Pushed to their limits

GRAND TOUR: Andrew McKellar getting ready for today’s Strade Bianche for classic bicycles.
GRAND TOUR: Andrew McKellar getting ready for today’s Strade Bianche for classic bicycles. John Mccutcheon

FORGET the carbon-fibre frames and high-tech wheels, classic pushbikes are set to make a comeback in Noosa.

It may be for only one day but steel-framed road bikes built before 1987 are taking pride of place during the Noosa Strade Bianche this weekend.

Formerly the Noosa Eroica, the event is a celebration of the "heroic" age of cycling and is hosting vintage cycle enthusiasts from all over south-east Queensland and interstate.

Noosa Strade Bianche takes its inspiration from the now-legendary L'Eroica in Italy, which draws riders from all over the world eager to test themselves and their vintage steeds on the rough gravel roads of the Tuscan countryside.

When the GFC made visiting the Chianti region of Italy difficult, Noosa locals Andrew McKellar and Chris Jude stepped in.

In December 2011 they mapped "a suitably heroic" 116km route through the Noosa Hinterland, incorporating several sectors of "strade bianche" - the white or gravel roads.

"With only a three-week lead time and Christmas only one week away, that first event attracted 18 hardy riders and their mounts," Mr McKellar said.

For today's event, the course has been re-drawn to include even more sections of gravel, together with several tough climbs and steep descents.

"Hinterland towns of Cooroy, Cooran, Kin Kin and Pomona are all visited, but by roads less travelled," Mr McKellar said.

"Noosa Strade Bianche is not a race.

"Riders are encouraged to ride safely and enjoy the fantastic scenery.

"A reasonable level of fitness and self-sufficiency is encouraged.

"In 2011, riders helped each other overcome the various mechanical challenges that arose, including over 20 flat tyres."

Noosa Marina at Tewantin is again the home for the event, acting as the launching pad and finishing line for both the Noosa Strade Bianche Gran Fondo (128km) and Medio Fondo (85km).

It is the first time the shorter Medio Fondo has been staged, with its turnaround point at Cooran. The action starts at 7am.

Topics:  cycling cyclist

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