Eroica Britannia Fun and frivolity in the heart of the Peak District
It’s not uncommon for the word Eroica to raise an eyebrow and always causes a couple of questionable pronunciations but in fact the Italian word L’Eroica literally translates as ‘the Heroes’. I had kindly been invited to the fifth edition of this iconic festival which is held in the sublime surroundings of Friden Grange in the heart of the Peak District.
Friden Grange is the new home of the Eroica Britannia known as ‘The Great British Adventure’ and covers more than 100 acres of wild vistas, big skies and romantic woodlands. The Classic Ride is on Sunday, the main event of the chaotic weekend. You can choose between 30, 60, 100 miles over track, trail, forest and moorland.
Several years ago I was lucky enough to experience the Anjou Velo Vintage, the typically French alternative to this three day retro bike festival for devotees of yesteryear bikes, music, food, boutique camping and not forgetting the shopping. Recalling my time in the Loire Valley, I was reminded of everywhere being dominated by fun and frivolity in the spirit of eccentricity and uniqueness. It felt like we had been transported back to when people had fun, or more fun than we appear to experience nowadays. And the Eroica was no exception, albeit with a slightly ‘British’ undertone.
Make no mistake, Eroica Britannia is a challenge. Choose the Ride distance that suits you and your ability. You’ll marvel in the pain of the up, relish the joy of the flat and delight in the thrill of the down – cheered home by crowds of thousands. All in it together, collectively riding over 250,000 miles in the spirit of a time gone by.
Everyone is encouraged to dress up in a colourful bygone style, It’s a wonderful concoction of paisley, comical moustaches, sweet smelling pipe tobacco, plus four slacks, silk cravats and flat caps, and that’s just the women. The floral ensemble’s and vivid makeup of the female participants is definitely a highlight, lifting the spirits regardless of the gloomy skies…