The return of the Eroica Britannia bike ride and festival ‘exceeded all expectations’ - after more than 53,000 headed to Bakewell for the celebration of vintage lifestyle and cycling.
Around 50,000 festivalgoers descended on the Bakewell Showground for three days of food, drink, stalls and entertainment, while 3,600 cyclists from more than 52 countries took to the tracks and trails of the Peak District, wearing old-fashioned outfits and riding pre-1987 road bikes.
Gian Bohan, of Nonna’s on Ecclesall Road, who first brought the event to the Peaks from Italy last year along with a group of fellow businessmen, said the cycle ride was ‘totally magnificent’.
“Because the villages along the route had year one under their belt, so to speak, they embraced it even more,” he said.
“What was amazing was the breadth of where the riders came from, locally, nationally and internationally, and the spectrum of age as well. Our oldest rider was 82 and the youngest was 10.”
Gian added: “The festival side of things 100 per cent exceeded expectations. On the Saturday we had to stop people at the gate - we couldn’t take any more people in, which is an amazing situation to be in.”
The site was increased by a third this year with more than 200 stalls, fairground rides, a family sports day and 40 street food vendors. Prizes were on offer in a fancy dress competition and festivalgoers looked to the skies for an RAF flypast as the cyclists headed for the finishing line on Sunday.
“We were very lucky with the weather, we missed rain by the skin of our teeth really,” said Gian. An important change this year was the small admission charge of £5 per day - or £10 for the weekend - introduced at the festival site. Last year entry was free.
“There are so many hidden costs in doing an event of the size and with the level of detail that we want,” explained Gian.
Eroica Britannia is firmly on the calendar for next year, he confirmed. “We’ll look at what we did well, take on board the feedback we’ve received, and see how we can improve things for next year.”