Eroica is back!

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.

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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!



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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.
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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.
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Eroica isn’t only about old bikes - our Eroica Festival entertains the whole family with good food and live music.
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Yes, that’s an empty grappa bottle. At registration. Eroica knows how to have a good time.
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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...
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The ‘Talana Pad’, as it is locally known.
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At the much-anticipated Kingna Distillery stop, riders cue up for refreshments.
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Brandy breakfasts.
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Luciano’s 1904 Peugeot had one gear, wooden rims with tubular tyres, and one legendary pilot.
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The day has loads of time to look around, wait for friends to catch up, and take in the beautiful landscape.
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The official Hansom support vehicle.
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High fives on the road!
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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.
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Luciano enjoying the local dancers at our Eroica Festival.
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Bregan looking the part, in a woolen jersey and a musette over the shoulder.
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A bit of portage and then a swim.
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When you don’t have a spoon for the olive tapenade, a spanner will do.



Mongoose!, Feb 13 2018 07:44

Need a vintage bike
This race is on my bucket list!

braailegend, Feb 13 2018 07:50

Need a vintage bike
This race is on my bucket list!

Selling my South African vintage bike :ph34r: 


Mongoose!, Feb 13 2018 08:38

Selling my South African vintage bike :ph34r: 

too small ....hahaha

J∆kk∆ls, Feb 13 2018 05:26

I am sad not to have ridden this event in South Africa. I will aim to ride in Italia October this year. 

R.I.P Luciano you legend.

DJR, Feb 15 2018 01:55

Going to pick up the old Alpina frame from Bogus later this pm.......then Ds' 2018 Eroica build can start. 

Pall Catt, Feb 16 2018 09:30

Maybe just a tad over the top hipster?

Stan Engelbrecht, Feb 19 2018 01:36

Going to pick up the old Alpina frame from Bogus later this pm.......then Ds' 2018 Eroica build can start. 

See you in Montagu!

Stan Engelbrecht, Feb 19 2018 01:44

Maybe just a tad over the top hipster?

Hi Pall. I'd have to totally disagree with you. None of us are doing this because we think it's 'cool' or because we're seeking approval from anyone. Most of the people I've met through my interest in old bicycles are truly and genuinely dedicated to their interest and love for the history of the sport and the equipment. Trust me, we have a very well-rounded and diverse group who attend Eroica, many of them predating hipsterdom by decades. Don't be so quick to shoot it down, rather come join us and see for yourself - I promise you'll have a good time. 

DJR, Feb 19 2018 02:04

I have to agree with Stan on the amazing diversity. It was a more diverse crowd than I've encountered at any other cycling get together.


From my 2 teenage boys, one riding his great grandfathers 1930s bike, to a guy who showed up riding the same bike he rode the Rapport tour on, thirty something years ago, wearing the same cycling kit, to old bikes full of rust, to perfectly restored machines, to cheap as chips locally made bikes, to Italian racing treasures, women, men, young ones, old ones, tattooed ones, bearded ones, gray heads, hairy dudes, shaved legs, single speeds, Saffas, Italians, Japanese, Germans, Dutchmen, bike collectors, 3 bike mechanics, a language professor (chatted to last time), Hubbers (whole bunch of), a frame builder, a dentist, a marine biology professor, students, hipsters (a couple), Stan The Man, and a few crazy tough oddballs as well.    

lechatnoir, Feb 19 2018 02:40

Maybe just a tad over the top hipster?


No hipsterdom here. Entered the Nova. Carbon's going to be under duct tape, but I assure you, Eroica spirit will be used to power each and every pedal stroke. Can't wait...

J∆kk∆ls, Feb 22 2018 08:35

Wow wow wow, how about a pair of these for a vintage bike!



J∆kk∆ls, Feb 22 2018 08:37

Maybe just a tad over the top hipster?

Hipsters don't have what it takes for this event!

Eppie, Feb 22 2018 10:51

This will be the third Eroica SA for my boet and I. Best fun for two very "unhipster" old dudes.

Loose cog, Feb 23 2018 08:12

Hipsters are welcome. They have great taste in old bikes and know the difference between their Merlo and Cabs!

Looking forward to next month.

J∆kk∆ls, Feb 23 2018 08:29

Hipsters are welcome. They have great taste in old bikes and know the difference between their Merlo and Cabs!

Looking forward to next month.

I revert my comment about hipsters, as they do make up 50% of my inner circle. I wish everybody success on the day, and may y'all keep it rubber side down! 

DJR, Mar 14 2018 06:21

Just got Daniels Eroica ride back from Woodstock Cycle Works. He is super stoked with the Orange Explosion! Now really getting excited and looking forward to the coming weekend!   :thumbup:

DJR, Mar 19 2018 10:24

So, how was team DJRs' Eroica SA 2018 outing? FANTASTIC! That's how!


But first, the "team" bikes:


Daniel decided to restore his old Alpina specially for this years Eroica, added a little modern twist, and with the help of Bogus and Woodstock Cycle Works, he now has what is without a doubt the brightest bipolar bike on the planet. I think it will be visible from space and was christened The Orange Explosion! Guess what is Ds favourite colour!


(I'll post more on the project in the Retro Bike thread later.) 

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DJR, Mar 19 2018 10:37

David rode his Lejeune, fresh from daily commute duties. He enjoyed it so much lately that he is thinking of getting rid of his modern Giant road bike altogether and to ride everything on the Lejeune. 


I rode my old faithful, the Colnago Bititan. I only swapped the Shamals for the more sturdy Ambrosio wheels and 25mm tyres. That's also where I made the one serious mistake: I forgot to switch the cassettes as well.......and ended up riding a 21 tooth big cog at the back......on the climbs it is murder on the lungs and death to old knees!  

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Skubarra, Mar 19 2018 10:42

Went camping near Montagu this weekend. On our way there on Friday an old omie on an old bike almost got himself ridden over by me as he was struggling to stay on his bike swerving all over the road....


Was wondering if there was something cycling related going on at Montagu.... 

DJR, Mar 19 2018 10:43

The start of the 90 km ride. (The other distances were 135 km Eroica Classic, 155 km Eroica Nuovo, 45 km) 

I particularly love the Escapados jersey. This year definitely showed a growth in numbers, but the friendly atmosphere was as great as ever! (Please, everyone who rode the other distances, add pictures and stories.)

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BikeHub Plus, Mar 19 2018 10:44

..............damn i really need to get my act together next year

DJR, Mar 19 2018 10:47

Soon enough we were on our way out of town on a short tar stretch. I noticed that the young Ds were quite happy to sit in my slipstream. I let them, because I knew what was waiting in the second half of the ride, and they didn't! 

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DJR, Mar 19 2018 10:51

Breakfast stop at the Kingna Distillery. The bacon & egg burger saved Davids' life, I think. I tasted a little snippit of their brandy! (Before 10am, I know, I know!) 

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DJR, Mar 19 2018 10:55

A fast tar section took us back to Montagu for an early lunch vetkoek with cheese & jam! By this time the youngsters were thinking that it was an easy ride. What with half of the distance behind us, and nobody even feeling a little tired........I made them work upfront to get them back to reality!

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DJR, Mar 19 2018 11:01

Then we were back on the dirt again, it got progressively rougher. David had 2 punctures in quick succession. But no problem, because we had 3 spare tubes between us! Teamwork had us going in no time at all. I hope we looked professional because the film crew descended on us at our worst hour (up to then.......)! It is amazing how a camera lens can cause your fingers to go stupid and make you fumble like a newby!

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