What is a Gran Fondo?

Gran Fondo is the Italian term which loosely translates to “Big Ride”.

Gran Fondos are mass participation cycling events that have enjoyed incredible popularity in Europe for decades and have become popular in North America, Asia, Australia and increasingly worldwide.

Take a scenic, hilly course and add several hundreds of cyclists ranging from pros to beginners. Mix in roving and fixed mechanical and medical support, feed zones manned by cheerful volunteers serving up healthy snacks, fruit, and drinks, and traffic halted at intersections to let you pass. Garnish with enthusiastic and supportive spectators lining the course. Top it off with coverage by local media. Energy, excitement and atmosphere, this The Gran Fondo, a phenomenon that took the world by storm!

Gran Fondos are designed for everyone

Riders ranging from professional to recreational cyclists, are encouraged to participate in this event for camaraderie, scenic views, personal achievement and the chance to win prizes. Think of a Gran Fondo as a combination of a group ride, race, and tour, all in one. Mechanical support, SAG support, with pre, during, and post ride food & refreshment are available to all those who participate. Think of the ride as a big rolling party! Our Gran Fondo event includes; challenging routes, three electronic timing sections, cash awards, fantastic door prizes, a Vendor Village, well-stocked aid stations, mobile tech support, and a fun post-race party with old and new cycling friends.

Gran Fondo riders want to improve upon their personal best, challenge themselves, their friends and their teammates. Many even ride to win!

Gran Fondo’s are designed for everyone. Whether you are an experienced cyclist wanting to push your own limits, race, or you are someone new to riding and want to ride at your own pace, a Gran Fondo typically has a perfect ride and group for you!

Italian Heritage

The first Gran Fondo ever held was the Nove Colli (Nine Hills) on July 12, 1970 in Cesenatico, Italy. Today, Nove Colli is arguably Italy’s biggest cycling party with a large 2-day expo and a 12,000 rider field tackling three distances of 80km, 120km and 200km.

With chip timing becoming more popular in the 1990s, the number of Gran Fondo events grew rapidly in Italy. Today, over 100 Gran Fondos are held in Italy between February and October. Most of them have 500-1,000 participants while a few of the bigger ones go beyond that.

The Italian Cycling Federation defines Gran Fondo as:

• at least 120km long (75 miles)

• chip timed sections

• with prizes for the fastest riders in each category

In short, Gran Fondos are races for everyone.

North America

Gran Fondos started to be organized in the U.S. in 2009. Most U.S. Gran Fondos aren’t what they call “True Italian” Gran Fondos – mainly because the roads aren’t fully closed. Only GFNY New York has closed roads. Italy’s cycling heritage allows cities, towns and villages to work together to provide courses on roads with no cars for the duration of the event, such is the popularity and love for cycling.

In 2010 there were a handful of events, now in 2016 there are expected to be around 175+ events in North America alone and the scene is growing very quickly.

More and more U.S. Gran Fondos are adding full electronic timing or timed hill climb sections, so you can race against the clock, your friends or go for the win! Many have age category awards, medals and prizes. If you’ve never done one, believe us, you won’t be disappointed.