Originally started in 1997 to help save Italy’s “strada blanche” roads (white gravel), the L’Eroica bike race is a return to the old days of cycling. Riders who compete must do so on bikes from 1987 or before, woollen jerseys are a must, and of course leather caps and shoes. There’s no support cars, and the race food is more akin to an Italian feast than a bike race.
Riders can compete in distances ranging from 38 to 202km. Anyone finishing the longest distance in under 12 hours gets a prize (it’s just that tough). Over 3000 people compete in these races each October, the majority from Italy, but interest is growing round the world each year.