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Staying vintage, choosing your Eroica event Clothing

Taking a leaf out of the Great Cyclist in the Sky’s handbook, an Eroica event is guided by 10 Commandments, number nine of which is the one you need to remember if the only thing remaining on your list (after the pre-’87 bike of course) is clothing for the Eroica ride itself:

“Participants must be dressed in vintage or era specific clothing”

That means leave the skin suit at home, and think twice if it goes snap when you stretch and release it. So that’s vintage era in, fluro out. Plaid welcome, ziggy zags a no-no. Tweed an honoured guest, aero-tech given the heave-ho.

Point laboured, let’s move on.

Before you start searching the more dubious corners of the web for ‘genuine pre-’87 wool shorts, now with added itch!’, it’s worth noting that, unlike the bikes themselves, the rules don’t actually stipulate that your Eroica apparel be old or of a certain year, just vintage looking and in-keeping with the historic feeling of the event.

If you are anxious about the day (don’t be, you’ll have so much fun amongst a group of very friendly people!) just try for at least a minimum of wool/tweed/3/4 ‘plus 4 shorts’, whatever you can do to stay in the spirit of the event, because at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.

That being said (an oft used phrase that enables the writer a magnificent guilt-free turn around in ideas), we’ve curated a few items below that will certainly help with the clothing aspect of your Eroica event. A mix of proven Eroica favourites, think Quoc Pham vintage style cycling shoes, and suggested era-accurate classics, a rider turned out in such finery may find him/herself the toast of the event.

Road racing style musettes like this one are an Eroica essential

Road racing style musettes like this one are an Eroica essential. Handy for sandwiches, cakes and a photo of your favourite squeeze for mid-ride motivation

The De Marchi Salvarini, a fine example of a vintage cycling jersey, steeped in tradition.

The De Marchi Salvarini, a fine example of a vintage cycling jersey, steeped in tradition.

A wool blend, vintage era zip, yep, this De Marchi vintage recreation jersey has Eroica written all over it (not literally).

A wool blend, vintage era zip, yep, this De Marchi vintage recreation jersey has Eroica written all over it (not literally).

The classic colours of the Belgian national team, as recreated by De Marchi with this fine wool blend vintage jersey.

The classic colours of the Belgian national team, as recreated by De Marchi with this fine wool blend vintage jersey.

Established in 1976, Etxeondo have brought out a jersey to celebrate their long association with classic road riding.

Established in 1976, Etxeondo have brought out a jersey to celebrate their long association with classic road riding.

Whether to protect from the sun, grit or Eroica trail dust, a cycling cap is an event essential, and this one from Pedal Ed is one of our favourites.

Whether to protect from the sun, grit or Eroica trail dust, a cycling cap is an event essential, and this one from Pedal Ed is one of our favourites.

Nice gents Cafe du Cycliste are bringing back the French tailoring tradition with their take on classic road cycling fare - this cap is a Cafe staple.

Nice gents Cafe du Cycliste are bringing back the French tailoring tradition with their take on classic road cycling fare - this cap is a Cafe staple.

Keep hands smooth, but not too smooth, vintage cyclist was a real man, but anyway, smooth it is, and with a pair of open backed Pittard's leather cycling gloves, your Eroica outfit is complete.

Keep hands smooth, but not too smooth, vintage cyclist was a real man, but anyway, smooth it is, and with a pair of open backed Pittard's leather cycling gloves, your Eroica outfit is complete.

A fine offering from Giro, these leather era-correct cycling gloves are for the rider keeping things pared-down and black, very very black.

A fine offering from Giro, these leather era-correct cycling gloves are for the rider keeping things pared-down and black, very very black.

A steel bike bottle evokes a pre-plastic era, when the true Giant of the Road sipped (guzzled) wine like it was water from before-it-was-cool eco-friendly supping tubes.

A steel bike bottle evokes a pre-plastic era, when the true Giant of the Road sipped (guzzled) wine like it was water from before-it-was-cool eco-friendly supping tubes.

Wool socks - the vintage cyclist's plat du jour

Wool socks - the vintage cyclist's plat du jour

Pleasing two-tone foot goodness from Cafe du Cycliste - wool done like Mama used to make, for world beating pedal revolutions.

Pleasing two-tone foot goodness from Cafe du Cycliste - wool done like Mama used to make, for world beating pedal revolutions.

Vintage cycling shoes are an Eroica must, and the Vittoria 1976 SPD models are a proven event favourite.

Vintage cycling shoes are an Eroica must, and the Vittoria 1976 SPD models are a proven event favourite.

Quoc Pham's vintage styled leather cycling shoes are supremely popular with Eroica cyclists thanks to their era-accurate looks, off the bike utility and hand finished quality.

Quoc Pham's vintage styled leather cycling shoes are supremely popular with Eroica cyclists thanks to their era-accurate looks, off the bike utility and hand finished quality.

3/4 shorts or 'Plus fours' are an elegant and practical solution to clothing your mighty hams in vintage style. Not only will they perform on the bike, but off the bike (pub, pub, frolicking, pub) they don't shout cyclist. They whisper sweet nothings.

3/4 shorts or 'Plus fours' are an elegant and practical solution to clothing your mighty hams in vintage style. Not only will they perform on the bike, but off the bike (pub, pub, frolicking, pub) they don't shout cyclist. They whisper sweet nothings.

Padded under shorts add-in comfort, without bulk, worn as they are, under your shorts of choice.

Padded under shorts add-in comfort, without bulk, worn as they are, under your shorts of choice.

Useful links

L'Eroica main site
Eroica Britannia 10 Commandments

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About the Rider: Peter
Co-founder of Always Riding, Pete enjoys road, trail and a good city commute. Most of all though, he loves chatting to other riders, the mid-ride stop after a leg-breaking ascent, and a cup of tea at the end of the ride. There is no truth in the rumour that he likes to wear women's clothes and hang around in bars. No truth at all.
@alwaysriding
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