these pictures. It's great to see that the Eroica has reached the USA!

djconnel said...

Fantastic! I've got to go. I've got an old Peuget PGN-10 sitting in a box because I can't get a compatible bottom bracket spindle: it has a Swiss-threaded bottom bracket. But that would qualify (my Trek 1500 is unfortunately 1 year too "new", the first year of "aero" brake levers, not to mention that it's Aluminum). I underestimated the "classic bike show" aspect and I would have loved to see some of those bikes, or even the opportunity to spin one around the parking lot (if that was possible).

Jim Langley said...

Thanks, Dan. You might join the free classic rendezvous Google group and ask the good folks on there if anyone has a BB spindle for you. It's amazing what they find and have. Nice bunch of people. Then you'll have your bike ready for next year!
Good luck and I hope to see you out there,

gardenview said...

Very informative. Thanks.