200 181 EOS 50D-2011_07_21-117 180 EOS 50D-2011_07_21-076 163b CLA_20080224_0075 tram169  010d Brolio e L'Eroica 024 arnaud 14 112 CLA_09030712_56_531415

pronounced leh-row-ica


L’Eroica is possibly the most scenic non-competitive ride on the sporting calendar. The L’Eroica route takes the rider across the famous Tuscan chalky white roads – “strade bianche”.

L’Eroica is an event for classic bikes, starting and finishing in Gaiole in Chianti.

L’Eroica isn’t a race it’s a vintage sportive, and has some very specific rules.

Your vintage bicycle must have all the following characteristics:

  • road racing bicycle, built before 1987 (not cyclo cross or time trial bike)
  • steel frame (the only aluminum frame bikes permitted are ALAN or VITUS with either screwed or glued joints)
  • gear shift levers on the down tube of the frame (exceptionally, only pre-1980 bar-end gear shifts are allowed)
  • pedals with toe clips and fitted straps (quick release pedals are not allowed, except Cinelli M71 pedals)
  • the passage of brake cable outside the handlebars
  • New bicycles with steel frames can be used but they must be assembled with vintage components (gear levers, handlebars, pedals, etc).
  • The adjustment of the rear wheel gears to suit the difficulty of the route is permitted.

Whilst it has these specific rules that will prevent you riding anything remotely resembling carbon, it is a ride that is meant to be fun.  It’s a chance to ride a classic bike, dress up in retro clothes and have a laugh. Some people match the vintage of their clothing to the vintage of their bike but for others it’s more of a hotchpotch. The main thing is that it falls into the broad category of ‘old stuff’.

L’Eroica takes place on the first Sunday of October. 2012 was 16th edition with 5,500 participants. It’s come a long way since the first ride in 2004 where there were just 490 riders.




Tour Down Under Update

The Tour Down Under is just over a month away, January 20-27, and the touring teams are starting to announce their rosters.

The BMC team is looking strong with Phillipe Gilbert, Alessandro Ballan and Martin Kohler making the trip over to Adelaide.



Alessandro Ballan (ITA)
Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
Martin Kohler (SUI)
Klaas Lodewyck (BEL)
Amaël Moinard (FRA)
Steve Morabito (SUI)
Danilo Wyss (SUI).

Phillipe Gilbert

Further announcements to follow over the next week. With these big guns coming over, I’m looking forward to a few more major announcements.  It’s going to be big, so make sure you get on ever here.

Next week, some news for those coming to Adelaide for the tour and looking to hire a top end bike.


Bike Books – Breaking the Chain – Willy Voet


Over the last month I had the dubious please of reading 3 cyling books that have opened up my eyes to the world ofdoping in pro cycling. I must admit that this late night reading is killing me. These books make for fascinating reading and are very hard to put down.The matter of fact approach a lot of these cyclists took to drugs and doping like ducks to water.

All three books were loaned to me courtesy of KD. Cheers

More of the other two books in later posts, but first – “Breaking the Chain” by Willy Voet. Printed in 1999, Willy was the Festina soigneur that effectively opened the doors to the world of doping in the professional ranks.

Some perspective before we go any further.

1998 was the year the Good Friday Agreement was signed in Northern Ireland, the Real IRA exploded a bomb in Omagh, Google went online, the Clinton affair with Monica Lewinsky broke, France beat Brazil 3-0 in the World Cup final, Apple introduce the iMac while Windows 98 is launched, and Marco Pantani won a scandal riddled Tour de France that visited Ireland for the first time.

This was also the year that saw Jens Voigt ride his first race and Stuart O’Grady win 3 stages.

This was the year that cycling fans were finally exposed to just how serious doping was within the professional peloton.

On July 8, as the teams were making their way to Ireland, the Festina team car of soigneur Willy Voet was stopped by customs agents when crossing from Belgium into France. What was found inside was a performance enhancing cyclists dream cache.


Voet was carrying 234 doses of EPO — a drug the sport could not test for at the time and wouldn’t be able to until 2004 — testosterone, amphetamines and other drugs that would go some ways towards helping Richard Virenque and his band of merry men at Festina.

The Tour prologue was held in Dublin on July 12th, some 4 days after Willty had been taken into custody.

By the third stage, the Festina warehouse had been raided and more drugs found. Voet had begun to talk by this stage, revealing to police that he was acting on the orders of Festina management, the team director Bruno Roussel and team doctor Eric Rijckaert who had been brought in for questioning.

What followed was the unravelling of the sport, denials from all sides of the fence, suspensions, criticism of the police by the riders, peleton petulance on the penulitimate stage with a sit down strike, and defence of those caught by riders, managers and organisers alike.



Breaking the Chain is Willy’s story. A fascinating read, not as slick as the other two I have read, but enlightening and frightening.


Toy of the Week – Outride Case for iPhone



If you are considering purchasing an actioncam like the Countour or GoPro for mounting on your bike or helmet, you have another option.

That iPhone you have tucked away you your jersey pocket can be encased in the new morphie’s new OUTRIDE case for the iPhone 4 and 4S.

The OUTRIDE case is made from clear impact-resistant polycarbonate and features a 170-degree wide-angle lens.

It’s simple to insert the phone and get going. The iPhone simply sits inside of the case, where it’s protected from dirt, dust, flailing branches, and moisture.

The case does come bundled with a number of mounts, allowing it to be attached to various things either vertically or horizontally. It is also paired with a free dedicated app, designed to facilitate the easy capture, viewing and sharing of footage.


Further details here – Morphie


Website of the Week – Arms Control Wonk

Concerned about the control of arms, weaponry and nuclear material around the world.

Well look no further – Arms Control Wonk



Till next week

Tight Spokes


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s