“Becoming Eroici – Preparation for Heroes”
Wednesday, 22 February 2017

“Becoming Eroici – Preparation for Heroes”

by Laurence Fryer-Taylor 

With 10 worldwide Eroica events to look forward to in 2017, more people than ever will be taking part in their first heroic adventure. There are few events in the cycling calendar like the festivals of Eroica, which offer an unrivalled atmosphere alongside their great food and stunning routes.
At Steel Vintage Bikes, we have taken part in many of these incredible weekends and know exactly what to expect. With this in mind, we have put together a few tips to make your Eroica experience as enjoyable as possible.

From the first climb to last

It goes without saying that each Eroica festival has a unique feel. Perhaps you want to ride the Strade Bianche of Gaiole in Chianti, or maybe experience the incredible landscape of Mount Fuji at Eroica Eiyu? Consider what makes each Eroica so special and what would be the right event for you.
This also applies to the ride itself. It’s important to challenge yourself – of course, this is what makes Eroica so rewarding – but be realistic with what you can achieve. For example, if you’re a keen cyclist who has ridden 100km and above before, the longer rides are perfect. In contrast, some people might find the shorter rides a test – especially if these are entered in period clothing and on unusual vintage bicycles!
In either case, nothing can replace putting the distance in on your bike. Begin by working up to the distance of your chosen Eroica event on flat roads – for endurance – and attack the hills regularly as your fitness improves. Over time, this should strike the balance between endurance and intensity needed for the tough, mountainous roads of Eroica. Remember that regular, high-intensity rides are better than spread out low-intensity miles.

Equipment of the Artisan

Make sure you have a bicycle that is the right size for you and is Eroica appropriate. It’s important to get used to the position of your bicycle and how it feels on the road before the event to establish any small issues that might arise on the official ride (such as saddle height and handlebar position). Ensuring these are correct will make your experience much more comfortable and make you a more efficient rider.
In addition, a well-serviced classic bicycle will feel much smoother on the open road than an example with old cables and parts. The Steel Vintage Bikes official Eroica store features bicycles that have been expertly chosen, restored and serviced to the highest standards, so they deliver the best riding experience possible.
For all events, even the strongest riders should consider a larger cassette. The consistent nature of hills – some of which are very steep – can defeat many riders with narrow gear ratios. Details like this can really change how you perform on the special day!

Looking and riding the part

Part of the fun of Eroica is the effort participants go to in looking the part, from expertly groomed moustaches to refined woolen jerseys. Eroica represents an opportunity to reconnect with cycling’s past and identifying with this heritage not only through bicycles, but also vintage clothing.
Of course, these garments must fit well and perform at the highest level. Hence, SVB stock some of the finest Eroica-approved garments from the Italian brand Santini. Their high-quality cycling shorts, jerseys and jackets are made by some of the best designers in the industry, taking inspiration from the panache of riders from the golden era of cycling. 
However you decide to dress, ride and express yourself at Eroica, the sense of community and achievement are immensely satisfying – whatever route you decide to take. Arriving at the finish line, you are thrown back into the festival atmosphere to enjoy the culinary delights of the event and share in the adventure with other riders. In these conversations, it is not uncommon for you to begin planning your next Eroica already…