Making the cycling aspect unaffordable to most ordinary people seems a bad idea. It's a shame that the strongest 'retro' culture in the UK is tweed rides with bikes and equipment unaccessible to most people.
Retro biking is a great way into cycling for everyone because you can start off with a 50 quid bike from gumtree and go from there. Why not build on that, instead of having another exclusive event that only well off people can pay for?
Agreed, the food side of it gives it a broader appeal, but why not use that broader appeal to then make people more aware of British cycling heritage? It wouldn't cost much extra after all. I think it's a shame people don't know who people like Hoban and Bainbridge are, and their stories are fascinating. This is a chance to try to change that.
There is a huge scene of "cheap events". There are at least a dozen Audaxes around the country every given saturday and sunday, plus a few every other day of the week. There are time trials you can enter for 3 pounds or nothing if you belong to the organising club. There are road races you can enter for less than a tenner and there are charity rides and sportives which cost 15-20 pounds including food stops.
There are a number of overpriced events (50-80 pounds), but they are a minority... most sportives cost 20-30 pounds... Now, you can argue that's a lot of money, but to be fair a new chain costs 20-30 pounds, a new set of tyres costs more than that... so yes, 55 pounds is expensive, but in the grand scheme of things is not a lot of money and travelling to do an event like the Retro ronde will cost 3-400 pounds when you include everything.
I think most people put off by a high entry fee are put off by the concept of charging a lot of money to ride on public roads rather than not being able to afford the entry fee.
Fine, but the trails and side roads used in L'E B are also publicly accessible for free so there is no reason to charge a lot extra just to use those routes.
I don't know where the high price comes from, but I don't think using the roads generates a large extra cost and that alone doesn't justify the high price. Maybe something else does, but I don't see what if, as you claim, it's possible to organise a sportive or audax or whatever for just a few quid per entrant.
Also, several of the people with whom I ride retro events are just getting into cycling or are non-hardcore cyclists. They much prefer the retro events because they are not only cheaper to enter, but the bikes they can use are less expensive too, and they don't have to put up with snide remarks about riding an old bike (which I and others have had at Sportive events, several times).
My point was that retro rides are much more accessible to a broad range of people, and could be used to get more people into cycling in an affordable way.
Of course L'E B is cheaper than the RRVV if you include the costs of getting there, but that's completely irrelevant to anyone except hardcore retro riders.
The RRVV has lots of women, kids, people with all kinds of bikes taking part. It's a really inclusive event. Surely you can't seriously be arguing that such an event would still be as inclusive if people were asked to pay 5-6 times as much?