Eroica Britannia 2017. A Great British Adventure in Mediterranean conditions!

A truly great weekend was had by all at Eroica Britannia 2017. A new venue gave much more space for the numerous stages, exhibitions, stall holders,  bike jumble, eateries, bars and funfair. There was something for everyone and great weather for all!

Road Rags were happily positioned in the middle of it all. A great spot to meet old friends and make plenty new! We had a busy Friday and Saturday, a restful Sunday morning whilst the riders were out on their chosen routes and then another busy session into the evening close on Sunday before a gentle beer in the shade to talk over the weekend.

The entertainment on the big stage varied throughout each day with school choirs, brass bands, bit of Northern Soul, Norman Jay MBE holding court on Friday night and ABC got everyone dancing on Saturday. If that wasn't enough a top unexpected nugget for us was the cycling themed 'sing-a-long' in The Britannia Arms Tavern after ABC. The tent was packed with a bouncing crowd giving it their tuneful all!! 

Roaming entertainers were a continual delight. The Hendrick's Gin Bar was a personal favourite with their Perilous Laboratory. Though we missed the Friday night ride out to The Royal Oak Pub though heard later it was great fun and an eventful return for a few! One for next year...

Hot it most certainly was and Buxton provided free natural mineral water to anyone who asked throughout the entire weekend @naturallypumpedup  We made many a trip during the belting heat and cannot thank them enough for their generosity. They were right next to some of the big brands. Maserati who organised a Q&A with David Millar and Ned Boulting had some of their four wheeled machines of beauty on show. Nearby Pinarello and Bianchi were showing some of the best Italian two wheeled offerings money can buy.

Saturday in The Parade Ring there was some serious and less serious judging. The bike categories came with serious scrutiny from Luciano Berruti and the team. He was also out judging the two competitions that Road Rags sponsored 'Best Dressed Festival Gal' and 'Best Dressed Festival Guy' ably assisted by  Patrick Grant. There were plenty more shows to see, Best Cake, Best Dressed Dog and Best Brew to name a few. Dissappointed to see that the two gents that turned out in full female finery under the banner'Two Old Scrubbers' didn't make the final of the Gal competition but they raised plenty of cash for charity and truly entertained the crowds on their circuits of the parade ground. Great work for a great cause! We were happy to award our Clerkenwell and Shoreditch super fine merino tops to our lady and our gent winners on the Sunday after the finals were held on the main stage. 

Speaking of Sunday. After too many White Russians at Jimmy's Iced Coffee stand on Saturday night when we joined the #TheRideClub accordingly, we had the main event. Riders were heading out from 6.00a.m. for the 100 miler. 4500 riders in total, all on pre-1987 bikes, adorned in style, with 25, 55 and 100 miles to choose from. The Derbyshire countryside was glorious and all routes provided challenges with great traditional feed stops along the way. It gave us a chance to have a better look around the show and visit our friends at Best of Britannia BOB who have us as one of their Top Picks among the collection of Made in Britain goods. The vintage jumble had me parting with a few British pounds as I sourced parts for the next vintage rebuild.

It wasn't long before riders started to return. Chris Boardman was the first over the line according to the tannoy. The commentator entertained throughout the afternoon as he 'encouraged' everyone over the line. Must have been great for those who came in under the red, white and blue bunting as a Battle of Britain, RAF Hurricane swooped over and around us with a pre-planned display. Brass bands playing on the main stage. The heat was punishing for those on the road that day and 'Chapeau' to you all!

A great event has just got better and we enjoyed every minute. The camera was clicking throughout so there are some photos attached of riders and rejoicers. Hope you find one of yourselves or a pal! See you all next year!

@eroicabritannia @hendricksgin @maseratigb  @bianchiofficial @pinarello_com 

Our WINNER WITH LUCIANO BERRUTI

Our WINNER WITH LUCIANO BERRUTI

LADIES FINALISTS OUT IN THE AFTERNOON SUN  

LADIES FINALISTS OUT IN THE AFTERNOON SUN

 

Roaming Entertainment!.jpg

THE ENTERTAINMENT NEVER STOPPED!

 

 

Lining up for the off!.jpg

 

 

Very British Brass Band!.jpg
PERFECT TOP FOR A HOT DAY ON THE BIKE..

PERFECT TOP FOR A HOT DAY ON THE BIKE..

HEY! GOOD LOOKIN'!  

HEY! GOOD LOOKIN'!

 

BEST DRESSED FAMILY FINALISTS  

BEST DRESSED FAMILY FINALISTS

 

OUR WINNER OF A SUPERFINE MERINO WOOL CLERKENWELL IN THE 'BEST DRESSED GAL' CATEGORY  

OUR WINNER OF A SUPERFINE MERINO WOOL CLERKENWELL IN THE 'BEST DRESSED GAL' CATEGORY

 

OUR WINNER OF A SUPERFINE MERINO WOOL SHOREDITCH IN THE 'BEST DRESSED GUY' CATEGORY

OUR WINNER OF A SUPERFINE MERINO WOOL SHOREDITCH IN THE 'BEST DRESSED GUY' CATEGORY

LUCIANO BERRUTI WITH OUR LUCKY FINALISTS

LUCIANO BERRUTI WITH OUR LUCKY FINALISTS

LUCIANO!!

LUCIANO!!

OFF TO THE START..

OFF TO THE START..

The CONTENDERS..  

The CONTENDERS..

 

BEAUTIFUL DERBYSHIRE COUNTRYSIDE..

BEAUTIFUL DERBYSHIRE COUNTRYSIDE..

BEAUTIFUL DERBYSHIRE COUNTRYSIDE..

BEAUTIFUL DERBYSHIRE COUNTRYSIDE..

BEAUTIFUL DERBYSHIRE COUNTRYSIDE..

BEAUTIFUL DERBYSHIRE COUNTRYSIDE..

HOME!

HOME!

HAPPY RETURNERS..

HAPPY RETURNERS..

OVER THE LINE..

OVER THE LINE..

OFF TO THE BAR..

OFF TO THE BAR..

STYLISH FINISHERS..

STYLISH FINISHERS..

ONE HAPPY MAN!!

ONE HAPPY MAN!!

SMILING AT THE END!!

SMILING AT THE END!!

THE DUTCHMAN RETURNS..

THE DUTCHMAN RETURNS..

THE FINALISTS..

THE FINALISTS..

The start approaches!.jpg
Best Bike Finalists.jpg
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Judging in the heat..JPG
AND THE WINNER IS!!

AND THE WINNER IS!!

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RIDE OF THE LIONS, 'THE CLOCK TO THE ROCK'.

Road Rags have been involved with Ride of the Lions since its inception. Their motto, 'The spirit of rugby on a bike', is a neat description.

They have raised a great deal of money for 'Walking with the Wounded' and covered some miles in the process. John O'Groats to Lands End was the starter three years ago and this year the even greater task of Big Ben to Gibraltar gets under way on May 21st. Named 'The Clock to the Rock' riders from as far away as New Zealand are coming to ride with past British Lions through England, France and Spain.

Two of our team have been helping in the planning and organisation and are now well into training for the event. The weather has been pretty poor these last few months but a Smithfield and soft shell jacket has seen us through most of our training with an added base layer for those really cold days earlier in the year.

The outlook seems fine and dry for the week ahead so I will be slipping my Hoxton over my baselayer and heading into the hills. The days in the Pyrenees will call for a lot of climbing so best get ssome miles in those legs.

We will keep you posted on our travels and share photos of our experiences on the way....

L'Eroica, Gaoile in Chianti, Tuscany 2014

After a thoroughly enjoyable L'Eroica with Lance, Merlin and Algy McCormack in Chianti last year, topped with a fantastic inaugural l'Eroica Britannia, a return for L'Eroica 2014 was a must. 

A team of three planned the route to include a last evening stop off in Champagne to celebrate a big figure birthday. All best laid plans have last minute changes. Non delivery of a new van left us using a trusty Volkswagen going by the name of Sharon.

Weeks of preparation saw a Hetchins SS, Hawkes and Holdsworth stripped, chromed or painted then rebuilt with period parts and brand new Brooks saddles. The Hetchins had some nice original parts that really didn't deserve to hit the scrap heap. Hours of cleaning and polishing by Road Rags' finest grease monkey brought them back to their best. A bit of elk skin here, new grease nipple there. Brooks saddles, period touches, everything was set.

Eurotunnel done its still a long haul through France and into Italy but 25 hours after setting off from that British cycling hub Bexley Heath we were in Gaiole in Chianti. The views are stunning and the warmth of welcome throughout this weekend runs deep in the veins of this village. 5000 cyclists descend for the ride at least 1500 from overseas plus family and friends. We were early arriving on the Thursday and enjoyed a few days of riding the hills, exploring the restaurants, coffee houses and bars. The sun shone, the food fantastic and the wines a delight. Saturday was a day of hustle and bustle amongst the numerous vintage bike stalls and registration for the following day. A few glasses of wine in the evening and a bit of pasta were followed by a later than planned night time bike check.

Come ride day, early morning preparations were swift, down to the village and by chance we joined the start queue at the front avoiding what can be a slow and chilly experience in the narrow streets of the town. A truly tremendous days riding. Fantastic views in warm late summer sunshine, the odd steep climb on the gravel paths and feast like feed stops along the way. Photo opportunities a plenty and a real camaraderie among the riders. The chalk path sections are the highlight I guess, just that little bit different to anything you experience during the rest of the year. Its a long old journey there and back for one days cycling but I cannot recommend it enough. A classic bike, retro clothing, and you are away. I went for our Hoxton with Chatsworth three quarter length trousers and a pair of Quoc Pham leather cycling shoes. There is Chianti at every feed stop but its wise to leave that to the latter stages. There is a large marquee that feeds all riders at the end, a great spot to swap stories with friends and other riders, before heading back into the town for a few well deserved beers, coffees and brandies.

Make the effort it really is worth it....