Noosa Strade Bianche: New courses, vintage rides

Noosa might be known for its white sand beaches but the real treat for cyclists are the wh…

Noosa might be known for its white sand beaches but the real treat for cyclists are the white roads. Grab your vintage Repco or pull the prized Legnano off the wall – if you’re so lucky – and head to the Noosa Strade Bianche from the 9-11 August.

A vintage bicycle gathering, dispel any thoughts of a few people milling about a swap meet (though there is one of those too), the Noosa Strade Bianche (NSB), running this year from 9-11 August is made to be ridden. Think a granfondo or cycling sportive but take out those hopeful semi-pro racers, those far too serious weekend warriors with expensive carbon bikes under foot and grab those remaining, pop them on steel bikes and head out for a great time. Relive iconic images of Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi battling across the Giro’s dirt roads of old.

Dishing the dirt

Wide open roads, big skies and a bunch stocked with steel machines – experience a fondo the Noosa Strade Bianche way. The biggest of them all, the Grand Fondo, traverses across 144km of Noosa’s beautiful hinterland in some of the best winter riding conditions the east coast has to offer. We’ve sampled a little of NSB’s hidden routes before but our Noosa Big Ride barely touched the surface.

If the thought of five-plus hours sitting on a leather saddle sounds a little too extreme, the 87km Medio Fondo is for you. Regardless of the course you choose, every ride will find challenging climbs, thrilling descents, unsealed white gravel roads and plenty of stops to refuel – with the golden era food and drink of choice, no doubt.

Seeking less riding and more fresh country air, a cafe or even a pub stop along the way? The Nuovo Piccolo Fondo is a leisurely 48km route that is definitely still long enough to find a good cafe or two on the way. For the uninitiated and those still learning the ropes of down tube shifting and dragging those big spoke count rims over the hills, the Saturday 33km Piccolo Fondo is the perfect introduction or even a warm-up to Sunday’s main event.

Sideshow alley

Kicking off the whole weekend, if you’re willing to risk it all, is the Steeler’s Criterium held under lights on Friday night – on the classic Noosa criterium circuit. Pump up the tubs, pin on a number but remember it doesn’t have to be retro – just steel. Watch out for the fast guys bringing the Baums and Moots. A racing license or accident insurance is required to line up so check out Bicycle Network, Bicycle New South Wales or Cycling Australia for options.

The grandfondos might draw the cycling addicts but the cycling is just one aspect to the Noosa Strade Bianche festival. It wouldn’t be a celebration of vintage and steel bikes if there wasn’t a swap meet right? The Show and Shine is open to anyone to book a stall and put on display or even sell some of that precious chrome or wooden Ghisallo rims that dare not be ridden. A great taster before the evening’s main course, the Noosa Strade Bianche Welcome Dinner, on Saturday evening will undoubtedly leave you well hydrated for the following day’s ride.

Noosa Strade Bianche

When: 9–11 August, 2019

What: Friday 9 August Steelers Criterium $25

Saturday 10 August Piccolo Fondo $45, Show and Shine, Welcome Dinner $65

Sunday 11 August Nuovo Piccolo $45, Medio $90, Grand Fondo $110

Where: Noosa Marina

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