Well...What a weekend! The sun shone; the most handsome steeds in the country were on show; gentlemen, ladies and children dressed up in their finest; New Romantic legends, ABC, took us back to 1987 and the fab disco had all generations dancing their socks off to cool funkadelia and 70's hits late into the night.
Of course it's also about the ride! On the hottest weekend of the year a brave few conquered the iconic 100 mile circuit - true heroes - while others opted for the (still tough) 50 miles. A much easier 25 mile route proved very popular giving families with younger children (ex-pro, David Millar included) the opportunity to ride together.
Great entertainment, great ride and of course a great chance to see some of the finest cycling, retro and vintage products on offer. The bike jumble was busy for three whole days as bike afficionados pored over campag bits and bobs, old frames, shoes, jerseys and obscure bike parts some of us never knew existed.
For the style conscious there were some fabulous stalls. Vintage Velo was doing a roaring trade in their replica vintage jerseys. Never have so many Brooklyn jerseys been seen in the same place at the same time. Haggarts showed off their 'sexy tweed' offerings, WT Author's amazing retro watches had us scribbling down birthday wish lists and Light Blue Bikes had us pining for a retro frame with modern parts. Just imagine: an old style frame and gears that work like a dream!
Other notable stalls were Jackpot Peanut Butter which had us salivating, Carradice saddle bags, Pella for jerseys and caps, Road Rags for some well tailored Harris tweed jackets and merino leggings and urban cycling jerseys. Not to mention our very own Ride Velo T shirt designs and prints! The grey/green Bianchi flew off the shelves, closely followed by the classic Molteni. The punters loved Gareth Llewhellin and Richard Long's prints, all still available from our online shop. Keep an eye out for REW Reynolds latest shoes; a cleated Goodyear welted road shoe (review coming soon) and a pair of gorgeous ladies shoes that stopped many a passing lass in their tracks.
With so much going on it was difficult to decide what to do next - the Twilight Ride (or pub bike ride for some); watch the Best in Show (dog, bike, lady gent); the kids fun fair; David Millar, Ned Boulting and Chris Boardman's Q&A in the Maserati tent; live entertainment; bars and food stalls...and all spread out on a fabulous new site with glorious views over the Derbyshire hills.
It was with a heavy heart that we had to pack up and wind our weary way home. Thank you Eroica Britannia. It all ran like clockwork and we have many happy memories, new friends and a longing to do it all again next year.
What to do on a hot day: