The Britannia Times
Pedal Power: The Daily TelegraphPublished on 6th. June 2017
Cycling news, trends and reviews. Marc Abbott from The Daily Telegraph previews what he describes as 'the most atmospheric cycling event of the British summer'... EROICA BRITANNIA!
The word vintage has been overused in recent years to the point of losing it's meaning (see also ‘artisan’). However, mid-June marks a cycling event which embodies the halcyon days of path racers, woolen jerseys and downtube-mounted gear shifters, mixed with a family friendly, authentic vintage atmosphere that's as close as you'll get to the Goodwood Revival for cyclists. Eroica Britannia taps into the cyclist’s hankering for a bygone era, and the simple pleasure of riding a bicycle, however slow.
"It’s a far cry from your average sportive"
Modelled on an Italian event, L’Eroica (‘the heroes’), first held in 1997, the British event has become the largest event of its type worldwide, attracting more than 40,000 visitors in 2016. As the three-day festival’s heart of Sunday’s ride. Three preset routes of 25,55 or 100 miles exist to challenge and inspire in equal measure. Older Pashley Guvnors, vintage military bikes, delivery bikes and even Bromptons are encouraged on the shorter routes, but the 100-miler is open only to pre-1987 road racing bikes, with a dress code designed to reflect the spirit of the festival. Whether your bike is geared of single-speed is up to you, but the hills of the Peak District present a stern test of lungs and legs at the best of times. It’s a far cry from your average sportive- completing the course in a record time is not an option: enjoying the sensation of having cycled into a time machine alongside like-minded riders is the name of the game. What makes Eroica Britannia’s Friden Grange site truly special, however is its fete-like atmosphere and inclusive nature.
"Throw in some glorious British weather and revellers in period-correct clothing from the 1920s to the 1950s and you've all the ingredients for a weekend to remember"
So often, cycling events ostracise children and spouses, but not here. Besides a pop up pub and a late-night gin and cocktail bar for grown-ups, more than 150 shops offer everything from vintage clothing and bike parts to handmade arts and crafts wares. A friendly campsite (including “Glamping” facilities) ensure a safe environment for all, while there are also craft workshops and entertainment for kids, live music from 1980s popsters ABC, a late-night cinema and Q&A sessions with the likes of former pro racer David Millar, who caught the pre-1987 bug at last year's Eroica Britannia.
With thanks to Marc Abbott