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Bicycles October, 11 2013

Scenes from the 2013 L’Eroica Vintage Bicycle Race in Tuscany

Photographer, Julian Darwall, traveled to Tuscany with Red Hook Criterium organizer, David Trimble, to cycle in the 2013 L’Eroica vintage bicycle race celebrating the history and tradition of Italian cycling. Through Darwall’s photography, we experience the “throw back” appeal of bicycle racing that puts emphasis on classic components, frames and apparel, and reminds us that cycling – in its purest form – has not changed much in over a century. Below, Julian Darwall, shares his thoughts on the 2013 L’Eroica ride.

Photography: Julian Darwall

Cyclists riding upwards share an unspoken language, drifting together to avoid rocks and rivulets. At L’Eroica, teams that have ridden wheel-to-wheel for decades grind up the brutal Tuscan climbs with younger riders to celebrate the Italian cycling tradition. As is apparent from the array of old wool jerseys, this history is not only about the storied frame builders and brands, but also the small pasticcherias and mechanic’s shops that sponsor local amateur teams. The riders wear their hometown letters with pride, pushing hard up the climbs to express the tradition’s enduring vigor.

I rode with David August Trimble, a friend I’ve biked up quite a few hills with. David – whose father and uncle pioneered carbon bike technology –  wore an apt old “USA” bike jersey. The Red Hook Criterium, last month in Barcelona, and this week in Milan, is a true American export: a mashup of criterium road, velodrome track, technical terrain, and hardnosed messenger racing, it pulls riders and fans across traditions into a new arena.

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