Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Jeff Dykzeul, central coast resident and volunteer coordinator for the upcoming Eroica California vintage bike race. Because of his regional cycling knowledge (he knows every little nook and cranny for each of the three Eroica California routes!), Jeff seemed like the perfect candidate to help educate all of us about the upcoming cycling event. You can learn more about Jeff on his blog Velobum which focuses on year-round cycling in Paso Robles and beyond!
Jeff D on Peachy Canyon Road
Hello, vintage cycling fans. I’m the volunteer coordinator for the initial 2015 edition of Eroica California. I live right in the middle of the three Eroica routes and have ridden all of the roads being used for Eroica many times, except for those sections on private lands that are being opened up just for the event. I’ve been cycling almost my entire life, progressing from a tiny red Schwinn with training wheels to my current #1 bike, a titanium Litespeed Vortex. That’s me picture to the right, stopped at a vineyard along Peachy Canyon Road with my not-quite-vintage Joe Bringheli lugged steel road bike.
As a member of the South Bay Wheelmen club in Redondo Beach CA, I helped put on the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix for 10 years, as well as the final stage of the Tour of California in 2006, which was a circuit race in Redondo Beach. Happily for me, the fellow who started the SBW club back in the early 60’s, friend and hall of fame cyclist Ted Ernst, will be one of the judges of the Eroica Concours d’Elegance. I have ridden in many parts of the United States, as well as in Mexico, the Pyrenees and French Alps, and have assisted the manager of the United HealthCare pro cycling team for a couple of editions of the Tour of California stage race. I got involved with the Eroica California event because I am a volunteer with the Hospice of San Luis Obispo organization and Hospice SLO is the charity beneficiary of the Eroica event.
The origin of the Eroica event goes back to 1997 in the Tuscany region of Italy, where Giancarlo Brocci created it to celebrate old style non-competitive cycling. Vintage bikes, vintage clothing, using dirt/gravel roads, and a laid-back attitude so that riders can enjoy the food, drink, music, scenery and socializing without concern for all the stresses involved in racing. This formula has become a big hit with cyclists and has led to the international expansion of the event. Wes Hatakeyama, long-time cyclist and resident of San Luis Obispo County who has participated in Eroica events, was instrumental in bringing Mr. Brocci to our area, resulting in Paso Robles being selected to host the event.
Vintage Nishiki at a winery entrance on Vineyard Drive
The original Eroica event in Tuscany takes place in early October, and currently there are several additional versions of the Eroica event sanctioned by Mr. Brocci: Eroica California during mid-April, a springtime version in Italy during early May, Japan in mid-May, Spain in early June, and Great Britain in mid-June. An online launch point for all the versions is athttp://www.eroica.cc/.
The California version will be unique in that it is the only edition that takes riders to the ocean. In our case, the long route includes the beautiful beaches and seaside towns of Cayucos and Cambria. All of the Eroica California activities are centered on the downtown park in the city of Paso Robles, from Friday evening April 10 through Sunday April 12. The Concours d’Elegance will take place in the park, as well as having cycling vendors, entertainment, food and drink. All three Eroica rides (short, medium and long) will start at the park Sunday morning, and end at the park later in the day.
Geneseo Road near Cass Winery
Eroica California will provide a unique opportunity for cycling fans to witness a gathering of vintage bicycles, equipment and clothing in one spot. California fans will be able to meet old and new friends from around the United States and from overseas. Riders will travel on backcountry roads paved and unpaved through verdant vineyards leafing out in the springtime sun. Well-known former professional cyclists Andy Hampsten and George Mount will be guests at the event. And, of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to sample the wonderful hospitality of Paso Robles, Cambria, Cayucos, and the whole of San Luis Obispo County, including restaurants, wine and beer tasting, museums, parks and entertainment.
As I mentioned above, I live in this beautiful region and know virtually every road that will be used for the three Eroica California routes. To see the route maps hosted at RideWithGPS, click on any of these links here: short route, medium route or long route. I’d like to share with you some of my personal photos from roads that will be used for Eroica California, click on any image to start a slide show. I hope you enjoy the pictures and I hope to see you at Eroica California! Now, I wonder if I can find one of those tiny red Schwinn bikes with training wheels…
Eroica California takes place April 11 & 12 in Paso Robles. For more information, please visit eroicacalifornia.com.