Eroica South Africa is back! Dust off those Colnagos and Bianchis!

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Good fresh local food is the order of the day at Eroica South Africa. No energy gels in sight.
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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Follow your map and get it stamped at every checkpoint.

 

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The routes are beautiful but challenging, especially on a 35-year-old steel road bike - stay on track!

 

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When it all comes together.

 

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Repairing a roadside puncture is part of the adventure.

 

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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.

 

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Eroica is definitely about more than vintage bikes - your whole outfit has to be on point!
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Some local brands like Finni are even producing retro-style cycling kit for the growing community of vintage steel bike enthusiasts.

 

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Odon deep in concentration during the morning map briefing.

 

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Marco is a regular at Eroica and truly embodies the Eroica spirit - never give up!

 

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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.

 

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Deale & Huth and DeSoto.

 

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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.

 

DSC_8966.jpgHere we go!
DSC_9023.jpgOut of town and onto the gravel! Big smiles all ‘round.

 

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I can think of worse places to get a puncture. And Olivia seems to have it under control.

 

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Raoul brings a modern aspect to vintage gravel riding.

 

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Vistas for days.

 

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But the climbs are real.

 

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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.

 

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Matt Ferguson and David Malan working those gravel inclines.

 

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What would an event like Eroica be without a beer sponsor - we love you Hey Joe!

 

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Coffee and fresh cold peaches - Eroica fuel.

 

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Eroica is not a race. The idea is to explore, take in the views, and make some memories.

 

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The pain is all part of the pleasure.

 

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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.

 

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This place will stay with you.

 




6 Comments

Shebeen, Mar 04 2021 09:08

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh

BuffsVintageBikes, Mar 04 2021 09:13

This was without doubt the best cycling event I've ever attended. The missus and I had an absolutely suberb weekend in Montagu and we're booked and ready for 2021. May it be just as good as last years.

gummibear, Mar 09 2021 04:01

Awesome views.

Jovan, Mar 13 2021 09:58

Excellent look forward to doing it again!

Last time was a huge hassle getting the bike down to Montagu. Anyone know if there are courier options for Eroica?

Stan Engelbrecht, Mar 25 2021 04:01

Excellent look forward to doing it again!

Last time was a huge hassle getting the bike down to Montagu. Anyone know if there are courier options for Eroica?

Hi Jovan. No courier option I know about ... but where do you live? Maybe I can connect you to someone near you with a trailer etc. 

Zebra, Mar 25 2021 09:23

Excellent look forward to doing it again!
Last time was a huge hassle getting the bike down to Montagu. Anyone know if there are courier options for Eroica?

Jovan, last week TCG (The Courier Guy) couriered a bicycle for me, in a full sized (bicycle) cardboard box, from JHB to CT for R340 - odd rand, which I thought was reasonable. We do have an account with TCG, but I do not think this was a special price.

Cheers
Chris