Event Review

REVIEW: Eroica Britannia 2015

by Emma Osenton

GB Flag

REVIEW: Eroica Britania 2015 

Distances: Short route - 30 miles, Medium route 55 miles, Long Route 100 miles 
Entry fee: Ride £60, Camping £60, Weekend pass £10 
Participants: 3900 
Start: Bakewell Showground. Derbyshire. 
Feed stops: 6 - Beer, Tea, Coffee, Sausages, cakes, flapjacks, sandwiches, cans of pop, bubbly, ice cream - everything! 
Catering: Hot/cold drinks and food available before and after the ride - full festival. 
Timed: No, brevet cards 
Signs: Way-marked route with plentiful signage along with marshals at certain junctions  
Roads:  Fun route on quiet lanes and various off road surfaces, with a fair amount of climbing. 
Photos: Professional photographer out around the route  
Goodies: Gin and tonic, beer, Lush cosmetics, Tin of tea 

Well, where do I start with a review of Eroica Britannia? Basically, you should have this event on your list of things to do because it's brilliant, genuinly brilliant. 

Eroica Britannia is a celebration of all things pre-1987: cycling, food, coffee, the very British Bazaar, brass bands mixed with swing bands, a fairground, a bike jumble and of course not forgetting the beer tent serving especially brewed Eroica Britannia beer! 

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There's something wonderful in this day and age to manage to create a cycling event with no ego, no carbon warriors, just many, many friendly people all having a great time. Now in its second year it's gathering pace, and the collectors old and new have been busy over the last year making sure their bikes and outfits fitted the bill. 

Saturday had a charming festival feel with people participating in the next day's ride-outs collecting their numbers in a relaxed and stress-free way. The whole sign-on tent like something from the Empire days with wooden boxes making the shelves and leather sofas with palour palms and chests for tables. 

Meanwhile outside in the parade ring familes were prancing round hoping to be awarded 'Best in Show' as the Ring Master called them up on to the stage. Various live music acts kept festival goers entertained throughout the weekend with a mix of jazz, big band and swing, with hay bales and deck chairs out for folk to rest on. 

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Behind the main arena area a full sized merry-go-round complete with a full set of golden horses and cockerels danced past to the barrel organ in the centre. A Helterskelter rekindled the child in many as they came to a bump stop on their straw door mats at the bottom. Bumpercars, swinging boats and a shooting gallery were also there, everything completely restored. 

I feel like I'm going on a bit....but there's more....In the British Bazaar section of the festival you could find everything, from the barbers to give you a trim, a nail bar, The Grand Tour Cookbook, Vulpine, Reynolds Tubing, plenty of art work with the artists present. Old bikes, new bikes, new old bikes. Bike building lessons, clothing, picnic baskets, tyres - seriously everything, you were more worried you'd miss something than there not be enough to do. 

There was food and drink from all around including Hendrick's Gin, the Pimms bus, Streatza Pizza, steamed baps, curries and paella, chips, churos, vegan food. More Yorkshire tea than you could shake a stick at. You're getting the picture I take it? Which reminds me, there was Canon with a stand and a chance to win prizes, Lush cosmetics scenting the air, Smeg fridges handing out free sunglasses. 

I'm using up all my words and I've not even started the ride! After a quiet night's camping in the camper van fields we we're up. With some lucky good weather we joined the short queue to start the medium 55 mile ride. 

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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 10 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) n/a
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 10 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 10 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 10 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 10 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 10 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 10 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 10 out of 10
Overall Rating 100.0%