‘Most handsome bike ride’ rolls into the Peak

editorial image

Two thousand cyclists from across Britain, Europe and the rest of the world will pedal around the Peak District this weekend.

If the Tour de France is branded as the World’s Most Famous Cycle Race, L’Eroica is described as The Most Handsome Bike Ride in the World.

Entrants dress in vintage apparel and flamboyant accessories on pre-1987 vintage road bikes, choosing between routes of 30, 55 and 100 miles in the Peak District.

But the ride on Sunday is only part of a three day festival that also highlights food and drink, fashion and lifestyle.

L’Eroica Britannia will call at six villages in the Peak that are hosting mini festivals showcasing local food and drink. Hartington and Tideswell are at the forefront.

In particular, it is designed as a family and social occasion, one that showcases the Peak District after 17 years against the backdrop of Tuscany.

Riders are aged from 16. A 2,000 cap on the number has been reached, with 30% coming from as far as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa and the USA.

“We have been blown away by the scale of the event,” said Tim Hubbard, one of four Sheffield organisers.

“When we got the licence, we thought that if we got 500 riders and we had a little festival at the Bakewell Showground, it will be great.

“When we went live, we got 1,000 in three weeks. We always knew it was going to be successful, but we had no idea how it would take off so quickly.”

All the local organisers - Tim, who has a design agency, Gian Bohan, of Nonna’s restaurant and bar, Marco Mori, who runs a cycle and tourism company, and Nick Cotton, who has a telecoms company - have taken part in L’Eroica in Italy.

They are aiming to replicate the atmosphere as it comes to the UK for the first time. “People are so incredibly proud of how they look,” said Tim. “There is no pretentiousness. There is a lovely warm eclectic vibe.”

The team of four have L’Eroica’s licence for five years, and see the inaugural event as putting down a significant marker, even if they lose out financially in the first place.

They have an impressive range of sponsors, and Tim pays particular tribute to events company Concerto London whose help has proved invaluable.

But infrastructure costs have shot up as the scale of the event has grown.

“We probably won’t get to the stage where we’ll recoup all the costs, but it gives us huge confidence for next year. We have been overwhelmed by what we have created.”