FEATURED
TOUR DE YORKSHIRE
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The Tour passing through my birthplace was too good an opportunity to miss, and the fact that one of my friends lived on a key point of Stage 2 made the decision to head 'home' for the weekend even easier. An amazing sporting spectacle, made all the more special by the Yorkshire wide community spirit - What a great couple of days! Some iPhone pics above.

  • Key Words:

    Tour de France

  • Address:

    Barkisland in Calderdale, West Yorkshire

  • Contact:

    N/A

  • Opening Times:

    N/A

  • Twitter:

    @letour

FEATURED
POST – L’EROICA BRITANNIA
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Images: 41 / Taken by: Darren Firth

Article Submitted by: Darren Firth

 

The inaugural L’Eroica Britannia is ‘done and dusted’ till next year; an apt phrase since it also applies to my limbs and beloved De Rosa, thanks to Derbyshire’s own version of ‘the Strade Bianchi’ - The organisers promised a tough ride and they definitely delivered.

 

As a precursor to my post, I’d like to point out three things: ➊ — I’ve never done the Italian L’Eroica, so I can’t compare. ➋ — I’d class myself as intermediate; not quite Strava Segment top 30, but not the person that everyone overtakes on the incline either! - I can hold my own, but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement.  — This post focuses mainly on the riding aspect, but there is much more to L’Eroica Britannia than the routes.

 

I’m fortunate enough to live in the Midlands, so I was already aware of the Peak District and it’s breathtaking scenery. I was also aware that the word ‘Peak’ in its title is no accident (at least 7 of the climbs in 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs are in Derbyshire), so I put in a degree of training to save potential embarrassment on the day.

 

The event took the form of a three-day festival in Bakewell, which included a tour of the Peak District National Park on the Sunday, split into 30, 55 and 100 mile routes. As Tim Hubbard from the Eroica Britannia team explained, 'All routes are stunning and have their own charm and challenge. The 30 miler is going to be great fun. The 55 mile is tough and at least 6 hour ride, but an incredible experience. We are calling the long 100 miler, ‘The Man of Steel’, because you going to have to be!'

 

Having originally signed up for the 100 miler, we (my riding partner for the day, Dan Bull) were gradually put off the idea as further information was released in the approaching weeks; it was statements like this that eventually psyched us out of it - “The long route is a real challenge even for men and ladies of steel and you need to be prepared”. The 55 miler it was, I definitely wasn’t a man or woman of steel, and looking back now we're really glad we made the switch. If rumours going around the camp were correct, less than 90 of the originally 400+ that signed up for the 100 miler actually went through with it, so we were in good company at least.

 

At this point I imagine a lot of cyclists reading this (that didn’t participate) are thinking “55 Miles, what’s the big deal!”, and of course to a reasonably fit rider it's a comfortable distance; I’ve covered more miles in a ride myself, but it isn’t the distance that’s the issue here, it’s a combination of various factors. For one thing, you are on a heavy steel bike with components dating back to the 70’s; they may have been top of the range at the time, but things have dramatically progressed in 40 years. Hills, lots of them - In other words imagine all the hills you’d usually avoid on your weekend ride and put them all into one medium length route. Yay! The surface - The route is 30% off road; dirt roads, potholes, sleepers, fields, steep descents and gravelly cycle paths make for a less than smooth riding experience. The start time - You’re up at 6 am (or before) preparing for the day ahead, probably off the back of several beers (it is a festival after all) and a less than productive nights sleep in a tent - all of which definitely take their toll.

 

Don’t be fooled by the friendly atmosphere or ill fitting vintage attire, L’Eroica is no ‘walk in the park’ (bad choice of phrase), it’s a ride designed for cyclists and worthy of the title ‘Heroic’. All that said, It is of course doable and the degree of punishment is ultimately decided by your fitness level (Experienced and Club Riders have no fear).

 

To sum up, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, the atmosphere was great and it’s pretty obvious that it’s going to get bigger and better every year! Congrats to everyone involved in making this a reality, we’ll definitely be seeing you next year….if there’s room of course!

 

INSIDER TIPS:

 

➊ — TravellingA / By Car: If you are travelling from further afield, your best option is taking the M1 and exiting at Junction 29, following the A617 westbound and the A619 to Bakewell  B / By Train: The nearest stations to Bakewell are at Matlock, Chesterfield or Buxton, each having regular, frequent bus services to the town.

 

➋ — AccommodationA / All registered riders receive a free parking space and tent pitch. Shower facilities and toilets are available across the campsite and bringing your own food and drink is welcomed. B / If you fancy something a bit more comfortable, there are plenty of B&B's and Guest houses in Bakewell and the surrounding villages.

 

➌ — The EventA / The rules on bike specifications are taken pretty seriously and you will not be allowed to start the event if you bike does not meet the rulesB / Phone reception on-site is intermittent at best, if you've arranged to meet people at the event, make sure you have a backup plan for keeping in touch.
C / There are no cash machines on-site, however you can find one located behind the Coop in Bakewell (within 1km). D / There are no power hook-ups on-site - If you need to charge your phone and don't own a portable battery charger, there are a couple of pubs in Bakewell with available wall sockets.

 

➍ — The Route(s)A / Remember to take note of the relevant start times for each route - There are no reminders or loud-hailer announcements, it's your responsibility to be up and ready to roll within the allotted time. B / There is limited mechanical support on the route, so make sure your bike is in good, rideable condition - Breaking down isn't fun, and no-one stops to help! There are mechanics on-site offering last minute servicing if you are in doubt. Also make sure you've got your s+@t! together for the ride just in case. C / Marshals are limited and signage isn't always clear, so be sure to take a copy of the turn-by-turn route guide that is given to you at registration. 

 

➎ — Dress CodeA / Helmets. Many riders will only wear a cloth cap, or an old style leather ‘hairnet’. Obviously safety is a personal choice and you are free to wear a modern helmet.

FEATURED
PRE – L’EROICA BRITANNIA
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L'Eroica Britannia is upon us. Am I fit enough? Probably not (Mis-timed holiday). Will I find some enjoyment in amongst the suffering? Ofcourse! I’ll be documenting my experience over the next few days, so expect a post ride report in the coming weeks.

 

The ride, which is the pinnacle of the festival on Sunday the 22nd June journeys adventurers through unexplored and uncharted landscape of The Peak District, including the private lands of the Chatsworth Estate. It also takes in the Monsal Trail the incredible marvels of Victorian engineering. All riders experience a series of outstanding viaducts and tunnels before filtering off to adventure on their chosen milage. All routes feature a high level of 'white off road' riding with lesser used tracks and paths adding to the feeling of conquest and adventure and staying true to the spirit and accomplishment of L'Eroica, Italy. Adventurers may choose either a 30 mile, 55 mile or the 'man of steel' 100 mile route to be ridden on the 22 June on bikes which comply to L'Eroica heritage. Pre 1987 bikes and glorious vintage apparel must be observed creating a fascinating and beautiful spectacle of 2,000 riders touring through the Peak District on the 22nd June.

 

Tim Hubbard from the Eroica Britannia team comments, 'All routes are stunning and have their own charm and challenge. The 30 miler is going to be great fun. The 55 mile is tough and at least 6 hour ride but an incredible experience. We are calling the long 100 miler, The Man of Steel, because you going to have to be!'

FEATURED
ITALIAN L’EROICA
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Images: 12 / Taken by: Ben Stott

Article Submitted by: Ben Stott

 

Now in my fifth year, I’m very fond of the L’Eroica. After all, what’s not to like? Beautiful old road bikes awash with classic Italian styling, sharp shots of espresso in the freezing mist, pit stops of Prosciutto, Parmesan and Chianti and those breath-taking, awe-inspiring rolling Tuscan hills. For the uninitiated L’Eroica is a very special kind of cycling sportive (or ‘Cicloturistica’ as it’s known in Italy). The ride is held annually in Italy with the majority of the cycling taking place on ‘Strada bianche’ – the old, white dusty gravel roads that criss cross the Chianti region of Tuscany. You’ll need a road bike built before 1987 to take part and there are strict rules on the period specifications.

 

The above photo's (mostly iPhone) encapsulate the entire trip, including the event, the race and the surrounding villages. If you have any specific questions, feel free to drop us an email. You can see the full cycle route here, along with various points of interest.

 

INSIDER TIPS:

 

➊ — Flying from the UKA / Rent or borrow a good bike box and pack your bike carefully. B / Check with the airline regarding additional charges and weight limits. C / Book early if possible. The cheapest and best served destination is Pisa. D / You will need to rent a car for the 2 hour drive to Gaiole; don’t forget to allow space for the bikes. E / Get to Chianti on the Friday or Saturday to visit the bike jumble and register for the ride.

 

➋ — Alternative travellingA / You could consider the sleeper train from Paris to Florence.

 

 — AccommodationA / There are a limited number of rooms in Gaiole, so look within a 15/25k radius. Also try Airbnb as well as the variety of hotels and apartments in the surrounding area. B / There is a campsite available for the event, check the L’Eroica website for more details. If you are making a holiday of it, is probably a good idea to purchase a local guidebook (physical).

 

➍ — The EventA / The rules on bike specifications are taken very seriously and you will not be allowed to start the event if you bike does not meet the rules. B / If you are riding anything over the 75km course, be prepared to start very early. C / It gets very cold early in the morning so arm warmers or longer sleeves are recommended; it warms up later. D / Early starting times require lights, for your safety and by the marshals. E / There is plenty of food available, if you are taking energy gels/bars keep it low key. The chianti will look tempting but be careful.

 

➎ — Dress CodeA / L’Eroica is a vintage ride. The Italians do classic very well and the majority of riders will wear a degree of vintage clothing. If you don’t have any you can stock up at the jumble or a new wool vintage style jersey will also do nicely. B / Helmets. Many riders will only wear a cloth cap, or an old style leather ‘hairnet’. Obviously safety is a personal choice and you are free to wear a modern helmet.

  • Key Words:

    Vintage Cycling Event

  • Address:

    Gaiole in Chianti, Italy

  • Contact:

    hello@a-to-b.info

  • Opening Times:

    N/A

  • Website(s):

    http://en.eroica.it

  • Twitter:

    @BenStott

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TRASÉ APPAREL
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Images: 09 / Taken by: Mads Hornsletten & Haavard Johansen

Cycle Route Submitted by: Kristoffer Rødseth

 

In 2012 Kristoffer Rødseth recognised the potential for greater diversity in cycling apparel, so he created Trasé, an alternative cycle-clothing brand that produces high quality, stylish and ethical product; we've used it ourselves and we can certainly vouch for that!

 

All their jerseys and bib shorts are developed in Norway and handmade in Italy - A winning combination of classically minimalistic Scandinavian design and the quality craftsmanship and cycling heritage of Italy. Their product range currently consists of just one kit and various accessories, but we are assured they are adding more to the line next year.

 

Kristoffer kindly submitted our latest cycle route; a breathtaking loop of the mountainous Oppland county, starting and ending in the municipality of Lom via the Sognefjellet National Tourist Route (named by the Guardian as one of the top 10 bike rides in the world).

 
The (envy-inducing) images above, along with this video will give you a good indicator of the beautiful scenery found along this route and if you are interested in riding it, you can read the full details here.

FEATURED
CYCLE ROUTE 05
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Images: 13 / Taken by: Paul Hutchinson

Cycle Route Submitted by: Paul Hutchinson

 

This is a 22m cycle route taking you through the heart of Griffith Park, comprised of quiet streets, closed roads and dedicated cycle paths. Glendale (GDL) is the nearest Amtrak Station, with multiple departures connecting with Downtown LA and North Hollywood.

 

This ride is divided into 2 main parts. The first part is a fairly flat ride taking you along the bike path adjacent to the LA river, which eventually leads you into Griffith park.

 

The ride then begins to climb. You will now be riding on quiet roads (closed to vehicles), offering lots of challenging cutbacks and viewpoints over the valley. Once over the peak, the Hollywood sign is visible to your right and the road leads into a long downhill section all the way to the Observatory (still on closed roads). The steep downhill continues past the Greek Theatre and out of the park to the end of the ride.

  • Key Words:

    Cycle Route

  • Address:

    CA 90027 ➞ CA 90027

  • Contact:

    info@a-to-b.info

  • Opening Times:

    N/A

  • Website(s):

    http://hypetype.co.uk

  • Twitter:

    @hypetype

FEATURED
ANJOU VELO VINTAGE
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Images: 47 / Taken by: Darren Firth & Dan Bull

Article Submitted by: Darren Firth

 

So, what is Anjou Velo Vintage ? and who is it aimed at?  Well I guess where L'Eroica leans more towards the die-hard cyclist, Anjou Velo Vintage offers something for everyone, catering for all ages, tastes and fitness levels. Aside from the actual routes, they have 'The Village' which consists of a cycling fair, a flea market, various vintage clothing stalls and a full schedule of retro-style events taking you late into the evening - Making it a full-on weekend event, rather than just a day in the saddle.

 

Much like L'Eroica, the dress code is key here, whether it's a polka dot dress, gloves and heels or a 70's wool jersey, cap and leather shoes, the vintage theme is an integral part of the event's ethos. The general mood is lighthearted (in a good way) and the varied route lengths means that you can make your ride as easy or difficult as you like. For a more detailed look at the event and route distances available, please check out their website here.

 

We opted for the longest route, named 'La Rando' (The Ride) at 87KM. Cheered on by thousands of locals, the race starts at the Place du Chardonnet in the centre of Saumur. The route takes you to the southeast boundaries of Anjou, towards Montreuil-Bellay and Le Puy-Notre-Dame, before heading North to the famous shale hillsides of the Layon. What proceeds is a epic journey through the breathtaking Loire landscape, passing through fields, gravel tracks, historic caves, wine cellars, cathedral's and chateau's, before returning to the Place du Chardonnet - An excellent day of cycling, good wine, beautiful scenery and camaraderie.

 

The above photo's (mostly iPhone) encapsulate our entire trip, including the event, the race, the surrounding villages, our accommodation and the journey (plus stop-overs) to and from Saumur from the UK. If you have any specific questions, feel free to drop us an email.

 

Insider tips: ➊ — If you are driving to France from the UK: A / Make sure you have purchased the legal requirements before setting off. B / Don't skrimp on the bike rack. C / Look into your ferry tickets early - The amount of notice you give and the time you travel effects the final price. D / Consider purchasing a Sat Nav - The combination of the iPhone and printed directions just didn't cut it for us. E / Consider a nights stay around Normandy to break up the journey there and back. If you're travelling from anywhere North of London, it can become a long and exhausting day of driving. F / Make sure you have at least €60 to hand for the various toll roads en route. ➋ — If you don't speak any French, try learning some of the basics.  ➌ — Book your accomodation early, everyone else is looking to stay in the same places. Alternatively, consider camping on the banks of the Loire or sharing a cottage in one of the surrounding (more scenic) villages ➍ — Stock up on nutrition, the wine is lovely, but it won't get you to the finish line. ➎ — You can buy a variety of vintage cycling paraphernalia at the event, so don't stress if you haven't completed your outfit before leaving. ➏ — Anjou Velo Vintage isn't as strict as L'Eroica regarding bike criteria, however if you are fully embracing the spirit of the event, you should be using a road bike built before 1973.

  • Key Words:

    Vintage Cycling Event

  • Address:

    Saumur 49400

  • Contact:

    anjou.velo.vintage@cg49.fr

  • Opening Times:

    N/A

  • Twitter:

    @AnjouVintage

FEATURED
CYCLE ROUTE 02
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Images: 35 / Taken by: Darren Firth & William Beaumont

Cycle Route Submitted by: Darren Firth

 

This is a 19-(30)m cycle route taking you through the rolling Leicestershire countryside, comprised of quiet B roads, village streets and country lanes. There is a lot of beautiful scenery to take in along both routes (especially Cropston Reservoir and Bradgate Park) and an abundance of quality country pubs, eateries and cafes, if you fancy a more leisurely, social ride. Loughborough is the nearest mainline station, with regular fast trains to and from London (Every 20 Mins). There are also frequent services to SheffieldLincoln and Nottingham.

 

We decided to take the longer route (30m), which passes through the additional villages/towns of Normanton on Soar, Long Whatton, Shepshed, Copt Oak and Newtown Linford. Heading North out of Cropston from Horseshoe Cottage (Our recommended base for the night), you are immediately faced with a couple of gentle climbs to warm up the legs for the journey ahead. Once you reach the peak of the hill on Swithland Road, you are then presented with an easy 4.5m descent, passing through the picturesque villages of Woodhouse and Quorn, finishing up at Barrow upon Soar. After a short climb through the village, the route then heads back into the undulating countryside, right through to our first stop at the The Plough Inn at Normanton on Soar, which resides on the River Soar.

 

The next 12m involves a generous amount of climbing, but the views and scenery will reward you nicely. Once you the leave the canopy of Copt Oak Wood on Whitcroft's Ln, you can then enjoy the 3m descent on isolated country lanes into the picture-postcard village of Newtown Linford. Once you reach Newtown Linford, there's nothing between you and the end of the route but National Forest. Enjoy!

 

We added an extra 6m round trip onto the end of the route to call off at the Curzons Arms in Woodhouse Eaves, for a well earned pint and food.

  • Key Words:

    Cycle Route

  • Address:

    LE7 7HQ ➞ LE7 7HQ

  • Contact:

    info@a-to-b.info

  • Opening Times:

    N/A

  • Twitter:

    @atobinfo