L'Eroica California

The event will take place on the bucolic rolling roads around Paso Robles in central California. Photo by John Watson / www.TheRadavist.com​

Tuscany's famed L'Eroica vintage gran fondo-style bike ride is coming to California. The inaugural L'Eroica California will be held April 10-12, starting and finishing in downtown Paso Robles.

For the uninitiated, L'Eroica's unique premise is that participants may only use bicycles built before 1988; many riders use two-wheelers built prior to World War II and dress in retro clothing. Registration, which opened this week, will be capped at 1000 riders. Cost of entry is $150. Route options will include 43, 65 and 123 miles, each with gravel road sections.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcTV9FBHOlMThe concept of L'Eroica is best explained by this video that illustrates the passion for vintage bikes.

The weekend-long event will also include a classic bicycle concours in central Paso Robles and will feature a vintage market, including classic bicycles, parts and other merchandise. Part of the event's proceeds will benefit the non-profit Hospice of San Luis Obispo County.

L'Eroica was started 19 years ago in Italy by Giancarlo Brocci who had a desire to reconnect to the heritage of Italian cycling, literature, culture, and music. Because much of the ride takes place on Tuscany's famed white gravel roads, better known as the strade bianche. L'Eroica's success and popularity has led to efforts to protect and preserve these roads.

"Today we continue to spread the authentic roots of an extraordinary sport with a great soul," said Brocci. "We want people to rediscover the beauty of fatigue and the taste of accomplishment."

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J58B-pYUtWEExperience the romance of the 2012 L'Eroica in Tuscany, Italy.

In addition to California, 2015 will see L'Eroica rides in Italy, Spain, Britain and Japan.

For more information visit www.eroicacalifornia.com. And check out the photo gallery below for more great images from the Paso Robles route.