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Eroica Britannia – can you ride a tandem?

June 21, 2017
June 21, 2017 - Eroica Britannia – can you ride a tandem?
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Inspired by Eroica Britannia 2016 and as rashly promised in our Eroica blog last year, David and I completed our challenge in style cycling the 25 mile route on our 1930’s tandem!

Having written my blog last year, recklessly thinking it would be fun to take part, even joking about cycling two up on a tandem, David got straight on ebay and within 2 days had purchased our vintage tandem – a real shock and surprise to me!

Eroica Britannia 2017For those who haven’t heard of Eroica Britannia before it is billed as ‘The World's Most Handsome Bike Ride’ and it certainly lived up to the claim, with over 4,500 riders taking part on vintage bicycles, many dressed in authentic costumes.

Luckily for me this non competitive cycle ride is not a race - it is as much about the fashion, the stunning Peak District scenery and the ice cream pit stops along the way, as it is about the cycling. As you can see we entered into the spirit of the occasion and donned our best bib and tucker!

A firm Festival favourite is the best in show competitions, from stylish outfits to the most impressive moustache - everyone entered into the spirit of the event.

Best in show


Penny Farthing To qualify for entry into Eroica Britannia all bikes have to be authentic, manufactured before 1986 and have shift gears on the bicycle frame, not the handlebars. These older bikes tend to have heavy frames and less gears than today’s modern bicycles, so therefore the hills are a little more challenging – one determined chap even completed the 25 mile route on a Penny Farthing which must have been a real bone shaker!

Riding a tandem is a little challenging to start with because you both have to synchronize movements as any wobbles from your partner can throw you off balance. Also the rear rider (often called the stoker!) has no control over speed or direction, which I found disconcerting to start with. David found that going downhill too fast hurt his ears – due to the loud squealing from behind!

Having got over the initial difficulties with many trips over the hill to the pub in Brassington, we soon mastered the tandem technique.

As you will see there were 3 routes to choose from. We thought with the steep Peak District hills that the 25 mile route was enough of a trial for us on our first official tandem outing. A good choice as ride day turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year!

Eroica ride routesAs we live so close to the Friden venue we decided to cycle to and from the Eroica event adding another 8 miles to our total ride. The most challenging section of the whole ride was getting there, dodging the hundreds of cyclists who had already set off along the High Peak Trail on the 55 mile event, going in the opposite direction to us! We also nearly lost our voices as everyone shouted greetings and good morning as they cycled past.

We set off at 9am with a group of other 25 milers, full of enthusiasm, with the sun shining and my red polka dot skirt flapping in the breeze. The great thing about a tandem is that just when one of you is beginning to give up the other one urges you on to keep going. With determination we managed to ride the whole way without having to dismount for the steep hills.  One of the toughest sections was pedaling up the long hill out of Monyash, which was made slightly harder as the climb came immediately after the lunch stop and we hadn’t got back into our rhythm.

cycling Peak District It was so much fun riding the tandem as people waved and cheered you on. It was  a fabulous feeling to cycle through the finish line to cheers and whistles from the gathered crowd.

The atmosphere was amazing with lots of Festival fun, from the fun fair for the children, to evening entertainment from ABC, and a fly past by a Hurricane Spitfire.

after the Eroica rideWould we do it again? YES - definitely a fantastic experience to complete the challenge.

However after our exhausting ride David was eagerly eyeing up an electric bike from Juicy Bikes - you would certainly breeze up the Peak District hills on one of their battery assisted bicycles.Juicy electric bikes

Everyone was so friendly and the festival atmosphere was fabulous with everyone comparing bikes and chatting about their experiences late into the evening. Of course the weather helped – not sure it would be quite so much fun in the rain!

Eroica cyclistWe were delighted to host two sets of guests for the weekend who were also taking part, which created a real Eroica spirit at Hoe Grange.

They were all more ambitious (and not riding tandems) so chose the longer 55 mile Eroica ride - a real challenge in the blistering heat.

If you fancy taking part next year why not book yourself a cabin here at Hoe Grange as a very handy base? I would suggest Daisybank or Pinder log cabins, as they both have hot tubs on the decking for soaking those aching limbs afterwards!

Felicity


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Hoe Grange Holidays Tripadvisor Comments...

  •   We love this place. Very wheelchair friendly, really well equipped and comfortable, with easy access by car to lots of places of interest particularly Crich Tramway Village, Chatsworth, Bakewell and... read more

    David H
    10/25/2019

      We spent four nights at Hoe Grange and had a lovely time. The location is fantastic and right next to the High Peak Trail. The cabin was very clean and... read more

    Big_Al_0000
    7/16/2019

      We stayed in the Skylark pod last October (2018) and had a lovely time. There was homemade, rustic goods (bread, biscuits etc) when we arrived. Felicity and David who run... read more

    KBarry
    9/15/2019
  •   We've just returned from our second visit to Hoe Grange. The suggested riding routes with stunning scenery were enjoyed by my daughter and I while the menfolk were delighted with... read more

    Jdrichie12
    7/11/2019

      We wanted a complete break and some peace and quiet and this was perfect. The caravan was secluded with beautiful views over the countryside. Everything was spotlessly clean and well... read more

    joanne B
    6/04/2019

      Recently spent a week in "Pinder" and had a lovely time. The location is stunning - the site is nestled in a beautiful valley on the edge of the Peaks... read more

    Peachey167
    7/16/2019
  •   For the second year running, we have had a great family holiday at Hoe Grange. We had one cabin for the week, for two sisters and our elderly wheelchair-using... read more

    EJYork2013
    6/25/2019

      Another great holiday at Hoe Grange - such a great place for us all to holiday as a family - this time with a baby, a 3 yr old, a... read more

    Thesamps
    10/04/2019

      We had a lovely time staying in one of the incredibly well equipped pods. I bought my pony along and we had some great rides on the high peak trail.... read more

    plopster1
    6/07/2019
  •   Loved every minute of our stay, and so did the family and friends that came to stay. Excellent facilities in our cosy Hipley log cabin. By far the best... read more

    krimpenijssel
    10/25/2019

      lovely surroundings real farm country with chickens paying you a visit nice decking area to chill at the end of the day accommodation very good plenty to do nearby... read more

    vincent s
    7/28/2019

      Arrived and was shown to our pod, fantastic location and the pod was very good indeed plus we had home made bread and milk and tea and coffee. A... read more

    mickvfr
    7/28/2019
  •   We have just returned from a short stay in one of the pods on site at Hoe Grange Holidays. We couldn’t recommend them enough. The pod has everything you could... read more

    Catboy86
    8/17/2019

      Second visit to the accessible holiday cabins at Hoe Grange. David and Felicity were as helpful and friendly as ever. We had a welcome pack of freshly baked bread, butter,... read more

    Charlotte M
    8/07/2019

      We stayed in Rainster cabin for a long weekend 6 th to 9 th September. This was my 5 th visit to the amazing Hoe Grange. I had visited before... read more

    Jan Horsman J
    9/17/2019
  •   Myself and my sister travelled to Costa Rica and Panama via Viva Holidays Ltd. The holiday was exceptional and one to be treasured forever. Andrew at Viva Holidays... read more

    Paula C
    7/04/2019

      What a lovely weekend away! We stayed in the lovely gypsy caravan, which was a wonderful and really unique experience. We took along our two horses, who also had a... read more

    rachelthomas2015
    6/18/2019

      We stayed in Pinder cabin and had a lovely stay, the cabin was spacious and comfortable, nice and warm after cold days out. The children loved meeting the animals and... read more

    Tiggywinkle15
    11/05/2019
  •   Lovely place to holiday near to interesting locations and easy access to the High Peak trail and Carsington Water. Part of a working farm with fresh produce to enjoy during... read more

    Angie B
    8/03/2019

      It's been three years since we last visited but once we arrived it certainly didn't feel like it!
    We stayed in Hipley again which had had a refurbished wet... read more

    ElizabethA717
    9/21/2019

      Stayed last week, from 6th to 13th September in the log cabin called Hipley. This was amazing, it was our first visit but certainly not our last. Gold standard disability... read more

    548julie
    9/14/2019
  •   What can I say?
    Absolutely superb!
    We have just returned from a family weekend staying in Daisybank cabin and the Skylark pod.
    It was our first trip away with my... read more

    Wheelieuser
    6/13/2019

      On arriving at Hoe Grange in a downpour, we doubted if we’d made the right decision to go glamping, but after the warm welcome from David and a quick tour,... read more

    karenmD4738KD
    6/25/2019

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