The Britannia Times
We're All In It Together!Published on 11th. May 2018
We're the famed champion of the Peak District's historic territories and expansive landscapes, big beautiful vistas and the joy of adventure by bike - but don't think you'll be riding it alone...
We’re gearing up for our demi-decade milestone of vintage life in the heart of the English countryside. The Ride which plunges riders as far as 100 mile radius of the startline into both wilderness and village life will see Riders collectively clocking up a million miles ridden in the Peak District over the last five years.
It’s a Team Thing...
Besides the Eroica principle 'the beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest' - there is no greater feeling than that of camaraderie on an Eroica Britannia ride. The sheer distance travelled on one Sunday in June over the last 5 years is remarkable when you consider that 4000 riders are adventuring on unfamiliar territory, on bikes which are - well from pre-1987...making this Great British Adventure a far from straight forward ride. It is in every meaning of the word a rather extraordinary adventure that will tests riders both mentally and physically.
Three distances 30, 60, 100 miles means you can match your fitness or ambition levels pretty well together - but opting for a shorter distance never means you're in for a lesser adventure.
"Devastatingly beautiful countryside awaits peppered with ancient places and remarkable symbols of endeavour."
It is on Eroica Britannia territory at the start, middle or end of your Ride that a feeling of natural camaraderie binds riders together - and boy do you need it... A soft word of encouragement at your elbow on a brute of a hill climb, an enormous roar of cheers and applause as you turn a corner into the next village from residents, that moment when you discover you need emergency bike assist - think wheels, handlebars, brakes, or when your water bottle has just run dry....
The Kindness Of Strangers
Over the years the stories of cooperation and intervention during a Ride are both motivational and heart melting. Every year, everyone has a story of the kindness of strangers - there are thousands. Two which spring to mind - Luciano Berruti switching routes to ride with an 8 year old girl - for the whole of her ride - riding one handed and pushing her up each incline and with her on each descent, Chris Boardman MBE stopping on the trail to help a fellow rider out with glueing a tub and then being sidetracked for at least an hour as other riders pulled up to get involved...We know riders who have met on year 1 and are still riding together through the year to return year on year to Eroica Britannia.
"This is the point - Eroica Britannia is a journey, you could almost say this is the ultimate team event - but it goes beyond that - it is an adventure that forges friendships that will last a lifetime."
Year Five, Five Rides
Friday night sees the first major Ride set off from the Festival in the warm summer dusk The Twilight Ride takes Riders on a sensory adventure down the The High Peak Trail following the line of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway to the pub. In 2017 over 300 Riders joined in - with bikes decorated in lights to guide the way!
Saturday sees hundreds of families taking part in The British Cycling Family Ride. 2017 saw over 700 riders heading to Hartington on the historic trails brimming with cow parsley, cornflowers and Summertime nature.
The main event of the weekend - 'The World's Most Handsome Bike Ride' - The Classic Ride sets off on a Great British Adventure, on tracks, trail, hill and dale early on Sunday 17th June on pre-1987 road bikes with matching heritage threads for a sensory plunge into rural exploration over 30 miles for families and first timers and the stiff upper lip inducing challenges of 60 and 100 miles of pure Great Britishness. Food and rest stops are the ultimate showcase of local produce and each route quenches thirst with Bakewell brew - Thornbridge beer.
All 'off-roads' lead back to Friden Grange via the former train lines of The High Peak railway, then it's all back for gin and ice-cream at the Festival in the mid-summer sun where crowds of flag waving tens of thousands welcome adventurers back over the finish line.
There's still time to join 'The World's Most Handsome Ride', but be quick, ride places are booking up fast!