The 6th Edition Your everyday, everything for Eroica Britannia Today 5th Aug. 2021

The Britannia Times

My Bike and I. The Martin Fry Interview

Published on 17th. February 2017

We catch up with ABC's frontman Martin Fry on all things bike and his chosen ride route for June 2017


Eroica Britannia is one of the most talked about events in the cycling and festival calendars and has been hailed as one of this year's most anticipated UK Family Festivals. As our fans know - we are a festival in the traditional sense, we have headliners (ABC & Norman Jay MBE) a full 3-days of music and entertainment, shopping, incredible food and top class cocktail, gin and ale bars. (And pubs, don't worry!) But we are also Worldwide famous for the sense of style and glamour that is reflected in the weekend through events like Best in Show and of course we're known globally for The Ride.

The Ride takes place on the 18th June 2017 aptly nicknamed The World's Most Handsome Bike Ride' on account of the thousands of beautiful retro 'pre-1987' road bikes used to tackle the 25, 55 or 100 miles of incredible territory that the Peak District has to offer. Riders dress in era specific clothing - be it flamboyant or traditional and take to the countryside collectively in the spirt of days gone by.

We're incredibly proud of what we achieve with The Ride and it seems that everyone is talking about it as well as entering it! This week our story has appeared in the press over 50 times so it is quite clearly the adventure everyone wants a slice of the action for Summer 2017!


The excitement is building and numbers for The Ride 2017 are growing. We are already on track for a full house of Riders. We're not extending Ride numbers this year - so 4,500 Riders will be setting off from The Festival on Sunday 18th June for our fourth chapter of The Great British Adventure.

We're seeing an even bigger uplift in Riders from overseas, women riders and really pleasingly family riders. We can't urge you enough however to enter The Ride quickly as when places have gone this year...They really have gone!

On the starting line we have a stellar line-up of famous faces and sporting legends. Expect to see king of Savile Row and BBC's Great British Sewing Bee - Patrick Grant, Sir Chris Boardman MBE and David Millar to name a few.


Everyone knows by now that legendary platinum selling 80's icons ABC are taking to the Main Stage as top billing headliners on Saturday Night. We're really pleased to confirm that ABC will be performing smash hits from The Lexicon of Love and The Lexicon of Love II to crowds of thousands.

BUT even more excitingly, on the next day ABC frontman Martin Fry and his family will be joining us on the start line to tackle the 55 mile route. In June it will be 35 years, almost to day since the platinum selling album 'The Lexicon of Love' entered the UK album charts at number 1. We can't think of a more exciting or relevant Headliner for the Saturday night, especially with Martin Fry's love of flamboyant outfitting and sartorial style which is the perfect match for the 3-day glamour of Eroica Britannia. The stars truly aligned when Martin and his family confirmed they would be joining us on The Ride.

Of course we knew Martin was a keen cyclist from when we first chatted to him about performing at Eroica Britannia - but we wanted to know a little more. We hope you enjoy this insight into Martin's passion about all things bike - and hope that it inspires you to think outside the norm when it comes to your Eroica Britannia outfits for both The Ride and your 3-days at The Festival!

Image - Martin Fry, his wife Julie and daughter Nancy


After many years of touring around the World do you get chance to explore locations on 2 wheels?

"Touring with ABC does sometimes involve the chance to get on two wheels, and combine music with cycling. Mountain biking in Morocco in the Atlas Mountains. Riding with the Masai in Kenya was fantastic , on the Masai Mara avoiding the elephants. Managed to combine some cycling in northern California on Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo and playing San Francisco."

Many of our Riders have been inspired by great cycling legends from the past and have found motivation from heroic stories from days gone by. When did your love affair with cycling begin?

"About 8 years ago I got re acquainted with cycling when my wife and daughter rode a sportive for charity. I figured if I didn’t get a bike I wouldn’t see a lot of them . We all got hooked. Met a lot of very inspirational people along the way. When I first started cycling the old boys from Willesden CC took me out and patiently showed me the true meaning of cycling , the code of the road."

Eroica Britannia is all about 'The Great British Adventure' What is your greatest adventure to date on 2 wheels in the UK?

"Every time I get on a bike feels like an adventure. Riding in the Chiltern Hills , cross biking in snow. The January Reliability Rides usually bring adventure - along with some self sufficiency after a long winter, old school, no gps files, just paper maps and punctures."

2017 is an important year for us and the British cycling community. It's 30 years since Stephen Roach won the triple in 1987 and 50 years since Tommy Simpson's passing on Ventoux in 1967. 1987 also marks the year for the cut-off for bikes allowed to enter Eroica Britannia. The reason for 1987 being the cut-off date is mainly due to the introduction of gear shifting being moved from the down tubes to be integrated in the brake levers so the whole style of riding a racing bike started to change. In 1987 you and ABC must have been in your zenith period. What was 1987 like for you?

"1987 was a real comeback year for me. After a serious illness I climbed back on the charts with a song called When Smokey Sings and it felt like we conquered the world."

One of our major focuses for Eroica Britannia is style and the importance of looking handsome. The Saturday daytime event 'Best in Show' is one of the highlights of the weekend. ABC are known for a superlative sense of style. Was this always part of your DNA or did something or someone inspire you to dress the way you do on stage?

"Like Adam Ant once said “ Don't you ever, stop being dandy, show me that you're handsome” In rock ’n roll you’ve got to get from A to B with your own unique homemade style.That’s what being in a band is all about. As far as I can see cycling is no different. There’s plenty of swagger involved. It’s a visual medium. I guess the ABC vibe originally came from watching Bowie , Bolan and Bryan Ferry on Top of the Pops. Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor. The Red Shoes."

On Saturday 17th June, ABC will be taking to the stage just after the finals of Best in Show, which means there will be crowds of thousands dressed in flamboyant outfitting and nostalgic glamour, that's a tough act to follow! The pressure is on - what are ABC going to do to wow this handsome crowd?

"The best shows are all about the crowd. We are no strangers to flamboyant outfits or nostalgic glamour. Looking forward to an incredible night."

On Sunday the 18th June, we are delighted you and your family are joining us on The Ride. Which route are you planning to do?

"Originally there was some talk of riding a tandem . In my house there are too many captains and not enough stokers. Think I’ll go medium . No tandem."

Join Martin and his family on the start-line in June. Join The Ride HERE

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more.