Thousands of cyclists celebrate cycling heritage at the second running of the Eroica Britannia in Bakewell over June 19-21. Photos by Andy Jones

Classic bikes of all ages descended upon Bakewell in Derbyshire for a weekend of retro cycling, food and music as part of the second Eroica Britannia festival.

The three-day event attracted riders from all over Britain and beyond to take part in the UK version of the Italian Eroica event. Everyone taking part – and they were there in their thousands – was encouraged to ride a retro bike and be suitably attired.

Many take retro-themed riding very seriously, with several clubs springing up to celebrate cycling heritage. Even though it is only in its second year, L’Eroica Britannia has become something of a pilgrimage for those with an appreciation of cycling from a bygone era.

>>> Eroica Britannia announces extra ride places for sold-out event

On Sunday, L’Eroica Britannia ride took the 3,000 participants out onto the roads and gravel tracks of the Peak District. Some were dressed as racers from the past decade, others as servicemen complete with full uniforms and regulation army-issue bikes. Others were just there to soak up the atmosphere and have some fun.

Among them were former professionals Malcolm Elliott and British Tour de France legend Brian Robinson, both of whom looked as though they’d carefully kept their bikes and clothing from their racing heydays.

Eroica Britannia 2015

The ‘white roads’ of Eroica Britannia 2015

Brian Robinson, Eroica Britannia 2015

Brian Robinson (right), Eroica Britannia 2015

Classic bikes, Eroica Britannia 2015

Classic bikes, Eroica Britannia 2015

Army attire, Eroica Britannia 2015

Army attire, Eroica Britannia 2015

Malcolm Elliott, Eroica Britannia 2015

Malcolm Elliott got into the spirit of the event, Eroica Britannia 2015

Eroica Britannia 2015

Sunday’s ride into the Peak District, Eroica Britannia 2015

Eroica Britannia 2015

Classic bikes don’t always have the best gearing for hills, Eroica Britannia 2015

Guvnors Assembly, Eroica Britannia 2015

Guvnors’ Assembly, Eroica Britannia 2015

Eroica Britannia 2015

Enjoying Bakewell, Eroica Britannia 2015

Eroica Britannia 2015

Starting off, Eroica Britannia 2015

Eroica Britannia 2015

Even the streets were dressed for the part, Eroica Britannia 2015

Eroica Britannia 2015

Resting is as important as riding, Eroica Britannia 2015

  • Bob

    both my bikes are 531 & retro – why spend 1,000’s on that new fangled carbon fibre stuff, its the man doing the pedalling that counts, well actually not much of an engine but u get my point?

  • dale

    hi anna,
    i ride my bike 2-4 times a week, not with any club but on my own at my pace, i don’t wear fancy clothes or even have a fancy race bike, but £250 hybrid touring bicycle that when first purchased weighed 14kgs.

    i used to be a heavy smoker and recreational drug user, i stopped all that about 10 years ago, so when i say anybody can ride these distances i mean it, they just don’t realise what they can achieve, like you and your husband with 30 miles of hills, well done to both of you…
    my brother and i did over 70 miles across the dublin/wicklow mountains last year, he’s not a keen cyclist, his bum was killing him (even with padded shorts) but he managed to make it home in one piece. it was quite comical him trying not to sit down pedaling rather strangely.

    i give a nod to oncoming cyclists when appropriate and say hi when passing others.

    so then, in my mind, it looked like from the pictures that ‘some’ of these people were pretending to be cyclists wearing the fancy clothes, therefore pretending to themselves they are healthy, that is why i said ” fun aside, blah blah blah… ”
    hope that clears things up 😉

  • Anna

    Hi Dale. You say , ” from the pictures you’d think, if it weren’t for the festival a lot of these people would never even sit on a bike”
    You are absolutely spot on , most of “these people” wouldn’t normally cycle 30 plus miles and that is just one of the reasons Eroica is so brilliant! This year this event has inspired over 3000 people to dust off or buy bikes and get riding .Over THREE THOUSAND ! Just amazing!
    Me and my husband are two of the “Michelin men” who took part , along with lots of young families and other overweight oldies . .
    We have been practising for several months to get up to being able to cycle 30 miles of tough Derbyshire hills and hopefully next year we will be able to do the 55 miles – or just do the 30 mile course better than this year.
    (Contrary to what you say , the average person cannot cycle 30 ,55 100 miles without some training first . In fact it’s bloody hard work if you are carrying a few extra pounds /stones and riding a 40 year old bike ! ) .
    Let’s face it , average “people like us” are not likely to be inspired to get cycling by the thought of joining a group of super-fit competitive lycra clad cyclists on top of the range modern bikes.
    Over the past months, we discovered that cyclists ,whether super-fit or not, are a fantastic bunch! Not judgemental or looking down on us . Always saying “hello” as they whizz past or sometimes chatting about our bikes. Whether fast or slow , fat or fit we are regarded as fellow cyclists .
    I’m pleased to say there were also hundreds of young fit people who took part in Eroica just for the fun of it and who knows one might be a future champion! But Eroica has already achieved so much more, having a positive impact on so many people’s general health and inspiring so many people.
    Cycling needs to be inclusive not exclusive .

  • chairzone

    Some nice pics. Looks like a good time.

  • Chris Sidwells

    I really enjoyed my first visit to Eroica Brittania

  • dale

    Sorry you’re upset but as you don’t know me, it helps if you actually read what is written rather using conjecture for your straw man argument. thankyou.

  • Apollina

    You’re contradicting yourself. You’re suggesting that they’re bothered by how they look on a bike, then saying they are fat and look crap, comparing them to Michelin men. Your attitude sucks, you’re so pleased with yourself, calling people names when they had the audacity to have a nice time without being thin and in lycra first. Just cos some of them aren’t full kit wankers with a lycra tan. Did you actually go to the festival? Take part at all? Do you have anything better to do than sit and snark at people from behind your computer?

  • Gary Thomas

    Earlier, I read a review of the Velothon in Wales, then this. More Eroicas I say. It looks like a lot of fun and in great spirit. Might have to get me a new (old) bike!

  • Laura B

    it is a lovely and encompasses the full range of cyclist abilities you can’t really dismiss it as a silly fancy dress when it celebrates cycling so well…my husband did the 100 after being at the event lasts year in leg brace after his patella tendon ripped off… he dressed up and enjoyed it but then he does have a sense of humour , has been to it and managed to grasp the concept of the word ride not race

  • TangerineGray

    It really is a great event! My only concern is that it might become a victim of it`s own success…a bit like ‘Ride the Lights’ is becoming in my own town Blackpool. At the moment the organisers of L’Eroica Brittania are doing a superb job and have a nice balance in how things are done. The danger is it becomes hijacked. Too big,too cliquey,part of the hurrah Henry social calendar,like Henley or Royal Ascot or summat and taken over by corporates. That would be a real shame. It`s obviously going to grow,like Ride the Lights has….but it`s just how far they can allow it to grow. Credit must also go to the people of the local villages in Derbyshire who must have really put some work into making it so brilliant too though. The local economy in the area must have had a HUGE unexpected boost the last 2 years!

  • dale

    fair play to you, i didn’t take part, but have been through derbyshire with a fully loaded bike camping/touring, and yes i struggled, some of the steepest climbs i’ve ever been up. i based my comments on the pictures provided.

  • Jill T

    Sorry..I got the impression from your comments that you weren’t a cyclist. What time did you do?? I think I must have been one of the slowest! How did you cope with the really steep hills?

  • dale

    don’t take this the wrong way but anybody can ride those distances, how long one takes to do them is another thing. i get the dressing up, of course that’s fun, i was just thinking what a lot of Michelin men. think ferrari kit car with ford escort engine.

  • Jill T

    Yes Dale, I think you are wrong. It is a really hard ride – 35,55 or 100 miles. Nobody would be able to do this if they were not used to cycling. Dressing up is just part of the fun that some people chose to do..not all.

  • Brilliant set of photos.

  • Freddie Merckx

    What a wonderful event!… Bravo to all involved

  • dale

    i was referring to one’s health really, but i agree

  • TangerineGray

    Does it really matter??? Yeh the posers are out in force and so are the plummy Home counties accents,but it`s not a race,it`s a celebration.However,there are some idiots that treat it as a race and were tearing past on some of the steep gravelled and mud off road descents,showing no respect for walkers and families out with their kids!

  • dale

    fun aside, am i wrong to think that some of these people are more concerned about how they look on a bike rather than what they can do on a bike? from the pictures you’d think if it weren’t for the festival a lot of these people would never even sit on a bike.