While we’re often found ogling the latest technology, here at Flat-Out we’ve got just as much love for all things vintage so, after spending a lot of time recently in the modern world we took some time out recently to immerse ourselves at Eroica Britannia.
Now, in case you haven’t heard of it before, the Eroica movement (known as L’Eroica in its Italian homeland) is a classic cycling celebration designed to honour the gold age of road racing, when men were men, and the three Grand Tours were impossibly tough endurance events tackled by competitors who had a certain panache about them.
Having first come to the UK a few in 2014, this year’s event – once again held in Peak District’s stunning environs – was bigger and better than ever. And there wasn’t a modern carbon-clad superbike in sight.
That’s because Eroica is all about the thin-tubed elegance of classic steel bikes (preferably built before 1987) and the enduring heroics of the hard men who rode them in period, often on unpaved roads.
Wherever you looked there were vintage Bianchis, Carltons, Holdsworths and Peugeots (and myriad other famous frames) all resplendent in their classic block colour liveries.
And, despite the sweltering heat, a large proportion of the festival goers were sporting original style wool jerseys, Flat-Out included. Let’s just say that we’ve never been more thankful for modern lycra!
While everyone’s focus was on Sunday’s ride (of which there were a choice of 25, 55 and 100-mile routes, the latter only for the truly heroic or crazy), Eroica Britannia 2017 was more than a simple bike ride.
Held over three days, the organisers have turned it into a truly vintage festival, complete with retro style competitions, artisan street food stalls and a range of other quirky classic metal on display in the Jimmy’s Iced Coffee RideClub Arena.
Wherever you looked, it was impossible to find someone who wasn’t smiling, revelling in an atmosphere that accepted and celebrated every quirky corner of cycling culture.
We didn’t travel all the way to the Peaks to simply soak up the event’s ambiance though. With the help of Maserati, we slung our leg over a classic steel steed, riding alongside none other than British cycling great, David Millar.
That’s a story we’ll save for another day though. In the meantime, enjoy some of our favourite photos from Eroica Britannia 2017 and make sure you keep your diary clear for next year’s event. You won’t regret it.