Holy Gaiole!!! – Kyle Kelley

Holy Gaiole!!!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

l’Eroica Gaiole has always been a dream of mine. Since the early days of Tracko I would fantasize about traveling to Italy with only two things: a vintage Cinelli and a 35mm film camera. I hadn’t yet been outside of the United States and was young, dumb, and thought I could get anything done. Looking back, I probably would have forgotten to bring film. I was most definitely a bit naive back then.

Fast forward about 10 years, and Brooks England made my dreams a reality. Bragen, someone who I’ve been in contact with at Brooks for many many years asked me to come along for the ride. I was so excited but was scared more than anything. The language barrier constructed by traveling abroad just scares the shit out of me. If I can’t talk my way out of a sticky situation, order food, or ask for simple directions, I get extremely nervous. I was actually looking for ways out of the trip until my fiancé talked some sense into me and basically made me go. Had I not gone, I probably would’ve never forgiven myself and the FOMO would have been strong with two of my really good friends, Namz and Benedict in attendance. I probably would’ve had to unfollow both of them on Instagram. With Benedicts uncanny ability to show the grandness of a landscape, his love for red wine, Italian food, and pizza, he would have been public enemy number one. But Namz is just too hard to be mad at, ask Benedict, so I would’ve just unfollowed her. So I got myself packed and headed off to Italy.

I didn’t have any idea what to expect, I didn’t really do much research on Gaiole or even Italy in general. I was just relying on my love for Italian cycling heritage to pull me through this one and it did. Cycling has created a universal language over the years, that doesn’t need much translation no matter where you are from. I was shaking hands with some of the most famous collectors in all of the world. I was introduced to one of the most famous bike mechanics Italy has ever seen. I was photographing things to share with you all that I never even thought I’d see myself. And I was about to go on a bike ride with more history than every bike ride that I have ever ridden in my life. How crazy is that? I’ll go ahead and answer that for you, it was absolutely crazy!

I can’t even tell you with written words how awesome L’Eroica was. My writing cannot do this trip or even the event justice. These stories are best shared with a bottle of wine from one of the many wineries in Gaiole. You gotta see the love of this event in my eyes, and experience the utter excitement and gratitude I have for Italian cycling and food. I know this probably isn’t a possibility for many of you. But I promise…you ride bikes long enough, you’ll hear each and every one of these stories from me or someone else.

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Follow l’Eroica on Instagram and follow Kyle on Instagram.

  • bikes and film cameras… the universal language!

  • AdamBike99

    I want to give you a big bear-hug and settle in to listen while you regale us with your tales until you run out of voice…

    • I have been known to lose my voice on many occasions.

  • Peter Hedman

    So great Kyle, looks like it would be a dangerous place if you had a wad of cash in your pocket. Also, that Bianchi team car is just perfection!

    • That’s how I ended up with a Bianchi jumpsuit! 🤣

  • Bil Thorne

    Once a long time ago I saw a bike thing that didnt have Poppi in it. It only happened once though because that dude’s everywhere.

  • Eric Hancock

    Great stuff.

    Those two Pinarellos are amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Pinarello mixtie(?).

  • We went to Eroica Gaiole in 2014 (was it?) and was perhaps the most magical bike experience we’ve ever had.

    As you mention, words cannot describe the vibes felt there, the tastes, the perfect roads, all of it.

    Bravo, for facing your fears! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0ee92e985c2933fa0727727bb660c89bd907f2b316748c99d04af9b5347e4bb4.jpg

  • campirecord

    Like… the Morton bros !

  • smoovebert

    I went in 2013, it blew my mind and I’ve been wanting to go back every year since—maybe this year…