Heroic effort and luck saves Eroica Britannia

Cyclists on vintage bicycles finish one of the rides at the third Eroica in Bakewell. All Rights Reserved F Stop Press Ltd +44 (0)1335 418365
Cyclists on vintage bicycles finish one of the rides at the third Eroica in Bakewell. All Rights Reserved F Stop Press Ltd +44 (0)1335 418365
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A vintage cycling festival organised by Sheffield businessmen has been hailed a success after attracting a record 50,000 people in only its third year.

Eroica Britannia went ahead despite 10 days of downpours which left sodden ground that was tackled with 200,000 tonnes of woodchip and emergency drainage, costing £25,000.

Luckily, the event on Bakewell Showground stayed dry throughout Saturday and Sunday, until tea-time. It allowed activities - including three rides by 4,500 cyclists from 24 countries - to take place as planned.

It is expected to have an economic impact of more than £3.5m.

Nick Cotton, one of the founding partners, said: “Despite the unseasonal conditions leading up to and during the event we enjoyed a three-day celebration of all things Great British. It takes 12 months to organise and we have worked tirelessly to put it on.”

Eroica Britannina has expanded rapidly since its first year in 2014 when it attracted 15,000 people and 2,000 riders.

The festival is known as ‘the world’s most handsome bike ride’ – participants use pre-1987 bicycles and shun modern clothing such as lycra.

It was imported from Italy – where L’Eroica events have run for 45 years – by Nick and four friends after they took part. They negotiated a licence which has eight years left to run.

Mr Cotton added: “We have been overwhelmed with local support. We had over 200 volunteers who freely give their time to be involved.

“We work closely with the villages and towns of the area to make the event work hard for locals in terms of positive profile and visitors.”

Cyclists tackled three rides of between 30 and 100 miles with ‘feast stops’ in Peak District villages including Tideswell, Eyam, Ilam and the Chatsworth Estate.

The festival featured bands, bars, a fairground, a country living pavilion and a Spitfire flypast.

Surplus food and drink was being donated to local food banks, Nick added.