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/