The Britannia Times
Patrick Grant at Eroica Britannia 2017Published on 7th. April 2017
Patrick is returning again for his fourth year at Eroica Britannia and we've managed to catch up with him for a bit of chat, pre-June on all things bikes, Best in Show and that 100 miler rumour...
Patrick Grant is a Director of Norton & Sons, E.Tautz, Hammond & Co, Cookson & Clegg and Community Clothing and is a regular on television and radio as a commentator on fashion, clothing and textiles. He also is a huge fan of Eroica Britannia, each year tackling The Ride and getting down to business in the Show Ring as Head Judge for Best in Show.
We know you're a keen cyclist, often tackling challenges, 2017 will be your fourth Eroica Britannia and we've heard a rumour you're going to be taking on the 100 miler, is this true?
"I love a good rumour. And this was rumoured last year too. But I can 100% guarantee that if it’s a gorgeous sunny day and if I get to bed at a sensible time on Saturday evening then I will definitely be doing the 100 miler. Probably."
We're in a new location for 2017 which means new parts of the ride routes and a whole set of new challenges - what would be your advice to first time riders on prepping to take on the 55 miles which you did last year?
"Make sure your bike is in decent working order. My friend Tom did 55 miles with a saddle that would not stay up. Brakes are handy too. Do some training. It's hilly. Take it easy, stop often, eat loads, drink plenty. Eroica Britannia is not a race."
We know you favour a bold retro cycle kit as your Ride Day apparel - and we know that last year you picked your jersey up from our Bike Jumble - have you had time to arrange your kit for this year? If so - any preview hints?
"As long as it still fits me I’ll be in the same kit as last year (it goes with my bike)"
Other riders always comment on the exhilarating sense of freedom and escape that riding on the traffic free white trails and paths of the Peaks brings, how would you sum up your feelings on Ride Day?
"The Peak District is a joy for cyclists and the Eroica Britannia route takes in the best of it; lesser known trails, former railway lines, forest tracks and some incredible roads. It’s a huge thrill to ride."
Describe your bike and any pimping and preening you've done to get it Ride Day ready?
"I have a 1980 Raleigh Team Professional, built at the Raleigh SBDU in Ilkeston, with campagnolo record groupset, campagnolo seat pin and headset, cinelli bars and stem and a Turbo Bernard Hinault saddle. Only gets dry miles and always get special love and attention so no special prep necessary (apart from putting the campag caged pedals back on)"
The Ride is selling out faster than ever, what would you say to someone teetering on the edge of booking their place?
"Book a Friday off work, dust off your old rig, and get your tent out of the attic. It’s a brilliant family weekend."
At the Festival you're known for being Head Judge of Best in Show! (obviously your other achievements and accolades are far reaching inside and outside of Eroica Britannia festival life!) We're just about to open entries for Best in Show 2017 - what tips would you give on the best way to get noticed in the Parade Ring? Any big no's and any giant YES points you'll be looking for?
"Best in Show is a hoot, and the standard of entries is exceptional. I think the best way to go is to have fun, and don’t just think about the classic eras of the twenties though the fifties, the seventies and eighties were great eras for clothing and sport, and still largely untapped by the Eroica Britannia Festival goers."
Describe the Festival in 5 words!
"Dress-up bicycle fun in hills"
This year for the first year we have some incredible Headline music live on the Main Stage - ABC on the Saturday Night and Norman Jay MBE on the Friday Night - are you a fan?
"I used to see Norman Jay DJ in the clubs in the late eighties and early nineties and was always a big fan. And I used to do roller disco to ABC in the mid eighties. They were a huge part of the new wave scene that’s having such a resurgence in fashion at the moment. I’m really looking forward to seeing both."
Martin Fry from ABC is riding the 55 miler for the first time on Sunday with his family - have you got one piece of advice that might come in handy?
"I suggest he rides it in that gold suit he wore on Top of the Pops."
Patrick’s career in fashion began in 2005. After leaving a career in engineering, he took over as Director at Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons. Three years later he revived the E. Tautz brand to much critical acclaim, including being named Menswear Designer of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards in 2010. In 2012, he began working in collaboration with Debenhams on the brand Hammond & Co which has gone on to be the most successful designer collaboration in the department store’s history. In April 2015, he purchased the ailing Blackburn clothing manufacturer Cookson & Clegg, saving the factory from closure. This was followed in 2016 with the launch of social enterprise Community Clothing in response to challenges facing the British clothing and textile industry. Patrick is a regular on television and radio as a commentator on fashion, clothing and textiles. He has written on diverse subjects for many titles including GQ, The Financial Times and The Times and he is a regular lecturer at schools and colleges. In 203 he was made an Honorary Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University’s School of Business and Society. In 2016 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). Patrick was born in Edinburgh on 1 May 1972. He was a pupil at South Morningside Primary and The Edinburgh Academy before attending Barnard Castle School in County Durham. He has a BEng. In Materials Science & Engineering from Leeds University and an MBA from the University of Oxford. He was a schoolboy rugby international representing Scotland at U18 and U19 level. He lives in South London and cycles to work each day.