OldVelos vintage classic cycle weekend

 

OldVelos Vintage Classic cycle returns to the Waterford Greenway this August!  Join in this great Irish adventure!

OldVelos will once again be celebrating our great cycling heritage on the Waterford Greenway, on the weekend of 25 – 26 August 2018.   Based at Coach House Coffee in Kilmacthomas (Waterford, Ireland), this years exhibition of classic racing and road bikes will be bigger and better than last year and on the Sunday Alec and Brendan are expecting a big turnout for the OldVelos Vintage Classic cycle.

The free exhibition and Concours d’Elegance competition, sponsored by SRAM, Legacy Irish Cider and Metal Man Beer, will showcase the efforts of enthusiastic Irish and international rebuilders and restorers of classic bicycles. There will be awards for different categories with the overall winner taking home the prestigious and coveted Longford Tractor Spares Trophy.

Sunday’s OldVelos Vintage Classic cycle ride offers two routes:

The 25 mile Curraghmore Loop allows riders of classic bikes, roadsters and High Nellies to enjoy the magnificent facility that is the Waterford Greenway. The route includes a pit stop for coffee and buns at the historic Curraghmore Estate in Portlaw.

The Comeragh Loop offers 50 & 75 mile options. This route suitable for the more adventurous cyclists, will test the mettle (and metal!) of both rider and bike. Would-be racers will have the opportunity to ride on the very roads where Seán Kelly and Sam Bennett started their careers.

For more information on what promises to be a great weekend see www.oldvelos.com

Contact Brendan Hennessy 086-3824607 or Alec Darragh 086-8181800

 

Velo Retro Lake District vintage cycling weekend

 

Veto Retro 2018 is the 5th edition of the popular Lake District vintage cycling event which takes place over the weekend 13 – 15 July.  There are three different retro rides with something for everyone, whether you want to pedal around the lake eating cake or are looking for a mountain challenge.

Event Director Alan Brenton has announced a new route for 2018:

“We’re finding a growing demand for a more challenging route which visits the wilder places in the Lake District, at the same time, the growing popularity of the event means that we were keen to disperse riders more to reduce the impact on the local community.

The result is The Great Western, which at 123km + 2254m and a whole host of classic climbs promises to be a proper day out!”

Alan and Ali have created an authentic, friendly event based in the lovely market town of Ulverston in the South Lakes, and the community have really taken the event to heart. If you love spending time drinking, dancing, eating and riding with great people in a fantastic, authentic setting, this is definitely for you!

No bike, no problem. Glory Days Bikes will be providing a retro bike rental service for this event. Bikes can be collected from registration on the Saturday and dropped off at the finish area after your ride on the Sunday. Booking essential.

Enter now and see you there!

www.veloretro.co.uk

alan@sportivelakes.co.uk

All photos by Steve Fleming Photography.

 

Get your classic ride ready for Eroica

Classic bikes are more popular than ever, and we’ve got a few! So here are some of our pre-ride tips to make sure your machine is ready for the Eroica Britannia 15 – 17 June.

Make sure your tyres are in good condition and have the ability to hold air. For the off road sections we normally would run the tyres at a slightly lower pressure. The brake pads should be new and adjusted properly. If you have the clearance fit 25 or 28mm tyres. Good tyres are a worthwhile investment.

If there are oil and grease ports use them to make sure the bearings run smoothly.

It is worth cleaning the bike thoroughly because that way you will notice if anything is loose. Check the spokes are all tight, the headset is adjusted and the seat post has not seized during the winter months.

Wiping the frame over with an oily rag and cleaning the fancy lugs will make you appreciate the detail and craftsmanship that goes into building these fine machines.

You can replace or recover the bar tape to make sure your bike is at its most handsome. Cloth tape is easy to fit and has the retro look.

You may also find our videos on what to look our for when buying a vintage bike useful.

We wouldn’t let anyone ride anything we’re not happy with ourselves. All our retro bikes are fully serviced and safety checked so you can rest assured that any cycle hired through Glory Days will do you proud on your ride through the Peak District.

 

Enjoy the Best of British – bike in style at historic Bamford Hall

Bamford Hall in the Peak District National Park is the perfect spot for a fantastic luxury cycling break, and is located on the banks of the River Derwent in the Hope Valley, Derbyshire.

The Hall was at one time the home of an industrial magnate who owned Bamford Mill and is thought to be approximately 200 years old. It has recently been extensively renovated to provide stylish and contemporary luxury group accommodation in the heart of the Peak District.

Painstakingly renovated to a 5* standard the hall, which sleeps 20,  has secure off street parking and is not only spectacular inside, but is in an ideal location to explore the Peak District by bike.

With 8 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 3 reception rooms and a hot tub its ideal for a relaxing weekend or as a base for an action packed two wheeled adventure!! Glory Days has linked up with Bamford Hall so that discerning customers can rent our quality retro road bikes for great days out and special occasions and have them delivered direct to their accommodation at no extra charge.

For more information please contact Rick email stay@bamfordhall.uk or call +44 (0)333 9874010.

Discovering the Dolomites – a retro road bike tour

It was mid September and raining cats and dogs in the Dolomites. This was not what were we hoping for as we set off from our hotel in Cavaso del Tombo. The forecast had made us change our plans so we headed west through Bassano del Grappa towards the Piccolo Dolomiti. The alternative was the steep, long and high climb over the Passo di Giau, where it was minus four degrees and snowing.

This decision worked out well however as it gave our legs a few days to settle into cycling with panniers before the bigger climbs. Most cyclists setting off from this area have one goal – the ascents of Monte Grappa, but having tackled that the previous year we were keen to explore some of the lesser known parts of this glorious region.

One of the highlights of this trip was the Strada degli Eroi (Way of the Heroes) in the Pasubio Massif which seemed fitting for our ‘heroic retro machines’. This access road was built in 1922 but is now closed to motorised traffic. We took all day over this amazing gravel route and savoured every minute, even stopping to take photos of our fellow travellers on mountain bikes who we passed on the less technical rocky sections.

The road climbs up Monte Pasubio through galleries and tunnels with steep drops, so care is needed – but we wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

North on Eurovelo 7, the bike route from Copenhagen to Rome and then east for another   highlight, the crossing of the Alpe di Siusi. This traffic free Alpine meadow is much loved by hikers and cyclists. We adventured onwards dropping down to the Val Gardena.

We spent one night and a couple of days climbing the big cols around Cortina, along with numerous motorbikes and vintage cars. We then headed into the lesser known northern Dolomiti around Sesto where we found a comfy hotel from which to explore. The Eroica club’s inaugral Eroica Dolomiti had taken place just the week before so we checked out the route on Strava and thought hey why not? A tough route indeed – truly a ride for heroes. A long, steep ascent up to Prato Piazza at 2000m was followed by a rough gravel descent from which we had to dismount several times. The sheep and cattle had gone down to lower ground just a few days earlier leaving the valley eerily quiet of their ringing bells. A grand day out.

Heading east on Eurovelo 1, the bike route from Munich to Venice, it was mainly downhill for 60 miles back to the flatlands of Treviso and Prosecco country.

These are just a few of the highlights of our gravel road riding on retro steel bikes in the Dolomites. One thing’s for sure we wouldn’t sell or rent any bikes we’re not happy to ride ourselves. We’re proud of our bikes and loved our old fashioned tour – the paper maps – the routes – the people – the peaks – not forgetting the pasta, pizza and Prosecco. Who needs an adventure bike – our bikes are made for adventures!

Contact us if you need help choosing a retro road bike rental from our stable of fine British steel vintage bikes.

Tour Classic

The Tour Classic is a 56 mile timed ride for pre 1987 bikes around Cambridgeshire’s rural roads. The ride uses the same route and feed stations as the Medio Fondo sportive, starting and finishing at the Peterborough showground. This year Team Glory Days bike rode in the Tour Classic event, part of the Tour of Cambridge Gran Fondo series organised by Golazo Cycling Limited. In total there are around 8000 participants riding a variety of disciplines over the weekend.

So its not surprising with that number of participants that queues quickly formed at the toilets and there was a long wait to get going in the start pen. However the level of organisation is impressive, as is the number of marshals on all the road junctions on the course.

The start time for the Tour Classic is 1pm leaving time in the morning to look round the exhibition of cycle related products and vintage bikes.

There was a separate pen for classic machines and inevitably a lot of conversations about each others pride and joy. Most of the entrants also sported vintage cycling jerseys to make our category the most attractive for the crowds to cheer.

The route itself was not completely flat but having only 1700ft of climb was good to keep a steady pace. The long 4 mile straight into the wind was probably the hardest section, but eased by tucking in behind the large groups of riders doing the longer distances – as long as we could keep up! As the finish approached the adrenaline kicked in as you could hear the roar of carbon wheels and frame approaching at speed. There were several crashes and broken carbon frames at the roadside. We were proud to be riding our classic steel Swinnerton and Raleigh Competition that proved reliable and comfortable as we put them through their paces.

The feed stations had a good variety of food, including bananas,  biscuits, water and electrolyte. Along the route there were many people enjoying the spectacle and cheering the riders from pubs and private roadside barbecues.

The day was topped off with podium presentations. Carol was awarded 2nd women but it later transpired the 1st women was a man riding with a women’s number, so unfortunately she missed out on taking the beers home.

Its good to ride hard from time to time and we had a good day in the saddle on Glory Days steel vintage road bikes.

 

The Cycle Museum Walton Hall & Gardens

 

The Cycle Museum at Walton Hall & Gardens near Warrington is the cumulation of Paul Adam’s obsession of collecting vintage bikes, and in fact all sorts of quirky things. The 200 plus strong collection of bicycles includes two rare machines. The 1893 Crypto Bantamette Ladies bicycle is one of only two known in the world. It hangs proudly alongside the rare 1895 solid tired Hillman Herbert and Cooper Gentleman’s Premier bicycle in the former stable block of Walton Hall.

Paul’s cycle collection is an obsession which began in childhood when he developed an interest in vintage cars – before moving on to bicycles which were “more affordable’.

The museum is a hidden gem of interesting and quirky wheeled objects – not just classic and vintage bikes. Amongst the piles of treasure which are stored haphazardly in the old hall out buildings we spotted an Itera plastic bike, a Pedersen, and a Sinclair C5! You have to watch where you tread as the floor is covered in cycling memorabilia.

As purveyors of fine hand made British bikes we spotted an immaculate Reg Harris and a beautiful Bates amongst the solderless nipples and abandoned toilets. There were some classic Italian steel steads as well.

Collectors might be interested to know that the 26th annual antique and classic bicycle auction and swap meet takes place in Copake, New Jersey on 22 April 2017. We are wondering what gems Paul might return with!

Groups wishing to arrange a tour can contact Paul. Admission is free but donations are welcome.

 

 

 

Peak District cycling – Nicky’s favourite ride

Glory Days have set me a tough assignment – to write about my favourite Peak District ride. Why is it difficult? It is because there are so many wonderful Peak District cycling routes to choose from. The Peak District is a special place for me, and there is no better way to enjoy it than pedalling away the miles on a bicycle.

I love visiting the Monsal Trail, especially when it is quiet. Every single time I travel along it I see something different. It isn’t a long trail, or a particularly challenging one as it is mostly flat, but the smiles per mile ratio is very high.

The trail is an old railway route that runs for 8.5 miles from Blackwell Mill near Buxton, as far as the popular Peak District town of Bakewell to the South-East. As I love photography together with cycling, the unique landscape along the trail offers a lot of photo opportunities.

The Monsal Trail is a spectacular combination of nature at its finest, and industry of old. It’s difficult to imagine that steam trains once hurtled through the tunnels, stopping at the stations where today you can relax with a slice of cake and a hot chocolate.

When the railway was built in 1863 it caused objections in the same manner as new developments do to this day. There are not many objections quite so eloquent I feel as the famous writer John Ruskin wrote about the construction of the railway line:

“There was a rocky valley between Buxton and Bakewell, once upon a time, divine as the Vale of Tempe… You Enterprised a Railroad through the valley – you blasted its rocks away, heaped thousands of tons of shale into its lovely stream. The valley is gone, and the Gods with it; and now, every fool in Buxton can be in Bakewell in half an hour, and every fool in Bakewell at Buxton; which you think a lucrative process of exchange – you Fools everywhere”.

The tunnels add an element of surprise to the landscape as you pedal through them; as you exit each tunnel a new view of the Peak District is revealed. The trail cuts through the countryside going from a valley one moment, to spectacular viaduct views high above the River Wye the next.

I’ve travelled along the Monsal Trail in every kind of weather, and enjoyed all conditions. From hot summer days, when cycling through the old railway tunnels feels like pedalling through a refrigerator, to the depths of winter, when there is snow on the ground and ice tyres with spikes enable you to stay upright.

Another lovely feature of the Monsal Trail is that is allows you to easily link up with many other favourite Peak District locations. It is only a short uphill ride from Millers Dale, (an old station on the trail) to the pretty village of Tideswell. Known as the Cathedral of the Peak, Tideswell is an ideal place to enjoy an ice cream, find a pub or a tea room. From the end of the trail at Bakewell, it is only a short distance to Haddon Hall and a bit further away to the Chatsworth Estate. Chatsworth Hall is one of the most popular places in the Peak District, and well worth a look on your travels if you have not visited before.

The only downside of the Monsal Trail is that it can get exceedingly busy at peak holiday times, so I tend to try and find routes away from the crowds when that is the case. Even so, the Monsal Trail is somewhere I recommend to any cyclist who wants an easy, traffic free trail in the Peak District.

Many thanks to Nicky Griffiths, www.peakdistrictcycling.co.uk for this guest blog.

Exploring the road less travelled on Glory Days Bikes

We love to explore the road less travelled on our vintage bikes. This summer Glory Days travelled to the ‘other Alps’ of Switzerland and northern Italy to explore some unpaved roads and climbs on our fully laden Reynolds steel bikes.

As you all know great rides start with great bikes, so we chose two of our favourite hero bikes: the 1981 Vernon Barker and the 1981 F W Evans for our trusty companions.

Travelling north from our starting base in Milan we journeyed alongside majestic Lake Maggiore before catching a ferry to Ascona, Switzerland to take part in the first edition of La Belverdere vintage bike event. The event is dedicated to pre 1987 bicycles but had several hardy participants on early 20th century machines. There were two different routes to choose from, the Half Belvedere (30km) on the Saturday and the Belvedere Classic, 60km on the Sunday. We wanted to see as much of the area as possible so rode both. It was fun and friendly with plenty of wine at the feed stations and a tasty meal post ride overlooking the lake.

Following the excitement of the weekend we headed north into the ‘other Alps’ to seek out some of the quieter, lesser known climbs and escape the heat of the Lakes. From Bellinzona we started to climb the San Bernardino Pass taking the old gravel road. Our pace was slow and the heat immense. 40km of dust, sweat and climb later we arrived at our hotel for the night in the beautiful village of San Bernardino. The following day fully rested it was a short climb to the summit at 2066m. We continued north over the Julier Pass (2284m) in the Abula Alps, the watershed of the Rivers Rhine and Danube. We journeyed onwards through the stunning Engadin valley to Zernez.

Heading eastwards we took the long climb up through the trees to the Fuorno Pass (2149m) and dropped into the Alto Adige valley where we picked up the amazing Euro Velo route 7 which runs from Copenhagen to Rome. This is a popular tarmac bike route with villages and plenty of pit stops along the way. We spent the night in historic Trento, home of the lovely friendly bike shop Moser Cicli (established 1933) where it was necessary to invest in some new brake blocks. Trento is also home to La Moserissima, a non competitive cycle event for pre 1987 bicycles in honour of Francesco Moser and his family who are from the area.

Our next stop was Bassano via Lago di Caldonazzo where we camped in the shadow of Monte Grappa. We took one of the less travelled ten different routes up and down the infamous mountain, which was challenging with narrow tricky hairpins. If you climb (or descend) Grappa by the “classic” route (from Romano d’Ezzelino), you can stop at the inn at Ponte San Lorenzo and see autographed photos of Gino Bartali and Marco Pantani.

Our trip back to Milan was via Torbole, and the Lakes of Garda and Iseo. We spent the last few days camped by Lake Iseo opposite Monte Isola in the village of Marone. It was too hot to rest so we rode around the side of beautiful Lake Iseo on the route taken by vintage bike enthusiasts for La Lacustre, an event that evokes the charm of past cycling. The next day we arranged to meet up with Matteo Bonardi organiser of La Lacustre, keen cyclist and passionate founder of Pedale Vintage. Matteo has founded several events in the area for fellow enthusiasts as an alternative to the increasingly technological modern cycling. He showed us around his small collection of vintage cycling memorabilia and bicycles, including  a 1969 Atala racer and a 1975 Guerciotti.  We hope to have persuaded him to come and do the Eroica Britannia next year on a classic British Glory Days bike!

We bode our fond farewells and cycled off to Bergamo and then by train back to Milan.

From La Belvedere and beyond, on roads less travelled, we put our retro bikes through the paces so you can be assured that any bike hired through Glory Days will do you proud.

 

 

From Superb to Heroic Glory Days on tour

We selected two of our favourite bikes a 1986 FW Evans and a 1981 Vernon Barker, packed our bags and we were ready to roll. When we knew we had places for L’Eroica in Chianti, Tuscany we decided to base our holiday around the event rather than having a long and manic weekend in Italy. We booked our flights to Pisa and found a friendly hotel in town where we could leave our bike bags for the time we were touring. Finding out there was another event on called La Superba vintage at Nervi near Genoa we decided to incorporate that as well.

So the first day we took a train from Pisa north along the coast arriving in Nervi just before dark. The next day after registering we stood under the azure sky looking at lots of ltalian steel bikes ranging from immaculate to barely functioning. There was of course a bike jumble and a delayed start, but at around 10.30am around 200 riders set off en masse along the spectacular Ligurian Coast.

The route followed the coast to Porto Fino and was generally a convivial ride. We soon got accustomed to the local culture where ignoring red lights and having traffic stopped for you at junctions was the norm. The views over Paradise Bay were superb and everyone was very friendly. Feed stops were freshly baked focaccia and wine and when we arrived back after around 35 miles were there was a fantastic meal of bean stew and bottles of Helligen Belgian Beer. We know by now a good vintage cycle event is not just about the bikes!

The next day we started retracing our route towards along the coast keeping the sea on our right. Packing away a damp tent we continued along the coast and through the Cinque Terre.  We continued eastwards on our adventures stopping off at great places including Lucca and crossing the Passo del Carnaio (760m) and the Murglione Pass (987m).

One week later we reached the Adriatic coast at Cervia and made sure to visit the nearby Pantani Museum before recrossing the Apennines via the Passo dei Mandrioli (1173m) and after a long descent to Bibbiena we were back in the Arno valley.

The next day we climbed out of the valley across the Chianti mountains and arrived in Gaoile, ‘home of L’Eroica’ set up camp on the football ground and spent four days immersing ourselves in the festival of ancient bikes, bike goodies and general socialising that is characteristic of the event. Now in its 17th year the brand is now truly global and as popular as ever having spawned offspring around the world, including our much loved Eroica Britannia.

The day of the ride we started at 6am in the dark and damp wearing our woolie jerseys. Adding to the atmosphere was the first climb on the Strade Bianche with candles lining the side of the road. Chianti and Mortadella (local sausage) was amongst the food on offer at the first stop around 9am. It wasn’t long before the towers and skyline of historic Sienna appeared in the dawn light. Frequent heavy showers were a feature of the day – making the ride even more ‘heroic’! As we headed north passing through the vineyards and olive groves the weather improved. Dusty, dirty but happy we returned to Gaoile that afternoon having completed the 135km route with ease on our reliable retro bicycles. The Meccanica British made retro cycle jersey was just the job in these conditions. We spent the rest of the day sharing stories and supping with our fellow comrades.

The following day we set off fully laden with our prize commemorative tin up and down the hills of Tuscany to arrive back in Pisa a few days later – completing our double coast to coast of Italy on our trusty steel vintage bikes. So from Superb to Heroic Glory Days on tour 2015 – our journey was finito.

 

Barry Hoban’s Glory Days

Vas-y Barry (pronounced Vaz-e Barry) is French for Go on Barry. It was a cry Barry Hoban heard many times during the 19 years he lived and raced on the continent. Hoban was born in Yorkshire, but after a glittering amateur cycling career moved to France in 1962 to race as an independent rider.

His move to France as a young rider is inspirational, as is his survival amongst the professionals without the ability to speak the language or understand the culture driven by the desire to prove that his talent could overcome the prejudice and institutions that stood in the way of him achieving his dream, to be the best. In 1964 he turned professional and raced at the top of the sport until 1979, while based first in France then in Belgium.

Barry Hoban won eight stages in the Tour de France, and is second to Mark Cavendish in the all-time British stage winner list. He was also the first British rider to win a mountain stage of the Tour de France. Hoban won the classic single-day race Ghent Wevelgem, the only British racer to have done that. All told Hoban won 32 top class professional races during his career, and he had top three placings in many more, including two of the monuments of cycling; Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

This book tells Barry Hoban’s cycling story. It is written by Barry from the heart and with clear recall of what it was like, physically and mentally, to ride against three all-time greats of cycling; Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. Each one the definitive rider of his generation. Hoban also raced against Rik Van Looy, Rudi Altig, Felice Gimondi, and with team mates Raymond Poulidor and Joop Zoetemelk.

But Hoban did all this as a pioneer, very often the only British representative in the world’s biggest races. Barry Hoban made a place in men’s professional road racing at a time when so few had. It’s a place that is still remembered with affection today. It was a pleasure to meet him at the Tour de Broads sportive and more recently in Sheffield and receive a signed copy of his book which we can recommend if you want to find out more about Barry Hoban’s Glory Days.

Why not hire our Coventry Eagle Barry Hoban retro bike and relive your glory days?

 

Get set for a Summer of Cycling

Lovers of life on two wheels can pedal at a leisurely pace or take to the fast lane during the second Peak District & Derbyshire Summer of Cycling from June to August 2015.

Centrepiece of this year’s celebrations will be the three-day life, style and cycling festival Eroica Britannia, billed as ‘the most handsome festival in the world’, from June 19 to 21.

Around 3,500 cyclists from all over the UK and around the world are set to don retro gear and take to pre-1987 bikes for this year’s rides on Sunday June 21, passing through some of the finest Peak District landscapes and villages en route.

Bakewell Showground, in the heart of the Peak District, will once again host three days of fabulous fun for all the family, including live music, more than 200 vendors, acres of vintage shopping, a specialist food festival and a wealth of activities and experiences.

Other events during the Summer of Cycling include Glory Days guided Tour de Frites retro ride including fish and chips, a cycle ride to the cinema and guided rides in some of the area’s most scenic locations.

More competitive cyclists will enjoy challenges such as the new Bradwell Hill Billy Sportive or  135th Anniversary ride of the Chesterfield Sipre Cycle Club riding through 125km of the Peak District.

The Peak District and Derbyshire will also host up to 120 of the world’s top cyclists during the tenth Tour of Britain, the country’s premier road cycling event, on Friday September 11. Starting in Stoke-on-Trent, they will race through Buxton, Bakewell, Matlock and Belper during the 189 kilometres stage to Nottingham.

“Cycling really got into gear in the Peak District and Derbyshire last year, thanks to flagship events such as the Tour de France, the first-ever Eroica Britannia and the first Peak District & Derbyshire Summer of Cycling,” said Jo Dilley, Director of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, the area’s official tourist board.

“This year we’re aiming to build on that by working closely with a range of local partners to promote a programme of activities to suit all ages and abilities, and for everyone from absolute beginners to expert road cyclists. It’s a brilliant way to enjoy some exercise and fresh air amid the stunning landscapes of the Peak District and Derbyshire – and a great excuse to book a short break.”

For full details, plus an up-to-the-minute cycle map featuring trails and routes across the area, pick up the brand new Cycle Peak District & Derbyshire leaflet, now available at tourist information centres and other venues in and around the Peak District and Derbyshire, including Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield. Updates are also available online at www.summerofcycling.co.uk.