The Cape Town Cycle Tour may be South Africa’s most iconic sporting event, but if one cycle tour simply isn’t enough for you in March 2018, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s another very special ride available to classic cycling enthusiasts – the Eroica South Africa, which will take place in Montagu in the Western Cape on March 17th.
Image: Eroica South Africa (eroicasouthafrica.com)
A celebration of Vintage Italian Road Cycling Culture, L’Eroica was first started in 1997 by Italian cycling enthusiast Giancarlo Brocci, who wanted to create a cycle tour that would reconnect cyclists with the classic cycling of the early 1900s, and help people “rediscover the beauty of fatigue and the thrill of the conquest” by cycling on a vintage bicycle, in vintage gear, along gravel roads!
Fast-forward some 20 years, and Eroica is now celebrated worldwide, with vintage cycling events in California in the United States, Punta del Este in Uruguay, Mount Fuji in Japan, La Rioja in Spain, Tuscany in Italy, the Peak District in England, Valkenburg in the Netherlands, and of course, the original L’Eroica in Chianti in Italy.
The first Eroica took place in South Africa in April 2016. Taking riders through the beautiful landscapes of Karoo and along the dirt roads north of Montagu, this spectacular 140km bike tour is not for the fainthearted, but it promises to be one of the most rewarding bike rides you are likely to participate in in 2018. Best of all, it will take place just 6-days after the iconic Cape Town Cycle Tour, and so international entrants can extend their stay and take part in two rides that highlight South Africa’ rich cycling history.
As with every Eroica, there are strict rules in place regarding your bike and your cycling attire, but some slight concessions have been made for the South African Eroica due to the lack of vintage bikes in the country. Here’s a brief overview of the rules:
BICYCLE: Only vintage steel road bikes, built in or before 1999, can enter the tour. Your bike must be fitted with down tube shifters, pedals with toe clips and straps, and all bikes must have their original components intact.
CLOTHING: When dressing for the Eroica South Africa, your clothing should match the approximate age of your bicycle. So, if your bikes a 1970s model, you should wear a 1970s style vintage kit, and so on. Wool jerseys, leather cycling shoes, and classic cycling caps and gloves are the order of the day, and modern technical clothing should be avoided at all costs.
EQUIPMENT: Participants should use aluminium water bottles, and wherever possible, period correct accessories such as pumps and patch kits. In the interest of safety, all riders are invited to wear helmets, vintage or modern. Find out more on the official website: eroicasouthafrica.com