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This September we expect to see you in Pomarance with Paolo Bettini for the first edition of a gravel ride that promises to win everyone’s hearts – ours for sure.
Words by Miriam | Styling by Beatrice
28 February 2023
After the seemingly endless Montebelluna-Pomarance transfers, pizza parties at Ganesh, the suddenly empty petrol tanks in the middle of the hills at impossible hours of the night, and many other adventures in the wild Tuscan bush – drum roll – the first edition of Geogravel Tuscany is finally here. On 23rd and 24th September, all the Gravel lovers of Italy – and around the world – will come together for a never-before-seen experience, with the priceless backdrop of a Tuscan hinterland unknown to most.
Do you know what the Strade Grigie are? Even we had no idea what they were before we found out about them from Paolo Bettini who, one evening over a Gin Tonic, told us how crazy it was to ride around the Val di Cecina on a gravel bike.
‘I have an idea,’ he told us – one of the thousands that normally cross his mind every millisecond – ‘let’s create a format that allows these geothermal itineraries to be experienced in the spirit of gravel: exploration, adventure, isolation from civilisation, unspoilt nature.’
Yes, but why should this gravel ride be different from all the others? The fact is that it is not just different, it is quite unique. It’s not a matter of boasting, for goodness sake, but there are at least five reasons why, if you have a gravel bike, you just can’t pass up this first edition.
Do you have plans? Here, forget them. We like gravel because that’s how it is, it often makes us uncertain and forces you to find emergency solutions, to look for new roads. And that’s where the fun begins. Up and down the metalliferous hills, between ancient villages and farmhouses lost in the void, this Tuscan playground almost never touches asphalt. This small but important detail makes this terrain almost perfect for venturing into the wilderness and escaping the grip of civilisation.
An unsuspecting visitor will be sure to find, once they have landed in the Metalliferous Hills, a scenery akin to America’s Yellowstone with its lakes and geysers that make this territory so special.
Now do you understand why they are called ‘Strade Grigie’? This name comes from the particular composition of the soil that gives it this hue.
We like to ride our bikes to enjoy life. One of the pleasures of riding with friends is sitting around a table, pouring a good wine and sharing a schiacciata still warm from the oven. GeoGravel Tuscany is also great for discovering the small typical kiosks, the local food eaten here – and only here – and to feel all the veracity of a territory in a dish where, at the end, you have to make the scarpetta.
You know how it works in cycling, don’t you? You go out in the morning with someone you barely know and come back in the evening practically siblings. Time and time again we have seen some incredible friendships being formed in the Pomarancino area. Maybe it’s the air, maybe it’s the heat coming from underground, maybe it’s the cycling… but everything here makes the bonds even more real.
As a famous advertisement once said, having Paolo Bettini as your guide is priceless. For everything else, there is the GeoGravel.