“The most handsome bike race in the world”

That’s how this new vintage cycling event to be held in England this summer is being described. L’Eroica Britannia is actually the second franchise of the original Italian event which was first held in 1997. Last year the event branched out from Italy to Japan with great success and this year the inaugural British version is being presented. Success seems almost guaranteed with the 2000 rider limit already being reached.

The original L’Eroica event in Italy was undertaken as a way to save the “Strada Bianca”, the sometimes ancient white gravel roads of the Chianti region. The protection of these roads in their unpaved state also served as a symbol for preserving other traditions of the region. Locally sourced food, sustainable local economies and a traditional lifestyle all became important elements in the ethos of the event. At its heart L’Eroica is about rediscovering and preserving a way of life that in so many places is disappearing. The bicycle provides the perfect means for this exploration. L’Eroica Britannia recalls the romantic era of cycling as it once was and embraces the ideas of valor, courage and heroic cycling. Allowing riders to experience for themselves the simple pleasures of a good day on the bike and to enjoy the rewards of participating in a heroic endeavor.

My L’Eroica Britannia

My own plans to attend this event are developing and updates will be posted here soon. I have selected the bike I will use, a 1962 Legnano Gran Premio and will follow up on that topic in a separate post. For more information on the event itself you can visit the L’Eroica Britannia website . Even for those who may not be able to attend themselves this is an intriguing event.

L’Eroica North America?

Not yet! There are a number of gravel road events in the US but none with the character and flair of L’Eroica. Cino Heroica probably comes the closest, now in it’s 8th year but it is a relatively small affair with a 160 rider limit. Other regional events feature the mix of pave’ and gravel but are usually more of a race than a vintage event. Perhaps one day we shall see a L’Eroica USA but probably not in the near future. I think that a rediscovery of cycling and its traditions is sorely needed in this country. Another L’Eroica could do just that!

Previews of L’Eroica Britannia

Here is a video from Yorkshire which promotes the Tour de France starting in England this year. It is not the Peaks District but it looks pretty darn good!