Event Review

REVIEW: L'Eroica Britannia

by Andy Dawson

GB Flag

L'Eroica Britannia 2014 

Essentials: 

Date: Sunday 22nd June (with Festival from Friday 20th
Distances: 100/55/30 miles 
Entry fee: £55 early bird/ £70 full price 
Start: Bakewell 
Feedstops: 2 on short ride, 3 on medium, 6 on long 
Catering: local produce, hot food/drinks 
Timed: no 
Signs: small brown signs 
Roads: good quality, mainly traffic free 
Goody bag: Gin & Tonic, beer, soap, magazine, bike floss! 

LE1
Festival site

This one was different. A vintage sportive modelled on the famous Italian event, new for 2014 and set within a weekend bike festival of camping, bands and bars. Vintage means the bikes had to be pre-1987, with down-tube shifters, and clothing should be "retro". There was also no requirement to wear a helmet on the ride. The three routes offered about 25% gravel track riding (the Italian event is famous for similar road conditions), some riding through well lit tunnels and loads of stops featuring local food. The free festival allowed participants to make a weekend of it too. 

We rocked up on Saturday afternoon, pitched our tent easily and got stuck into the festival. Set on Bakewell showground, the site featured a couple of large beer tents (one doubling as registration), a straw bale lined finishing area, festival food kiosks, a couple of booze sponsor areas (Hendrick's Gin and Pimms) and a large market section featuring general retro clothing plus specific vintage bicycle stalls. It would be possible to arrive with no bike and no appropriate clothing and get completely kitted out in pukka style. 

LE2
Retro stalls

LE3
Bike shops

Registration was easy, with loads of people on hand to help out. And the goody bag was like nothing I've seen in the UK - more like an Italian Gran Fondo bag; it came with specially brewed L'Eroica beer, a gin & tonic combo, a copy of Rouleur magazine, and a selection of 'Lush' soaps and toiletries - all in a useful musette. Next to registration was the main stage which took us into the evening with a couple of bands to dance to. One slight problem was the fairly lightweight food kiosks which offered the usual range of tasty snacks appropriate for a festival but weren't enough if you were relying on them for a proper meal on the eve of a long bike ride. The bands wrapped up relatively early and we all headed off to our tents. 

LE4
Bike bar


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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 9 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) n/a
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 7 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 9 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 8 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) 8 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 7 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 8 out of 10
Overall Rating 84.4%