Skip to content Skip to navigation

Unlimited Stories is a way for us to narrate our world, our passions, our stories. But it is above all time that we want to dedicate to you who are reading these stories. In this super-connected world and always occupied by any type of input, where we are always reachable in anyplace, at any time, the most precious thing is the time we can dedicate to the things we love. And if you are reading this blog most likely your passions coincide with ours.

Unlimited Stories is a journey to the places we love most, to the places that have made the history of cycling but seen from another perspective. An adventure to discover the new and the beauty that is just around the corner. Because beauty is everywhere you just need to know how to grasp it and many times it lies more in the way we look at places than at places themselves.

Unlimited Stories is a call to go out, leave the phone at home and pedal to discover everything that surrounds us, to be fascinated, to leave the beaten path.



It’s a simple definition: an unusual and exciting or daring experience, bold, sometimes risky.

No matter how many new roads and places we visit, that first time when you turn down a new road, when you wonder, Is this going to go through? Can I make it through that river crossing? Can I make it up that loose, steep climb without getting off my bike? Will I regret this? Will we make it home before dark? Is there water somewhere out here? - that’s when things seem to get good.

We’re not talking about voyaging to the North Pole or summiting an 8000 m peak here. In the realm of adventure, successfully completing a ride mainly comprised of rural dirt roads does not rank up there with the all-time greats, but it still gives us the slightest whiff of what the greats have tasted, and even that smell wafting out from the kitchen of possibility is enough for us.
A story by Jered Gruber


It started quietly in 1997 with the first edition of l’Eroica - back when the idea of a pre-1987 bike with downtube shifters was not all that far from current practice. The event slowly gained notoriety and began to shine a light on the wonders of Tuscany’s strade bianche.

Ten years after that first l’Eroica, professional cycling threw its hat into the ring with the first running of the Strade Bianche. From there, both events skyrocketed in popularity - and now, it’s safe to say that Tuscany is a gravel hot spot.

And this is where the naysayers will say "but we know the white roads of Tuscany. They’re not that wild. They’re basically pavement in dirt form. What’s the big deal?"
I won’t argue this point. The roads of l’Eroica and the Strade Bianche are quite tame - absolutely beautiful, but tame, for the most part. They’re also well-trodden. It doesn’t feel like a big adventure to ride the route of Strade Bianche/l’Eroica anymore. It’s beautiful, it’s tough, it’s truly one of the best races of the entire cycling season and certainly deserving of any cycling enthusiast’s attention as a route to be ridden.

From what I’ve experienced, the true magic of the area lies on the countless offshoots from these more or less “main” arteries. It’s funny calling a white road an artery, but it is true. Unlike a lot of places with a big network of dirt, these roads are used - and used a lot - by farmers, residents, tourists, cyclotourists, people getting from one point to another. They’re normal roads - just roads that have been protected by the region (thankfully).

My mention of “countless offshoots” from these main dirt roads is no exaggeration - they’re everywhere. Head down one section of white road and you’ll see little invitations left and right all the way to the end of the road. There are so many other possibilities. It’s these possibilities where things get interesting. It’s these roads that truly break with the idea that a road bike with biggish tires is enough. This is where the gravel bike is truly the way to go, easy gearing highly encouraged, and don’t be afraid to throw on some big tires, because adventure is out there, and adventure always seems to mean rough and steep around here.

Last fall, we went down to Tuscany to explore some of these more southerly options. We started just outside of Buonconvento, then followed the route of last year’s memorable Giro stage that finished atop Montalcino after a hefty serving of white roads and dust. From there, we latched on to the classic Strade Bianche route back north through my all-time favorite section of Lucignano d’Asso (the scene of this year’s utter chaos crash at Strade Bianche), before heading back towards Buonconvento.

It was here that we left the main roads behind and set off on our own adventures of new roads, paths, farm tracks, and just plain fields. The roads went from rolling with some little pitches here and there to straight down, straight up - and another level of beauty.

There’s something to be said for leaving the beaten path. It feels like an automatic increase in pleasure, curiosity, and beauty - just by heading down a new road that you’ve never ridden before - or that never-ending feeling of satisfaction of turning off of a normal road and on to something at least a tiny bit crazy.

And so it was, when we left the route of Strade Bianche just outside of Buonconvento, then plunged straight down to a small stream - only to stare in amazement at the wall in front of us. We laughed in disbelief at this improbably perched piece of dirt - then slowly tried to make our way up it. We each made full gas attempts at it, but ultimately fell a bit short and took to our feet for the final meters - laughing at this ridiculous road. Riccardo was having none of it though and tried multiple times to get the better of the loose wall of a track. He eventually gave up and bent over laughing at the absurdity of his quest. We didn’t want him to feel alone, so we laughed at him too.
Minutes later, we connected to a normal dirt road and headed into Buonconvento for a little lunch, before heading off on what was to be the crowning section of the day. We left on more or less normal roads again, before making a slight detour to a network of roads that parallel the main paved road less than a kilometer to the east. We were high on the ridge making our way from one beaten double-track road to a path to a vague idea of a path to normal dirt. We stopped and took pictures here and there, but never stopped marveling at this new world of beauty and quiet. We passed through gates and made improbable turns on to tiny sections of single-track - but it kept working, and we continued northward towards Siena and its beautiful place on the horizon as the sun slowly set on us. We finished that evening with a creek crossing and blinking tail lights and smiles on smiles.

The next morning dawned gray and moody. We set off back into the Crete Senesi for one of my absolute favorite sections of road in the whole world (that I’ve seen so far). It’s a section of dirt road that crosses from around Mucigliani across to the famed white road of Monte Sante Marie. This section is all that I dream of when I close my eyes: a rippling piece of white road meandering its way through hills that actually look like the rolling sea.

Depending on the time of year that you go through here, it can be the brightest green you’ve ever seen in spring, a brilliant burnt yellow in the summer, and then finally, tilled earth as far as your eyes can see in the fall and winter. I’m in love with this spot - going all the way back to the first time that Ash and I walked across it, because it was a mud track after a particularly wet spring.

From this point, the next section of the ride almost seems unlikely. We made a turn toward the north, which then took us away from the wide open wonder of the Crete Senesi and into Chianti proper - complete with forests of gnarled oaks and vineyards. The already lumpy route got lumpier still as we made our way towards Villa Arceno and one of the more impressive cypress tree tunnels that we’ve found. It goes and goes and goes - and goes some more. It’s incredible.

After the joy of that section, we meandered our way up and up some more towards Castello Brolio and its wondrous dirt made famous by l’Eroica. If there’s ever a sight to behold in cycling, it’s the climb to Brolio in the pre-dawn hour lit by candles on the side of the road and riders’ lights. It’s also magical in daylight, and the twisting cypress treelined road to the castello is its own kind of magic.

Right below the castle is the l’Eroica Cafe - complete with l’Eroica paraphernalia, coffee, sandwiches, and treats. It’s a lovely spot and worth whiling away the afternoon - well, not too long, especially on a ride like this one. There’s no rush, but there is daylight to be dealt with, and the going is slow - but wonderful.

From here, the next fifteen or so kilometers are - again - some of my favorites. I only recently discovered the road to Tornano, but I’m hooked now. I’ll be back again and again for this dirt road that makes me feel like I’m in the mountains. It feels a world apart from the Crete Senesi, which are so, so close at hand.

And finally, before heading back to Siena, there’s the road to Dievole. It’s a tough, nasty climb for a few minutes. Right about the point when you’re thinking, I don’t like this anymore, I really don’t like this climb, it relents. And when it relents, it spreads its arms and hugs you in one of the more wonderful views in Chianti. I treasure this spot. It’s one of my computer image backgrounds and never ceases to make me stop what I’m doing and enjoy the view for the thousandth time when it pops up.

I can go on and on and on forever about this 180-kilometer loop. It has a bit of everything, but in my humble opinion, never too much of anything ... except for beautiful.
Photos by Gruber Images
You can compare a maximum of 5 items at once. Please Remove at least one product before adding a new one.