Pedal the Peaks

Pedal the Peaks

Chaps, get growing those handlebar moustaches, for this June Italy’s vintage bike race and festival is making its way to the UK for the very first time.

L’Eroica Britannia is all tweed caps and retro racing jerseys. There are rules, too. All bikes must be pre-1987 road racers with gear-shift levers on the down tube of the frame – so no fixies, hipsters! The Italians have, however, made a special exemption for Bromptons and Pashley Guvnors, in keeping with the ‘Britishness’ of the event.

The 30-, 55- and 100-mile race routes wind through the Peak District’s prettiest villages – including Bakewell, Beeley and Cromford – and woodland. All routes take riders along an old railway line and through its tunnels; the more gruelling rides go across the Chatsworth Estate, where Downton Abbey is filmed.

But you don’t have to ride to take part: go along for the jolly atmosphere and people-watching. There’s heaps of fun to be had, with live music at the band stand, fancy-burger vans and pop-up craft ale taverns, and 1940s tea dresses for sale.

L’Eroica Britannia takes place 20-22 June 2014. For more information, visit

Pictured: the River Wye, Peak District

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