We are off to Noosa soon to escape the cold (not soon enough though) and to indulge in something close to my heart….the Strade Bianche.
There is something magical about being on a road bike on gravel; the quiet surrounds, with only the sound of your tyres crunching the loose gravel, as you roll along and take the time to enjoy the fabulous country vistas.
Since 2011, a small group of cyclists in Noosa have run an event called the Noosa Strade Bianche. Paying homage to the ‘golden age’ of cycling and in the same vein as the famed L’Eroica in Italy, the Noosa Strade Bianche is strictly for steel framed cycles with down tube shifters. It is another celebration of the steel bicycle; an encouragement of the renaissance of the artisan-built steel frame that is taking place across the world right now.
While I have ridden the original Italian version a couple of times now and can’t wait to get back there this October for our L’Eroica Tour, 2016 will be the first time that I ride the Noosa Strade Bianche. I am told that it’s in keeping with the original L’Eroica, and as such, there are several challenging climbs & descents, and of course several sectors of ‘strade bianche’.
Set in the beautiful Noosa hinterland, the Noosa Strade Bianche – Gran Fondo has four different routes to choose from, starting with the 33km Piccolo Fondo and moving up to 87km, 137km and the Imperial at 160km. All of these loops encompass picturesque country roads, stunning vistas and characterful country towns.
While talking to Andrew and Alex, two of the original organisers, in Noosa recently, they said that there are several manned re-fuelling stations on the course, and also plenty of opportunities to revive in the picturesque hinterland towns of Cooroy, Cooran, Kin Kin and Pomona, for coffee, devonshire teas or a counter meal at one of the local pubs, should the need arise.
Just like L’Eroica in Gaiole in Chianti, there is also a vintage market on the Saturday at the Noosa Marina, called The Vintage Bicycle Show & Shine. It’s always interesting to see what collectable items you can pick up, with some people wanting to reduce their collection and others wanting to add to it. For me, it’s always about adding to it as I can’t get enough of classic steel bikes, old school cycling jerseys and vintage memorabilia.
If you are in need of a break, a new challenge and a ride somewhere different, consider a trip to Noosa in August for some warmth, great riding and beautiful seafood….maybe or maybe not in that order.