Coronavirus or not, the annual Granfondo Giro Without Borders was going to happen.
The organizer, Zandbergia Foundation, wanted to keep the tradition of commemorating Stage 1 of the 2002 Giro d’Italia, that started in Netherlands and finished in Germany, alive.
So they decided to perform a “test” gran fondo to see how events might proceed in the “new normal.”
In order to have the granfondo take place in some way under the coronavirus conditions, it was decided the cross-border bicycle ride, in memory of the Giro d’Italia 2002, would be ridden today by board members of the Zandbergia Foundation – still adhering to applicable laws and social distancing requirements.
Six cyclists started from the square at café Zandberg in Netherlands, riding with a minimum distance of 1½ meters between them. They cycle the 115km route Zandberg-Ter Borg – Bourtange – Aschendorf – Steinbild – Hilterberg – Emstal – Schloss Dankern – Ter Apel – Zandberg, briefly stopping in Germany at Aschendorf and Schloss Dankern.
Back in Zandberg the riders smiled, talked and enjoyed a beer – or two – outside from a safe 1.5m social distance.
After months of indoor and solo riding, every rider dreams of the day when they too can join a ride like Granfondo Giro Without Borders – even with social distancing.
The future of gran fondo cycling in the near term might not be huge events with thousands of riders, but maybe just small close-knit local events organized by innovative clubs like Zandbergia Foundation.