The start of Vacamora in Schio
Vintage rides are great fun, and I've done several of them. (To be honest, though, I've found that my 1970s-era bicycle is not so pleasant to ride, mostly because of the brake lever shape and position). The huge success of the Eroica spawned retro events all over Italy, many of which are part of a series called the (GIDE). Vintage rides are always associated with a historic place, event, era, phenomenon, race, cyclist, and so on. There is a sizeable group of enthusiasts who devote themselves totally to the vintage scene and make it the focus of their cycling activity. Davide La Valle, writing on the GIDE site, explains why:
"The vintage rides of the Giro d'Italia d'Epoca do not have a competitive nature. If there are classifications, they are based not on time, but on other criteria, such the merit of the bicycles and attire. The Vintage Giro d'Italia doesn't have racers anxious to finish a few seconds ahead of another, but friends who share a passion and wish to experience together, in splendid locales, beautiful days of sport. Competition, when it exists, is just for fun. At the root of partecipation is the desire to experience a way of cycling that is more serene than that of a granfondo. Cycling that is less attentive to the technological innovations that every year (or maybe it's better to say every month) appear on the market. Cycling that offers courses in the wonderful natural landscapes of our country. Cycling that is sport and healthy effort, but not conditioned by finishing times, or the fight for positions. In essence, cycling amoung friends."
I've written accounts of two vintage rides, the and the , in my journal, where you'll also find links to additional photos and videos.
All photos © April Pedersen Santinon
The Historic Museum of the Bicycle in Cesiomaggiore, "The Town of Cycling," is a must for any aficionado of the sport. It's the brainchild of the late Sergio Sanvido, a racer in his youth, then framebuilder, restorer, and passionate collector. He origininally housed his collection in the basement of his shop, which my friend Ivana and I visited many, many years ago. He decided that he wanted to donate it to the town, if they could find a place to house it. They remodeled the attic of the elementary school to create an appealing, attractive little museum. The grand opening of an exhibit room dedicated to Marco Pantani was attended by cycling luminaries like Francesco Moser, as well as the parents of Pantani himself.
It was also Signor Sanvido's idea to name the town streets after famous cyclists such as Coppi and Bartali, as well as illustrious personages like legendary Giro director Vincenzo Torriani. Sanvido paid for the all the signage himself. It was due to his influence that the San Vito di Cadore-Vedelago stage of the 2012 Giro passed through the little town, a source of great joy, pride, and for the inhabitants. The vintage ride is held in his honor.
Please note: Due to Covid 19 restrictions, it is necessary to make a reservation for your visit.
Hours and contact into are on the website.