Press Release: Gravel Worlds Adds L’Eroica Category to 2019 Event

gravel worlds l'eroica 2019The Pirate Cycling League announced it’s added a L’Eroica category to Gravel Worlds 2019, presented by Lauf Cycling.

Designed to appeal to enthusiasts of vintage bicycles and cycling equipment, Gravel Worlds L’Eroica participants will complete the full 150-mile Gravel Worlds course on pre-1988 steel frames (and aluminum frames such as the Vitus 979, Alan, etc) and vintage components.

Gravel Worlds takes place August 17, 2019, with the start and finish in Lincoln, Nebraska.

gravel worlds l'eroica 2019
JOM of Gravel Cyclist at the original L’Eroica, Italy, 2016.

According to Gravel Worlds Co-Director, Corey Godfrey, a growing number of gravel cyclists are taking up the challenge of riding and racing in gravel events on bicycles designed before gravel riding was a recognized cycling discipline.

gravel worlds l'eroica 2019
Tuscany, Italy, home of the original L’Eroica.

“While the benefits of modern technology are easy to justify for many competitors, some cyclists still prefer steel frames, downtube shifters, and toe clips and straps. And despite the fact that most of these vintage bikes were designed to ride paved roads, they often deliver a smooth, fast ride on gravel roads when properly equipped.”

gravel worlds l'eroica 2019
A scene from the 2016 Gravel Worlds.

Gravel Worlds L’Eroica competitors’ bikes must be approved by race officials at the pre-race check-in August 16, and the first place finishers in the male and female classes will receive custom wool champions’ jerseys.

JOM’s period correct bike for L’Eroica events, 1987 Vitus 979.

Link to JOM’s L’Eroica Italia Bike

Rules for the Gravel Worlds L’Eroica category include:

  • Steel frame produced prior to 1988.
  • Aluminum frame (Vitus, Alan, Guerciotti, etc), produced prior to 1988.
  • Down tube or bar-con shifters.
  • Non-aero brake levers, with exposed brake housing.
  • Traditional pedals with toe clips and straps.
  • Minimum 32-spoke wheels with box-section, non-aero rims.
  • Leather saddles and wool jerseys preferred.

Godfrey said competitors already registered for another category at Gravel Worlds 2019 can switch to the L’Eroica category without additional fees, and registration remains open for all categories of the August 17 event. Learn more at, or register at

You can read more about Gravel Cyclist’s experience at the original L’Eroica:

5 comments on “Press Release: Gravel Worlds Adds L’Eroica Category to 2019 Event

  1. Are they just following the general L’Eroica rules that allow the Vitus/Alan frames, I don’t see anything on the Gravel Worlds website and most sources are just quoting pre-1988 steel frame.

    I mean, not that I’m planning to ride my 979 at that event anytime soon, but a man can dream right?

    1. Bill, I spoke with Corey of the promotion team, the Vitus 979 / Alan / Guerciotti, etc, are now legal. After riding the original L’Eroica on a Vitus 979, I thought it was silly of the guys to omit these sweet bikes.

      1. When I first picked up my ’86 979 about a year ago, I stumbled across your write up on making your build for the Original L’eroica (amazing build), so I thought it odd too.

        Maybe it was more a factor of not as many people knowing about them, let alone riding them anymore. But exciting to see a L’Eroica catagory!

        1. Bill, I will say one thing… the Gravel Worlds course on a retro road bike is going to be very difficult. The tyre puncture factor alone is going to be huge… there is the odd gnarly gravel road along that course… hats off to anyone who attempts the full monty course on such a bike!

          1. I have no doubt! I’ve ridden my Vitus for short sections off-road on 25s

            I’m doing a humble 100K ride this weekend that’s 80/20 road/gravel on a 1984 Fuji Touring bike, but at least I can fit wider tires on that frame compared to a road frame.

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