It is about the bike – l’Eroica Brittania
There are three types of people that take part in l’Eroica Brittanica – those that love bikes, those that love cycling and those that love bikes and cycling. This might sound strange to an outsider but the types are easy to identify. There is lots of overlap and grey areas between the groups and fortunately they all seem to get along, it is really all about the bike.
The first type is easy to spot; they will have a beautifully restored, pristine example of a classic piece cycling history. They can be seen walking thorough the concession area wheeling their pride and joy. They are not trying to be flash or ostentatious, it is just that they have spent a lot of time working on their pride and joy and now appreciate the chance to have some quality time with it.
If asked they will provide you with background history of their mount.
The owner of beautifully restored Carlton in these photographs is a perfect example of type one. The bike originally belonged to his father who was obviously a ‘tester’ judging by the stop watch clipped on the handlebars.
What is reassuring is that type one also has a life and a partner!
Type two you only really see on the route. They don’t really care if the Williams AB77 chainset is not period correct on a 1981 Raleigh. They are just happy to have either borrowed or cobbled together a bike that qualifies for the event and are now going to get the bike around the course. 46 x 21 bottom gear? Who cares they are there to get to the finish, eventually, and no hill is so steep that you can’t walk it.
Type three is much easier to spot. When you see them you can’t help thinking of the book ‘Third Police Man’ by Flann O’Brien. These people have spent a lot of time on their bike and there has obviously been some sort of exchange of molecules.
Just look at this stunning R.O. Harrison and owner and tell me I am wrong. This bike was built to last as is the owner. Incorporated in the frame is an ingenious chain lubricating system.
It also has a very early indexing system !
What more can I say about this mount, the pictures say it all…
Constrictor sprint wheels, Osgear gears.
Even the toe clips are works of art!
– Alec. Darragh