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L'Eroica Britannia

This weekend, the world-famous L'Eroica festival hits British shores for the first time with one of the biggest cycling events of an already-packed summer season: L'Eroica Brittania!

L'Eroica is a haven for vintage bike lovers. It's a world where carbon fibre is a sci-fi fantasy and aero wheels are forbidden. Pedals are still fitted with metal toe clips and leather straps and all shifting takes place on the down tube - with no more than 7 speeds to choose from. The flashest kit is still made of wool and if you wear a helmet at all, it's probably made of leather.


The original L'Eroica started in 1997 in the famous Italian wine-growing region of Chianti and has grown every year since. The centrepiece of the event is a sportive through the area's iconic Strada Bianchi, following many of the same roads as the famous Classic road race that takes their name. Riders set off on their vintage bikes - only bikes built before 1987 are permitted - on routes of up to 209km. The longest course encompasses over 3700m of climbing and takes participants on average more than 15 hours to complete! It'd be a serious feat even on modern bikes, but classic bike enthusiasts are lining up every year to take part.

L'Eroica Brittania brings the vintage spirit to Bakewell in th heart of the Peak District and puts a unique British spin on affairs. Britain is seeing a cycling renaissance at the moment, both with success at the highest levels of professional competition and with a real comeback in British bike manufacturing. Combine this with a retro Home Front aesthetic and some serious moustaches and you've got a pretty good idea what it'll be like. Unlike the original, it's a full-on three-day festival with camping, food, drink, music and a vintage emporium. It all kicks off at noon this Friday and culminates in the sportive on Sunday.

The sportive is just as challenging as the original. Centring around the Monsal Trail, the three routes follow the steep ups and downs of Peak District valleys, passing some of the area's most famous natural landmarks and historic buildings. All the same rules apply so it'll be a real showcase of classic bike beauty. Just as historic bike races weren't restricted to paved roads, the L'Eroica Britannia sportive is up to 30% off-road.  As a real indication of the popularity of the event, all 2000 places on Sunday's sportive sold out in record time, but you can still come along to the festival for free and soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the scenery and support the riders.

One great reason to come along is to see the launch of the brand new Holdsworth Heritage bike range. Holdsworth is a stalwart of British cycling and manufacturing, first producing hand-build, lugged steel frames in 1933. The Heritage frames revisits the heyday of this iconic brand, bringing hand-built, artisinal steel frames back in the original designs that dominated the British race scene in the 1970s. It's everything L'Eroica is about: classic design, traditional manufacturing and lasting quality.


Planet X will be at L'Eroica with the full range of Holdsworth bikes and extra goodies for you take a look at. Showing that artisinal bike manufacturing didn't die in 1987, we'll also have the latest frames from Viner: hand-made in Italy with tube-to-tube carbon fibre construction.

You can read more about Holdsworth here, and L'Eroica Britannia here. We'll see you there!

19 June 2014

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