Eroica is back!

It’s time to dust off those old Bianchis and Alpinas. Pump your tyres and set the gears - Eroica South Africa is back on the weekend of 17 March 2018! This will be our third edition, and the best one yet. We’ll have our three beautiful gravel routes for you to take on with your vintage bike, but for this year we’re also introducing NOVA Eroica, a brand new gravel race category for modern bicycles.

Eroica South Africa 6.jpg
Luciano leads out the 90km riders. He was very strong considering his age.
But, as it should be with Eroica, our focus is still our old steel bikes and the celebration of vintage cycling culture. The hardest of our three routes will remain our 135km jaunt up the very tough Ouberg Pass north towards Touwsrivier. Taking on this infamous and steep gravel road monster with the limited gearing of a vintage steel road bike is very hard work. Fortunately, when you reach the plateau you know the worst climb of the day is over, and you have a lovely food stop to look forward to just up the road. This 135km route is for the hard men and women of cycling, and if you ask me it is the true Eroica test. I would suggest everyone take on this challenge at least once. It is what Eroica was built for - pain, suffering, reward.

 

Eroica South Africa 5.jpg

 

Last year a small group taking on the 135km got lost right near the beginning of the ride. They missed a crucial sharp right turn, and they ended up on an almost-unrideable track through some farms scattered up the escarpment. It was a 20km detour that took hours, but they refused to turn back. The tracks got narrower, fainter, and muddier. They persevered. Fortunately they somehow found their way onto Ouberg Pass and continued on course, but this mistake turned their day from a tough one into a truly epic and memorable adventure. The kind of experience that one would talk about for years. And it’s exactly this that Eroica aims to give each and every rider - real adventure in a world where it’s increasingly hard to come by.

 

Eroica South Africa 13.jpg
Stef and his Zeus.

 

If you don’t own a vintage bike (though you really should) the Eroica experience is now open to you as a race too with the new NOVA Eroica category. NOVA is Eroica’s forray into modern gravel racing, and this year’s race will be the second ever internationally. We’re hosting NOVA on the same day as the Classic vintage event, and since the 135km Classic and 155km NOVA routes are near identical, and set off only 30 minutes apart, vintage bikes and modern gravel bikes will square up ascending Ouberg Pass and beyond. It should make for an interesting day out. The NOVA race will follow an enduro style format, with four timed segments of about 40km in total. That means it’s not all out racing all the way, giving riders the opportunity to take in the landscape, make the most of the food stops, and share a bit of camaraderie on the road.

 

Eroica South Africa 19.jpg
Possible everyone’s favorite stop - Nic and his roving Le Turbo / Deale & Huth kombi, handing out wine, fresh bread, fruit, salami. He made a few days out there in the dust.

 

And if all this sounds like too much hard work, come and ride the 45km or 90km routes. The 45km is easy enough for any novice to complete, so even if you’re totally unprepared you’ll still make it. And besides - there is a very special brandy stop half way that should fortify you for the return journey. The 90km route includes a section into the beautiful Baden areas, where you can have a swim at the furthest point. Here you might run into the tail end of the NOVA race category - give them an Eroica salute if you do!

 

 

Eroica South Africa 1.jpg
Our dear Luciano Berruti, for many the face of Eroica, passed away last year. We were very fortunate to have him at our very first Eroica South Africa.
Eroica South Africa 2.jpg
This is Luciano's 1904 Peugeot that he rode many Eroicas on. Some years after he acquired it he discovered thumbtacks hidden in the handlebars - part of a previous owner’s race tactics no doubt.
Eroica South Africa 3.jpg
Eroica isn’t only about old bikes - our Eroica Festival entertains the whole family with good food and live music.
Eroica South Africa 4.jpg
Yes, that’s an empty grappa bottle. At registration. Eroica knows how to have a good time.
Eroica South Africa 7.jpg
Riding with no saddle. Eroica is about brotherhood, and there was a rider all the way from Spain whose seat post broke in the first few kilometres of the 90km...
Eroica South Africa 8.jpg
The ‘Talana Pad’, as it is locally known.
Eroica South Africa 9.jpg
At the much-anticipated Kingna Distillery stop, riders cue up for refreshments.
Eroica South Africa 10.jpg
Brandy breakfasts.
Eroica South Africa 11.jpg
Luciano’s 1904 Peugeot had one gear, wooden rims with tubular tyres, and one legendary pilot.
Eroica South Africa 12.jpg
The day has loads of time to look around, wait for friends to catch up, and take in the beautiful landscape.
Eroica South Africa 14.jpg
The official Hansom support vehicle.
Eroica South Africa 15.jpg
High fives on the road!
Eroica South Africa 16.jpg
Luciano was a kind and gentle soul, with a great interest in humanity. He always made time to stop and chat with anyone, anywhere. We will miss him.
Eroica South Africa 17.jpg
Luciano enjoying the local dancers at our Eroica Festival.
Eroica South Africa 18.jpg
Bregan looking the part, in a woolen jersey and a musette over the shoulder.
Eroica South Africa 20.jpg
A bit of portage and then a swim.
Eroica South Africa 21.jpg
When you don’t have a spoon for the olive tapenade, a spanner will do.

 






10 Comments

Comments

Mongoose!, Feb 13 2018 07:44

Need a vintage bike
This race is on my bucket list!

braailegend, Feb 13 2018 07:50

Need a vintage bike
This race is on my bucket list!

Selling my South African vintage bike :ph34r: 

https://www.bikehub....h-african-made/

Mongoose!, Feb 13 2018 08:38

Selling my South African vintage bike :ph34r: 
https://www.bikehub....h-african-made/


too small ....hahaha

J∆kk∆ls, Feb 13 2018 05:26

I am sad not to have ridden this event in South Africa. I will aim to ride in Italia October this year. 

R.I.P Luciano you legend. 

https://www.eroicagaiole.com/

DJR, Feb 15 2018 01:55

Going to pick up the old Alpina frame from Bogus later this pm.......then Ds' 2018 Eroica build can start. 

Pall Catt, Feb 16 2018 09:30

Maybe just a tad over the top hipster?

Stan Engelbrecht, Feb 19 2018 01:36

Going to pick up the old Alpina frame from Bogus later this pm.......then Ds' 2018 Eroica build can start. 

See you in Montagu!

Stan Engelbrecht, Feb 19 2018 01:44

Maybe just a tad over the top hipster?

Hi Pall. I'd have to totally disagree with you. None of us are doing this because we think it's 'cool' or because we're seeking approval from anyone. Most of the people I've met through my interest in old bicycles are truly and genuinely dedicated to their interest and love for the history of the sport and the equipment. Trust me, we have a very well-rounded and diverse group who attend Eroica, many of them predating hipsterdom by decades. Don't be so quick to shoot it down, rather come join us and see for yourself - I promise you'll have a good time. 

DJR, Feb 19 2018 02:04

I have to agree with Stan on the amazing diversity. It was a more diverse crowd than I've encountered at any other cycling get together.

 

From my 2 teenage boys, one riding his great grandfathers 1930s bike, to a guy who showed up riding the same bike he rode the Rapport tour on, thirty something years ago, wearing the same cycling kit, to old bikes full of rust, to perfectly restored machines, to cheap as chips locally made bikes, to Italian racing treasures, women, men, young ones, old ones, tattooed ones, bearded ones, gray heads, hairy dudes, shaved legs, single speeds, Saffas, Italians, Japanese, Germans, Dutchmen, bike collectors, 3 bike mechanics, a language professor (chatted to last time), Hubbers (whole bunch of), a frame builder, a dentist, a marine biology professor, students, hipsters (a couple), Stan The Man, and a few crazy tough oddballs as well.    

lechatnoir, Feb 19 2018 02:40

Maybe just a tad over the top hipster?

 

No hipsterdom here. Entered the Nova. Carbon's going to be under duct tape, but I assure you, Eroica spirit will be used to power each and every pedal stroke. Can't wait...