Eroica Britannia 2017 Report Posted on 23 Jun 13:41 , 0 comments
Well we got both the Lenton and the Severn Valley built in time and took them up to Derbyshire to Eroica Britannia. Friday night there was twilight ride to a pub led by the Pannier 15 kph club. I am sure many of the riders were doing a lot less than 15kph! We were asked to illuminate our bikes, but I forgot to pack the decorative lighting. Many of the bikes had fairy lights wrapped around the tubes and some riders had them sewn onto their clothing!
The ride was on the High Peaks trail and completely traffic free, apart from crossing the road to the pub. A lovely relaxing first evening.
Saturday was real scorcher, so we skipped the family ride and had a good look around the various stalls at the festival. Not quite so many traders as last year I think, but I have never seen so many old bikes for sale. It is perfectly feasible to turn up without a bike and buy one for the ride. There were several mechanic services there to fettle it for you and bike jumbles to buy any missing bits! The period clothing and accessories were also for sale.
Sunday was even hotter, so we opted for the short ride. The pace was very relaxed - the biggest challenge being to keep hydrated. Buxton Water were one of the sponsors, so it was "help yourself" to as many free bottles of water as you could carry.
While the vast majority of the bikes were "period" there is no scrutineering and I was following a modern mountain bike with disk brakes for some of the ride! A lot of kids were on their everyday bikes, but that is understandable. About half of the entry were in period costumes and quite a few in fancy dress. Including a few men in dresses. I was following this one "woman" and I thought here legs didn't look very feminine and would have benefitted from shaving, when I came past it was burly bloke with a beard!
The lunch stop provided a free lunch box, free beer and free water and a brass band to serenade us, just so you remembered this was "The North"! We had a very long lunch break to prepare us for the massive steep hill out of Monyash in the searing heat. This was one of the very few on-road sections of the ride. 90% of it being on "white roads" The High Peak Trail and the Tissington Trail. Some parts of the trail were in very poor condition with large stones instead of gravel, so I worried about my choice of Grandbois Cerf 700x26mm tyres, but they were fine. We did hear a couple of loud bangs and saw some repairs being made so not everyone was so lucky. Next time I would go for 32mm + width tyres or even 650 x 42B. Maybe the Calla next year then.
We got back at 2.15pm about 4 hours after we started and even including the 90 minute rest break it was a relaxed pace. Apart from Monyash no serious hills.
As for the bikes they did well. The Raleigh Lenton was faultless throughout the ride and the Severn Vally dropped the chain a couple of times changing down to small ring. I think I have fixed it now, but there may be too much slop in the 50 year old Nouvo Record front derailleur, so if it continues I will fit a SunXCD front mech, as the bike is such a joy to ride otherwise I don't want any disincentives to using it.