The 6th Edition Your everyday, everything for Eroica Britannia Today 17th Sep. 2021

The Britannia Times

Fun and frivolity in the heart of the Peak District

Published on 19th. June 2018

Scot Whitlock from Cadence Magazine gives his insight into true Eroica Britannia Spirit and the unmistakable sights and sounds of the start line.

Cadence Magazine put fun and exploration at the top of their list as their motivation to get on a saddle, with inclusivity and openness high on their pedalling agenda!

The Great British Adventure

It’s not uncommon for the word Eroica to raise an eyebrow and always causes a couple of questionable pronunciations but in fact the Italian word L’Eroica literally translates as ‘the Heroes’. I had kindly been invited to the fifth edition of this iconic festival which is held in the sublime surroundings of Friden Grange in the heart of the Peak District.

“Friden Grange is the new home of the Eroica Britannia known as ‘The Great British Adventure’ and covers more than 100 acres of wild vistas, big skies and romantic woodlands. The Classic Ride is on Sunday, the main event of the chaotic weekend. You can choose between 30, 60, 100 miles over track, trail, forest and moorland.”

Several years ago I was lucky enough to experience the Anjou Velo Vintage, the typically French alternative to this three day retro bike festival for devotees of yesteryear bikes, music, food, boutique camping and not forgetting the shopping. Recalling my time in the Loire Valley;

“I was reminded of everywhere being dominated by fun and frivolity in the spirit of eccentricity and uniqueness. It felt like we had been transported back to when people had fun, or more fun than we appear to experience nowadays. And the Eroica was no exception, albeit with a slightly ‘British’ undertone.”

The Ride

Make no mistake, Eroica Britannia is a challenge. Choose the Ride distance that suits you and your ability. You’ll marvel in the pain of the up, relish the joy of the flat and delight in the thrill of the down – cheered home by crowds of thousands. All in it together, collectively riding over 250,000 miles in the spirit of a time gone by.

“Everyone is encouraged to dress up in a colourful bygone style, It’s a wonderful concoction of paisley, comical moustaches, sweet smelling pipe tobacco, plus four slacks, silk cravats and flat caps, and that’s just the women. The floral ensemble’s and vivid makeup of the female participants is definitely a highlight, lifting the spirits regardless of the gloomy skies.”

Heroic bikes are only permitted. Pre 1987 road racing bikes built both with gears and without gears are only allowed for the 100 mile route. Modern carbon racing bikes are strictly forbidden. For the 60 mile and 30 mile route reproduction bikes will only be permitted if they have vintage look and characteristic. Assembled using vintage components or replicated parts similar to the original. Strictly No Mountain Bikes or modern racing bikes.
I sat on a slightly battered straw bale, coffee in hand and watched as a congregation of vivid colours enthusiastically (if slightly apprehensive) pedalled through the start gate and into the unknown.

“As the morning progressed so the crowds and the noise amplified, everybody eagerly awaiting a loved one to return triumphant. Around midday the majority of the riders began to return, battered by the wind but buoyantly bunch sprinting to the finish line, the thronging crowds greeted each arrival with a chorus of applause and cheers.”

Words by Scot Whitlock. Read his full story HERE

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