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  1. I often get “I thought Eroica was only for vintage bicycles?” … well you’d be correct that Eroica has always been about celebrating vintage cycling culture and the ways things used to be. But Eroica also looks to the future, and just like those early racers took their road bikes to gravel when they had to, so we do it now on our modern gravel bikes so many years later. NOVA is Eroica’s answer to how modern cycling can be invited to the vintage fold. Come race your modern gravel bike at NOVA Eroica! Click here to view the article
  2. I often get “I thought Eroica was only for vintage bicycles?” … well you’d be correct that Eroica has always been about celebrating vintage cycling culture and the ways things used to be. But Eroica also looks to the future, and just like those early racers took their road bikes to gravel when they had to, so we do it now on our modern gravel bikes so many years later. NOVA is Eroica’s answer to how modern cycling can be invited to the vintage fold. Come race your modern gravel bike at NOVA Eroica! Callum cresting the infamous Ouberg Pass climb. A hard climb on any day. The NOVA in South Africa is on the same day as the Classic Eroica ride, and shares the same emphasis on good fresh local food stops and the social aspect of the ride. And this is where the nice part comes in - NOVA is a race, but there are only four clearly marked timed racing sections along the approximately 90km route. Each racer will have a detailed map marked with the route, the Strava segments, food pick-up stops, picnic spots, view points and a secret swim spot or two. This means that you can plan ahead to make your day as laid back, or challenging as possible. Go hard in the race sections, and spend the rest of the day hanging out, drinking beer, swimming, and enjoying the view, all along the magnificent route. The tar section down the Koo can be fast and sketchy. For 2021 the NOVA route will be a little shorter than before, but judging by how many riders the original 150km route destroyed in previous years, I’m sure some will welcome the new 90km distance. The old 150km goes up the infamous Ouberg Pass and then turns north towards Touwsrivier, then west towards the top of the Koo valley for a long fast drop down the tar back to Montagu - but not before a quick sojourn into the Baden area for a last race section. In previous years this route was hard on riders. The northern most sections are very remote, and extreme heat and wind can make a tough day into a serious challenge. The semi-desert of the Karoo. But for 2021 we’ve got our new 90km NOVA route - almost no tar, and with more technical sections. And, after some negotiations with local farmers, riders will have the opportunity to traverse some truly spectacular sections on private land. These are rich and storied roads, and even though you might only be about 15km as the crow flies from Montagu at times, it feels like time has stopped in some of these valleys. Occasionally a mechanical is a good excuse for a break. Each rider will be required to have Strava installed on their smartphones to enable us to compare their racing segment times at the end of the day. There are four clearly marked racing sections, each about 7km in distance, and the end of the last segment is a portage up the back of the dam wall of the Pietersfontein Dam for a compulsory NOVA-selfie, to be posted to your ride on Strava. Once you’re on top of the dam wall your race is over, and you can scramble down to the water for a well deserved swim, or head back to the Groenland rest stop for a couple of John’s famous gin-coolers. Never make the mistake of looking back if you haven't reached the top yet! With everything we’ve been through in the last year I’m sure you’re also looking forward to get back to some kind of normalcy. But we have also made sure that Eroica this year is planned with everyone's safety in mind. From the informal start - whenever you want from 07:00 to 10:00 - to the open spaces at our food and drink stops, we’re giving everyone the opportunity to make their Eroica 2021 their own event, and engage with others on a level they feel comfortable. Missing the days of social interactions like these. So come join us for NOVA Eroica 2021! Remember the NOVA will share the route with all the Classic riders too, so come check out some beautiful vintage bikes, and maybe even race someone on an old steel racing steed up a hill! It’s time to make some new memories, and to share adventure again … it’s been too long! Respite from the heat! Tech. Hey Joe provided the beer! Feel the heat. The Troyeville Flamingoes from JHB. Don’t be fooled - tough birds. Smiles and thumbs up! Until … Lynnae and her super-cool retro-modern gravel built. These views. Race face. It never looks very steep on camera. Looking done at the first rest stop! When you see Poppie leading you in you know there will be roosterbrood! Old meets new. Real food at Eroica! The 2018 NOVA winner, Jean Biermans, almost didn’t finish after his derailleur went into his wheel. But in true Eroica spirit he quickly converted to singlespeed. Back on the road - smooth single-speed sailing. Every Eroica rider and NOVA racer receives a route map that must be stamped at every checkpoint. The NOVA race segments are recorded on Strava - if you complete all four segments the fastest, you win. NOVA winner in 2018 - Jean Beirmans! Smile or grimace? Views and views. If you remember to look up. Long way to go. Philip feeling the heat. Finisher! To enter, or for more information, please visit https://eroica.cc/en/nova-south-africa
  3. Hi - as you can see from the attached picture, I have now collected 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and now 2021 EROICA posters, which means I a missing just....ONE poster....that being the 2016 poster... So, an earnest request if anyone can find me one, pretty much any condition is acceptable, and I will HAPPILY swap some BEER for the poster, or what you need! thanks! Chris 072 211 7725
  4. Download attachment: _1 LEAD IMAGE_9220.jpg Eroica South Africa 2020 was the event that almost didn’t happen. However, we managed to just scrape through before Cyril announced our major national lockdown. But, we’re very happy to say, we are back for 2021! Despite all the challenges this past year has brought, we think it’s time that we get back on the bike again. Perhaps it was during lockdown that you finally decided to fix up that steel frame gathering dust in the back of the garage that you inherited from your grandfather. Or maybe you spent the months scouring the internet for your first vintage bike - bravo! Now is the time to ride. Click here to view the article
  5. What a rowdy bunch of vintage bike buffs. Riders first, collectors second. If you’re still unsure of what I am talking about, Eroica is an Italian event brought to South Africa to celebrate all that vintage cycling culture has to offer. Imagine the greats; Coppi, Bartali, Merckx and Moser riding their Bianchi, Colnago and namesake steeds along dirt roads in wool jerseys, grabbing torn pieces of baguette from roadside stalls and glugging down lunch with red wine; a 1960s Citroen broom wagon bringing up the rear, and you start to get the picture. Eroica is not a race though. It offers it’s riders a chance to spend time with their wonderful machines, on beautiful roads, in good company. The Baden and Pietersfontein areas are spectacularly beautiful, and so close to the little town of Montagu. We are lucky to have access to these wonderful locations for Eroica South Africa. Eroica South Africa 2020 was by far the biggest turnout we have had, with over 220 riders all coming together for the love of vintage cycling. The impressive turnout brought local enthusiasts from across the country together in the quaint Karoo town of Montagu. For 2021 we will again call Montagu home and, although things may be a little different this year we know that it will be a weekend where old friends can meet again and new friendships will be forged by steel, dust and a drink or two. This year we have adjusted the Eroica format slightly having to take into account the constantly changing rules and regulations for events. We want to make it a weekend that will give everyone the freedom to enjoy their vintage machines on the Karoo roads in true Eroica spirit, while also allowing for the distancing that only those very open roads can provide. For 2021, Classic and NOVA riders will leave from the historic Montagu Country Hotel with a casual start between 7am and 10am, and make their way towards the Baden, Pietersfontein and Krakadouw areas. For the Classic riders there will be a variety of ‘choose your own adventure’ routes to pick from. That means you can ride anything from 38km to 89km. A detailed map of the area will lay out all the possible routes you can take with clearly marked intersections, lunch stops, picnic spots and a swimming hole or two. The grassy hills of our main rest stop at Groenland will be the first welcome break. Those of you who joined us in 2020 will fondly remember John and Salma who know how to pour a mean pomegranate juice spiked with gin! From there, you and your compagni can choose to hustle up the steep climb towards Pietersfontein; push through for the longer and rougher remote loops; or ramble on towards our second stop at Two Dam for a cold beer and fresh trout sandwich. Our rest stops will provide packed breakfast, lunch and treats for you to pick up and enjoy wherever you choose - under a tree, on the grassy slopes under an umbrella, or on the road. The focus for this year will be on the pure enjoyment of spending a day out on your bike. Good fresh local food is the order of the day at Eroica South Africa. No energy gels in sight. We always work with locals to bring something special to the rest stops, like these delicious trout sandwiches prepared for us at Two Dam Sustainable trout farm. We all know just how challenging the last year has been on so many fronts. The importance of camaraderie and the freedom our steely companions can bring is something we might have taken for granted before. We hope that you can find that again in Eroica 2021. To enter, or for more information, please visit https://eroica.cc/en/south-africa Every year Eroica gets involved in sponsoring riders that may not have an opportunity to do a ride this. Our community is inclusive, and we want to introduce everyone to the most beautiful sport. A big part of the Eroica experience is finding your perfect vintage ride, and perfecting the mix of components and accessories to truly make it yours. When you think of vintage bikes you may think of stuffy old grandfathers, but Eroica South Africa prides itself in having a diverse group of bicycle enthusiast of all ages. Follow your map and get it stamped at every checkpoint. The routes are beautiful but challenging, especially on a 35-year-old steel road bike - stay on track! When it all comes together. Repairing a roadside puncture is part of the adventure. Vintage enthusiasts come to Montagu for Eroica from far and wide, like Elmo from Polokwane and Eric from Durban. For some of them it’s the only time during the year they see each other. Eroica is definitely about more than vintage bikes - your whole outfit has to be on point! Some local brands like Finni are even producing retro-style cycling kit for the growing community of vintage steel bike enthusiasts. Odon deep in concentration during the morning map briefing. Marco is a regular at Eroica and truly embodies the Eroica spirit - never give up! Every year we get a growing number of international riders too. Claus from Denmark comes to Eroica South Africa every year. Considering the current state of the world we hope he will be able to make it this year. Deale & Huth and DeSoto. This beautiful DeSoto belongs to the Montagu Country Hotel, and every year PJ leads out the Eroica start group in style to the edge of town. Here we go! Out of town and onto the gravel! Big smiles all ‘round. I can think of worse places to get a puncture. And Olivia seems to have it under control. Raoul brings a modern aspect to vintage gravel riding. Vistas for days. But the climbs are real. Arriving at Groenland Farm, a beautiful oasis run by John and Salma. They created the most incredible rest stop that it was hard to drag yourself away from. Swimming, great food and strong gin coolers kept everyone here for ages. Matt Ferguson and David Malan working those gravel inclines. What would an event like Eroica be without a beer sponsor - we love you Hey Joe! Coffee and fresh cold peaches - Eroica fuel. Eroica is not a race. The idea is to explore, take in the views, and make some memories. The pain is all part of the pleasure. And there is always a rest stop nearby filled with friendly faces willing to lend a hand. Or at least pass you a cold beer. This place will stay with you. To enter, or for more information, please visit https://eroica.cc/en/south-africa
  6. Hi - as you can see from the attached picture, I have now collected 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and now 2021 EROICA posters, which mean i a missing just....ONE poster....that being the 2016 poster... So, an earnest request if anyone can find me one, pretty much any condition is acceptable, and I will HAPPILY swap some BEER for the poster, or what you need! thanks! Chris
  7. 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. 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. 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. 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! Find out more about Eroica South Africa here. 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. 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 isn’t only about old bikes - our Eroica Festival entertains the whole family with good food and live music. Yes, that’s an empty grappa bottle. At registration. Eroica knows how to have a good time. 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... The ‘Talana Pad’, as it is locally known. At the much-anticipated Kingna Distillery stop, riders cue up for refreshments. Brandy breakfasts. Luciano’s 1904 Peugeot had one gear, wooden rims with tubular tyres, and one legendary pilot. The day has loads of time to look around, wait for friends to catch up, and take in the beautiful landscape. The official Hansom support vehicle. High fives on the road! 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. Luciano enjoying the local dancers at our Eroica Festival. Bregan looking the part, in a woolen jersey and a musette over the shoulder. A bit of portage and then a swim. When you don’t have a spoon for the olive tapenade, a spanner will do. Need to find a suitable vintage bike?Browse the vintage bikes for sale in our Classifieds section.
  8. 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. Click here to view the article
  9. The Cycling Gods were smiling upon me. They could’ve been laughing; it was hard to tell. But there, among the hoard of bicycles at Woodstock Cycleworks was this beautiful blue Colnago Super. Nils Hansen, the establishment’s owner was smiling too. Possibly laughing as well. Like those deities above, he too knew there was no way I was going to resist it … my path to vintage bike ownership had been smoothed, prepared and practically ordained. It began with the 2012 Singlespeed Mountain Bike World Champs held for the first time in South Africa. I was to do a piece for Red Bull’s mag on what this fringe element event in Winterton KZN was all about and needed a suitable bike. My carbon dual susser was clearly not eligible. Thanks to my good mate Matthew De Jongh, I was soon uncrating a black Cotic Simple – a steel-framed, fully rigid singlespeed 29er – that changed the way I approached cycling from that moment on. I never rode that dual susser again – not once – and a series of steel Cotic singlespeeds and gravel bikes became my go-to off-road machines. A GT carbon road bike was also jettisoned, choosing the Cotic Escapade gravel bike for road use. Although heavier than their carbon cousins, these steel bikes were far more forgiving and comfortable; and tougher too. Compared to what my mates were forking out maintaining their fragile investments, my bills were minuscule. Oh, how they loved hearing me point that out. Yes, by now I was a card-carrying steel-frame advocate. It’s a lot like being a vegan or a cross-fitter – a condition best illustrated by the joke: “How do you know if someone’s a vegan?” Answer: “They tell you.” Then I did the inaugural 2016 Eroica South Africa … and my steel-frame advocacy morphed into the practically evangelical. Again, a feature article was the motivation, this time for the UK’s Cyclist magazine. Nils loaned me an old brown Peugeot Rapport, I had a 1967 Team Peugeot replica jersey made (just like Eddy’s), left my helmet at home, fastened myself into old school toe-strap pedals … and completed the most memorable cycling race I’ve ever done. It was like coming home. I’ve long had an appreciation for vintage, owning classic cars and collecting vintage watches, and here was cycling’s equivalent. I’d found my people. Milling about at race registration were a myriad cyclists in old woollen jerseys, leather-soled, lace-up cycling shoes and the most beautiful array of road bicycles you can imagine. Locally made vintage Peugeots, Le Jeunes, Alpinas, Du Toits and Zinis, alongside Bianchis, Cinellis, Gios, De Rosas, Tommasinis and, of course, Colnagos. There’s something about a vintage steel frame road bike. That classic geometry – the horizontal top tube, quill stem, chrome detailing – just looks right. It’s a purity of design that makes modern bikes seem overly fussy and complicated … like those old frame builders had distilled the essence of what a racing bike was all about and modern brands are just dicking with the formula on instructions from the marketing department. And then there’s the ride. Yes, there is more flex in the frame and wheels – especially when you’re out the saddle and upping the wattage – but if you’ve never ridden one before, you’ll be astounded by how much more comfortable they are. You learn to ride them in a different way too. Too much side force isn’t what you want – throwing the bike from side to side with out-the-saddle power pedalling is not what they like. Keep the bike up-right and exert force in a more straight-up-and down linear way gets the best result. Watch old videos of Eddy climbing – he’s rarely out the saddle, and when he is, the bike doesn’t sway about much. On the descents, they can be just as quick as their modern equivalents, though they do require more of a sure hand. Like old sports cars, they get grumpy when unsettled mid corner. Sit up half-way through with your hand squeezing the brake lever and you’ll feel that flex wanting to high-side you out the saddle. Obviously, braking ability is nothing like modern rim brakes and an aeon away from discs, but again, brake a little earlier, commit to your line, turn in smoothly, and you’ll be just as quick. This isn’t point-and-squirt stuff. We’re talking finesse and feel here. Vintage machinery aside, the Eroica event itself is something very special. There are three distances – 45km, 90km and 135km (plus a new 155 km race for modern gravel bikes) loops that use the Western Cape town of Montagu as a base. And it’s not a race, but more a celebration of cycling. There’s a stop at the Kingna Distillery to sample their craft brandy and water points where wine, toasted bruschetta and olives invite one to chill the hell out and take in the beautiful scenery you’re cycling through. This is where the Cycling Gods live. And it’s why I had no choice but to buy that old Colnago. For more information, visit the Eroica South Africa website: https://eroicasouthafrica.com/ https://vimeo.com/306152324
  10. Writer and editor STEVE SMITH on why he rides a vintage steel road bike and will once again be heading to Montagu for Eroica South Africa. Click here to view the article
  11. In 3 weeks from now we’ll be in Montagu for our fourth Eroica South Africa - a celebration of vintage cycling culture, beautiful old bicycles, and good times. For those who are new to the concept, Eroica is an Italian event that pays homage to the cycling races of old. We ride old vintage steel road bikes on dirt roads, and we celebrate the cycling greats like Coppi and Bartali by dressing in vintage kit, and eschewing energy gels in favour of red wine and cheese. Eroica is not a race, rather a tough ride to reconnect ourselves with our beautiful sport, our marvellous machines and the landscapes we move through. Come enjoy a weekend of friendship and adventure on the edge of the Karoo in Montagu! Click here to view the article
  12. To keep things fresh for 2020 we have some new routes and fantastic food stops. Our shortest route is now a 35km jaunt into the Baden and Gewelkrans areas, with a wonderful food stop planned at Groenland Farm. The new 60km medium-distance route follows the 35km option, and from Groenland takes a tough loop through Patatsfontein to a special lunch stop at the furthest point, and back to Groenland through Pietersfontein. While this option might be shorter than previous years, it is tougher with more climbs, a few short portage sections, and some rutty roads. But well worth the adventure! Our Eroica Classic 135km route remains unchanged. For those who have undertaken this epic trek, you know what a remarkable and rewarding experience it is. The NOVA route for modern gravel bikes also remains the same, but it is now 5km shorter since it also visits the Groenland Farm stop. There is more to see at Eroica than beautiful vintage bicycles. Like with many collectors, interests overlap to create some fitting cobinations. This is how Tim Abbot traveled to Eroica in true vintage style. Class. As part of the weekend's events, we have a bicycle concourse, with prizes for best South African bicycle, best unrestored non-South African bicycle, best restored non-South African bicycle, and best bicycle on show. Here one of our foremost South African bicycle collectors Sven van Straaten on the right is judging with Giancarlo Brocci, the founder of Eroica (next to him). Amedeo, very knowledgeable when it comes to vintage steel himself, and I look on while the masters discuss... Eroica is not a race. But it's no funride either. It's a homage to a bygone era of riding that is hard to come by nowadays. Our routes are tough but rewarding, and there is something for every level of rider. The routes are marked out, and you're encouraged to stop and pull out your map from time to time. The idea is to experince the wildness and beauty of the Montagu area from the back of your bicycle, just like someone might have done 100 years ago. This was the start of the 135km Classic route, that follows the dirt roads out of Montagu towards the northeast, and up the gruesome Ouberg Pass. This is the route that every true Eroica enthusiast must ride at least once. It's remote and wild at it's furthest points, and a real achievement on a vintage steel road bike. Deon, one of the Basson brothers, is a fixture on the 135km route. This is early in the morning, just as riders are leaving Montagu, with the mean Ouberg Pass lying just ahead. But Deon isn't concerned - he's a hard man and he knows the pain and suffering of the next few hours will be rewarded when he crosses the finish line. Photographs can never capture the steepness of a road or the heat of the sun. Here a NOVA rider is making their way up Ouberg Pass - it's early but the temperatures were already soaring. NOVA is Eroica's race option for modern gravel bikes. The route is 150kms, and there are four racing sections of about 10km each. The rest of the time riders can enjoy the vistas, food stops and friends along the way. If you haven't heard the story - when Giancarlo, the founder of Eroica, met Poppie at Eroica in 2019 he was so touched by her life story, and so enjoyed her delicious 'roosterbrood', that he invited her to come to Eroica's main event in Gaiole, Italy. Poppie is from Laingsburg, where she is known for making her 'roosterbrood' on the side of the N1, and she had never left the Western Cape in her life. So last year she attended the original Eroica and made her fire-baked speciality for hunderds of riders. She was a huge hit in Italy, and it was a life-changing experience for her. All made possible by Giancarlo and Eroica - thank you guys! Next month you'll have a chance to meet Poppie, and hear firsthand about her experiences overseas. Come meet her at Eroica South Africa 2020! Eroica 2019 was struck by a bit of a heat wave - recording temperature around the mid-forties - but riders were undeterred and made the best of the food stops and farm dams. There is a huge social aspect to Eroica, and riders make a point of spending the whole day out on their bikes exploring the area and cramming as much fun into the day as possible. It's all about friendship and camaraderie. Eroica riders don't leave each other behind. We often get asked about riding road bikes on dirt roads, and the amount of potential punctures. To be honest there are very few thorns out there, and most punctures result from under-inflated tyres that lead to 'snakebites'. If you're a cyclist, you'll know the dreaded telltale twin punctures well. Getting a puncture or having a mechanical is all part of the experience. The challenge to 'make a plan' in the face of a setback is what it's all about. As you can see by this rider's 'tools', preparedness was only part of what he had on his mind. This is the toolkit of a man searching for adventure Eric, the other Basson brother, is well known on the vintage scene. He has an impressive growing collection of vintage bicycles, and he's a true rider. You can find him any day of the week out on one of his many bikes, putting in the kms. It's people like Eric who are the driving force behind our vintage cycling scene. Chapeau Eric! Amongst the vintage bicycles and riders there are some impressive modern machines and tough racers at the event taking on Eroica's answer to the modern gravel bike race - the NOVA Eroica. At 150kms with 4 x 10km timed racing segments, it's a good day out! Another higlight of Eroica South Africa is our official Italian-style dinner on Friday night. It's an opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and discuss the next day's rides. Montagu makes a huge effort to host Eroica , and this dinner is an example of their enthusiam and attention to detail when it comes to making us feel welcome. Early-morning mist hangs over the beautiful intersection of the Kingna, Kogman and Keisie rivers, also known as Montagu. Montagu is the home of Eroica South Africa, and with the spectaclar mountains around, fantastic gravel roads and hospitable townsfolk, we aim to keep it that way. Sipho was one of the handful of underprivileged riders we sponsor each year to come and discover vintage cycling, and the community, at Eroica. We’ll be doing the same for 2020, and if you’ll be riding, I urge you to consider also sposoring someone you might know who would not normally have the opportunity to do something like this. Who knows, by introducing them our sport, and this mode of transport, you may change their lives forever. Deon and Sipho, sweating side-by-side in the blazing Karoo sun. This is how life-long bonds between stangers are forged. Lynnae Endersby rode probably one of the coolest and craziest bikes in the NOVA catergory at last year's Eroica. She found a rusty old Peugeot frame that she noticed had good tyre cleance - a rare thing on old steel road bikes. She rescued the frame, cleaned it up, and built it up herself with a mix of modern parts. This Mad Max retro-furture gravel grinder turned heads and raised a few eyebrows, but what a great way to pay homage to the great steel frames of yesteryear. While the 135km route is the one for the true die-hard riders, the 60km route offers more of a social atmosphere. Don't think that it's not a challenging ride - there is lots of climbing, some portage sections, a river crossing, bad roads. You'll have your work cut out for you. Nic and Poppie's farm-dam foodstop on the medium-distance route was undoubtably the higlight of the day, and many riders spent ages there trying all the delicious snack options, drinking beers or wine, chatting and cooling off in the local farm dam. This is how we ride, Eroica-style. We enjoy life, talk bikes and make friends. Look the part! See you on the gravel at Eroica South Africa on 14 March 2020 in Montagu! For more information about Eroica South Africa and to enter, please visit https://eroica.cc/en/south-africa
  13. The Eroica Festival was originally launched as a celebration of Italian cycling culture of the ’30s and ’40s and ’50s. A time when cycling technology was still in its infancy. Good race nutrition included bread, soup, cheese and wine and a post-race cigarette or five was nothing out of the ordinary. It might have lacked some of the things we now consider important aspects of racing, but damn, it had style! With the original Eroica building on a tradition of exactly that style, classic bicycles, old school cycling kit and the spirit of a festival, NOVA Eroica was born to run alongside the classic cycling event in a very similar way, but as a serious race with an interesting format. As part of the festival, riders and spectators are transported to the classic era of cycling and from the moment they arrive in Montagu a different pace can be felt. Stepping into the old KWV distillery that hosts the festival for the weekend is like taking a step back in time - vintage collectors’ bicycles on display, upbeat but period-correct music playing somewhere and food stalls selling coffee, wine, cheese and dried fruit. At registration, you are met with friendly faces and riders of all ages and walks of life, with cycling a common thread. With registration, dinner and the well-known evening-before-faff all done, race day brings the familiar nerves and excitement. For some riders, a relaxed day out on classic bicycles and vintage kit awaits but if you’ve registered for NOVA Eroica and donned the red race number, you know it’s on! As the flag drops though, the pace is as relaxed as a group ride leaving the coffee shop on a Sunday morning, with racers being escorted out of town by local police and some beautiful classic cars. Therein lies the beauty of it all - this race happens in parts. A 155km route with four timed segments of approximately 10km each, and non-racing transfer sections in between, allowing even the most hardcore racers the opportunity to take in and enjoy the incredible beauty that Montagu and the Karoo have to offer. Racing segments include ear-popping climbs, long fast descents and flat open dirt roads where the wind and sun try to stake their claim - a challenge for even the hardiest cyclist. The beauty of this event though is that even if you don’t count yourself as one of those hardcore racers, you’ll still be able to enjoy the entire route without having to race too hard through the timed segments. And waterpoints? There are a few, but instead of grabbing a handful of energy gels and racing off, these are all in the transfer sections so you can take a seat or lie down while you stretch out your legs and enjoy some freshly made cheese and jam roosterkoek, biltong, dried fruit and other local treats. If you’re lucky enough you might even make it in time for a sip of something stronger before it’s all gone. The organisers have really managed to keep the great things we love about racing - from pre-race banter to lung-busting efforts, and the incredible reward of pushing yourself to the limit. But added are the best parts of long social rides, like taking in the scenery with your friends, going for a quick dip in a farm dam and sitting down for a mid-ride snack and a chat. A breath of fresh air in an otherwise stuffy racing scene, a truly enjoyable experience before, during and after. Type 1 fun indeed. NOVA Eroica is an event for modern gravel, all-road and cyclocross bicycles, and forms part of the Eroica South Africa vintage cycling culture festival on 16 March 2019 in Montagu. For more information visit www.eroicasouthafrica.com.
  14. But this also means that we need to ready ourselves for Eroica South Africa once again! Set aside the weekend on 16 March 2019, one week after the Cape Town Cycle Tour, and get yourself and your vintage road bike to Montagu. I’m happy to say that this will be our fourth Eroica on African soil, and from what I hear our event is causing quite a stir among those within the International community. Our long routes are tough and traverse some pretty remote landscapes. No mean feat for any vintage rider, but even more so for Europeans who see a little town or village every few kilometres on their usual ride. The great thing about the 135km route (and also our 155km NOVA route for modern gravel bicycles), is that you really get out there - a truly adventurous day in the saddle. But if you take on the 135km route the pain and suffering of grinding your vintage gearing up the infamous Ouberg Pass will be met with reward! After a few kilometres on the plateau, at a veritable oasis, at a roadside refreshment stop under a clutch of shady trees, riders will be fortified and readied to continue on. From there it’s a long isolated stretch until the tar, where the first faces you’ll see will be at the historic Oupa Batt se Winkel. They will feed you ‘braaivleis’, and send you on your way down one last epic descent and back to town. The long route is undoubtedly the one to go for - the real Eroica experience. And if you’ve come to Eroica South Africa before and have not ridden it, make this your goal. You have some time to prepare yourself. If the 135km is well and truly out of your reach, or you’re up for a more social day, then the 90km is the one for you. The 90km is the ‘party route’ - brandy at Kingna Distillery, back to town for beer breakfast, then off to Baden where you’ll meet Nic and his VW Kombi ‘Westerly’ at a pretty farm dam down in Pietersfontein for some special snacks, probably schnapps, wine and ‘kaalgat’ swimming! Now the 90km is not without its challenges - so don’t overdo it! And besides, one has to be reasonably fresh for the official Eroica dinner and our KWV venue in the evening. On the Friday afternoon, during registration, we’ll be hosting a vintage bicycle concourse, where the best, most beautiful and most lovingly cared for or restored bicycles will be judged and rewarded. On Saturday, we ride! We set off from 07:30 - the longest riders going first. This ensures that riders come in throughout the day, and have enough time to enjoy the Eroica Festival at the KWV venue. Around 17:00 we all disperse, go freshen up, and meet again at KWV for the official Eroica dinner around 19:00. The good people at Mimosa Hotel will prepare a fantastic authentic Italian meal for us, and we can enjoy some good wine, live music and great company into the night. On Sunday morning, we meet at the old Dutch Reformed Church for an unofficial ride around town followed by an informal breakfast at whichever restaurants we end up. A last chance to hang out, take some pictures, and say our farewells until Eroica South Africa 2020! For more information, visit the Eroica South Africa website: https://eroicasouthafrica.com/ Eroica South Africa has earned itself the reputation of having younger riders and being more inclusive, than the other International Eroica events. That is, of course, something to be proud of, but we need to do a lot more work to truly live up to that reputation. As some of you might know, we sponsored five underprivileged riders to come and discover vintage cycling, and the community, at our last event. We’ll be doing the same this year, and if you’ll be riding, I urge you to consider introducing someone you might know who would not have the opportunity to do something like this a chance to join us. If you think about it, an old steel bike and some vintage only needs to be as expensive as you’d like to make it. There are countless bargains out there, and one might give an underprivileged South African an introduction to not only a growing cycling community but also to perhaps the concept of using a bicycle as an everyday mode of transport. Who knows - you might show someone a magical weekend, or you may change their lives forever.
  15. Submit a picture of your coolest South African-built steel road bike to win an entry to Eroica South Africa. Show us your Hansom, Alpina, Du Toit, Le Jeune, or any of our many other historic South African bike brands. Click here to view the article
  16. To enter:Upload your photo as a comment here. The competition is only open to South Africans, and no cheating! We will choose the best photograph, and announce the winner here. Entries close at 8pm, Friday 10th March 2017.
  17. Of course our dusty Karoo roads are quite different from the ‘strade bianche’ around Gaiole in Italy where this now-famous event was born, but we do it in true African style. Eroica has a huge international following, with many enthusiasts trying to attend every single Eroica event around the world - from the original L’Eroica in Italy, to Spain, Japan, California in the States, Bakewell in the UK, and now South Africa! Paolo and his very rare Bianchi have been to many of them. Our Eroica South Africa routes are very unique, and quite possibly much tougher that the other Eroicas around the world. We have three routes to choose from - the 50km Kingna, 90km Kogman and the 140km Keisie, named after the three rivers that converge in the Montagu valley. Support! In true vintage style. Each riders receives some unique Eroica memorabilia, like this beautifully designed route map that gets stamped at each food stop. Wesley - the organiser of Eroica California - had a fantastic time here in South Africa. Eroica start-line style. Oh yeah. Remember to practise getting into your toe-clips to avoid any embarrassing start-line faux pas. Along the deceptively tough 140km Keisie route. Eroica is not without its challenges… make sure your vintage equipment is in good shape before you take on the gravel. Traguardo! We’re learning Italian on the finish line. Steel and gravel. Head on over to https://eroicasouthafrica.com soon and register - 18 March is fast approaching and we’d love to raise a glass of wine with you in Montagu!
  18. If you spent a bit of time digging around for a vintage bicycle part in South Africa, one name always comes up - Ron Thompson. The legend, the infamy, the stories. You’ll hear things like, “he’s got seven garages piled to the roof with old bikes”, “he’s got parts in there worth millions”, “he’s a grumpy old dude who won’t sell anything!” And if you heard that, it’s kinda true. I know, I’ve been there, I’ve tried to buy stuff. Yes, seven garages and then some, but not quite packed to the ceiling - for all the chaos in Ron’s storage, there is a bit of order and it’s easy to snoop around. Worth millions? Maybe, to the right market. But that market does not exist in South Africa, not yet anyway. Click here to view the article
  19. Over the years folks have gotten used to picking up dirt-cheap bargains, mostly from sellers who don’t know what they have. But that landscape is changing, and South Africans are getting wise to the value of these beautiful vintage machines. Ah, and the truest statement of all - he won’t sell anything! Well, no, that’s not true. Ron will sell you almost anything you might be interested in, but it won’t be easy. See, the thing is, he loves this stuff, he has a wealth of knowledge about it all, and he has spent years and years amassing his collection. You can hardly blame him for wanting to hold on. It would, after all, dissolve his legend if it all disappeared. We hear of these vintage-only cycling events start popping up. First the madness that is the Tour of Ara‬ - the 6-day all-gravel stage race open exclusively to South African-built steel frames only. Now Eroica is coming to South Africa! People are learning about vintage bikes, vintage parts, and all that goes with it. As you can imagine, Ron is in his element. His collection suddenly becomes the focus of such scrutiny and desire. He really has some unbelievable gems in there! And at the centre of it all - Saint Ron “Grumpy Dude” Thompson, surveying all that is his. All jokes aside, a few months ago in all the excitement of the possibility of Eroica coming to South Africa, I somehow convinced Ron to let me put up a small selection of his more affordable Eroica-legal bikes up for sale on the Internet. With little faith in the online classified format, it took a bit of doing to get him to take photographs and send all the vital information I needed. We got it done, and there are a few up on the Bike Hub. Check them out, or if you’re looking for something specific, look Ron up. He just might have what you’re searching for - just be ready for some serious negotiations! Thanks Ron! We salute you! About Eroica South Africa: Eroica South Africa is a celebration of road cycling culture - bring your classic racing bicycles, and come ride with us through the beautiful Karoo around the dirt roads North of Montagu in the Western Cape. Set aside the weekend of 23 April 2016 for bicycle-talk, lots of riding, wine-drinking, great food and music. Find our more on the website here.
  20. Since nice vintage kit is so hard to find, this is your chance to win a brand new Santini vintage-style jersey, to help you look the part for Eroica this April. For this competition, the rules are simple - the jersey is a Large, so if that’s your size, you’re eligible. And you need to be entered into Eroica South Africa already.To win, along with your Eroica registration number, upload favourite old black and white historical cycling photograph - it can be an early Giro mountain stage, a mud-caked Roubaix racer, or an image of Eddy lifting a trophy above his head in victory. It would be even better if it was an image depicting some South African cycling history, along with a little context if you can. Try and show us something we haven’t seen before, but captures the spirit of what cycling used to be about... To enter:Upload your photo as a comment below or in the discussion thread on Bike Hub Or upload it on Facebook including the hashtag #santinieroicajersey The competition is only open to South Africans, and no cheating! We will choose the best photograph, and announce the winner here on Friday 7 April, 2016. Thank you to Santini for this wonderful gift, and of course for still making such stylish cycling kit!Visit the Eroica South Africa website to find out more about the event.
  21. This is the next in a series of competitions we’re running leading up to our inaugural Eroica South Africa event. Click here to view the article
  22. This is the second in a series of competitions we’re running leading up to our inaugural Eroica South Africa event. This is your chance to win a very special limited edition L’Eroica Tuscany Team Professional saddle. Brooks, in collaboration with Eroica, only produced 1000 of these beautifully embossed saddles, and this one is number 337. Click here to view the article
  23. To win, send us an image of your Eroica South Africa racer, or build, and motivate why your bike would be the prefect candidate to be finished off with a L’Eroica Tuscany Team Professional saddle. To enter:Upload your photo as a comment below or in the discussion thread on Bike Hub Or upload it on Facebook including the hashtag #eroicabrooks337 The competition is only open to South Africans, and no cheating! We will select a winner, and announce it here. Entries close at 12pm, Thursday 17 March 2016. Thank you to Brooks for this wonderful gift, and of course for their commitment to vintage cycling - a Brooks saddle completes any vintage ride with style.
  24. This will be the first in a series of competitions we’re running leading up to our inaugural Eroica South Africa event. We know how sought after and hard-to-find these fantastic jerseys are, so we’re making a couple available as special prizes! Click here to view the article
  25. For this first competition, the rules are simple - the jersey is a Medium, so if that’s your size, you’re eligible. To win, you need to submit the coolest historic cycling photograph or yourself or a family member. It can be you when you got your first Western Flyer, your uncle when he raced in the 1976 Rapport Tour, or your mom in her 1980’s lycra at the start line of the Argus Cycle Tour. To enter:Upload your photo as a comment below or in the discussion thread on Bike Hub Or upload it on Facebook including the hashtag #eroicajersey The competition is only open to South Africans, and no cheating! We will choose the best photograph, and announce the winner here. Entries close at 12pm, Wednesday 2 March 2016. Thank you to Santini for this wonderful gift, and of course for still making such stylish cycling kit!Visit the Eroica South Africa website to find out more about the event.
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