Winter Tweed Ride Enskede 2021

The last 10 months have been challenging for us all. The pandemic have caused suffering all around the world in many different ways imaginable. It have made us rethink our everyday routines and what we took for granted before. Regulations and restrictions have made us think about travelling, meeting relatives, friends, even attending social gatherings in a new way. For us tweedians, many events have been postponed and some have even been cancelled, as I have mentioned in earlier posts.

When we are faced with a new situation, we often finds ways to adapt and work out solutions that might help us in the current situation. One of these adaptations was the creation of the, in my opinion, as simple as brilliant #solotweedride event.

It allowed us to participate in events by simply riding alone or with few friends. For me the solo tweed rides have been something I am looking forward to. Joining an event, but in a interactive way, take some photos, write a text and publish them on social media so others are able to read and also be a part of the adventure.

Despite the restrictions, being able to ride our bicycles and having picnics out in the fresh air and at the same time gain a bit exercise along the way. Breaking the grey mundane everyday routine in this pandemic by dressing up in tweed and having a small adventure by ourselves. It is a splendid idea! For example, I was planing a trip to Finland for the Winter Tweed Run in Helsinki this year. But again, that pesky pandemic made travelling, joining large events, rather impossible.

So, why not simply do a solo tweed event instead? After all, we have snow, ice, sub zero temperatures here in Sweden too. If I could not go to Helsinki, I would bring Helsinki to me!

The rides of the day, from left to right. 1939 Crescent, 1943, Rex and a 1954 Hermes

Winter Tweed Ride

The founders of Enskede Tweed Society

I mentioned my idea to create a #solotweedride version of the Winter Tweed Run Helsinki event to a cupule fellow tweedians. I asked them if they would like to join me for a brisk February bicycle ride in the snow, followed by some food and drinks? Everything in the spirit of Finland of course? They loved the idea, and a date was set for our version of Winter Tweed Run Helsinki.

The temperature was about -10 degrees Celsius on the day for the ride, crisp air, clear blue skies and snow sparkling in the sunshine. It was rather excellent conditions for a winter tweed ride. As usual we packed our bicycle bags with thermoses with hot water to make a cup of tea later on. One rider brought some cookies (the classic Swedish shortbread cookie with crushed hazelnuts and pearl sugar on top that are called “Finnish sticks”). That would be an excellent tea break on the ride, we must have a tea break. What is a tweed ride without tea?

All of us have experienced riding bicycles in snow before, so there were no problem at all to ride our vintage bicycles without studded tires along the snow packed streets. In fact, one of the advantage of large snow mounds at the side of the roads, is that you will land softly in the event of crashing – he said while slipping and sliding along the icy roads.

We met at the regular meeting place in Enskede with our bicycles and after a short meet and greet we continued along, riding among the old villas in Enskede before heading our way to the Forrest cemetery. The cemetery is a beautiful and peaceful place, especially this time of the year with all snowy roads and postcard pristine winter scenery. It sure seemed like we were riding in a different time and place with the winter landscape surrounding us when the sunbeams scattered between the pines and were reflecting in the snow.

About -10 degrees Celsius and sunshine. A lovely winter day

Time for tea

Twinings tea in an old enamel cup and a “Finnish stick”

After we had been riding around for about 1,5 hours it was time to head back home and prepare the dinner with a Finnish theme. Everything from the Helsinki flag on the table, the drinks, music, down to the coffee flavoured chocolate in the evening was a celebration to the Winter Tweed Run event. We might have overdone it just a bit, but it was great fun and all was made with love.

First up we had an appetizer with sliced boiled potatoes, sliced boiled egg, home-made dressing and picked herring on rye-bread from Malax, in Finland of course.

As main course we had Vorschmack, a dish from restaurant Sea Horse in Helsinki. Vorschmack is a stew made of all sorts of meat, fish, cognac and other ingredients. Everything is mashed together, heated and served with with diced onions, pickle, beets, smetana and broiled potatoes. The dish was made popular by former president and war hero Gustav Mannerheim and is served at Seahorse. A visit there is always planed when visiting Helsinki.

For desert we had home-made Runebergs cakes. Johan Ludvig Runeberg is Finland’s national poet, he lived in the 1800’s and it is tradition to eat his signature cake for desert on his birthday on 5th of February. Since our Winter Tweed Ride was a few days after his birthday, we simply had to have Runeberg cakes.

To complete the day, we listened to the Bar Moskva Spotify play list. It is a list with Finnish old songs from 1930’s up to 1950’s. The name of the list is inspired by the very odd bar in Helsinki that was called Bar Moskva, we have spent many hours there. Just enjoying the ambience. When they closed the bar to tear down the building, an era ended.

The only thing we were missing was the sauna. In fact we were thinking of riding our bicycles to a place where we know they have a sauna. But that was a bit to extreme, even for us.

Appetizer, pickled herring on rye bread with egg. Notice the “Helsinki” flag

Vorschmack, not as elegant as on restaurant Sea Horse but just as tasty…

…and a Runebergstårta for desert

As a energy boost later in the evenening, a mocca kiss.

In the end it was a great day! Let us all hope that the pandemic will soon be  over and travelling to join tweed events are possible again. But even if everything gets back to normal. I will continue the solo tweed ride events.  As I wrote in the enamel cup post. It is easy to dress in tweed, pack a bag with some sandwiches and something to drink and just take a ride out somewhere. After all, it is healthy, fun to take your vintage bicycle for a run.

But let us hope for warmer weather soon, it is not so comfortable having a picnic while sitting on a blanket in the snow in the middle of winter. The tea gets cold so quickly.

Happy tweed!

Midnite Bicycle League Challenge 2020

It is winter up here in the cold north and the general experience at this time each year is the felling of almost sitting inside an freezer with the lid closed. It is chilly and dark everywhere.

It will be at least 3 more months before things starts to get better with warm weather, earlier sunrises, later sunsets with more light. Springtime will be welcomed after a long, dark and cold winter.

During the winter there are not so many tweed events as during the summer. But some snow is no obstacle for a true bicycle rider. There are no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Tweed are a warm and reliable garment. it is only a matter of getting up on your bicycle, heading out on icy roads, snowy bicycle lanes and trying to keep away from the largest snow banks. Does the winter season mean that all tweed events are set on pause? No, not at all. For example, there is the lovely Helsinki Winter Tweed Run in Finland for example.

If here are no tweed events close to you? Why not join the Portland based Urban Adventure Leagues latest challenge, the Midnite Bicycle League Challenge 2020? I found out about the challenge after following Urban Adventure Leagues blog as well Instagram for a while. A few years agot I was about to join one of his other challenges, the Three speed October challenge. But sadly the three speed bicycle I own does not qualifies for the event. The rules are that the gear must be internal, built in the rear hub. The only three speed gear system I have, is my dangerous and old Versol derailleur system from 1940’s.

But with the Midnite league I can join up and participate with our any worries all bicycles are welcome. I paid the entry fee and received an journal along with a postcard in the mail. In the journal all the rules and specifications for the event were listed, along with some background history of the event. The rules are few and simple:

1, the ride must be at night, between sunset and sunrise
2, the distance ridden must be at least 5 kilometres
3, five rides at five separate occasions with two rides in a week as maximum
4, you got about two months to complete the challenge
5, write a journal for each one of the 5 rides
6, also, include two photos in the journal and return it back for examination

My journal that came in the mail

Living in Sweden during winter months, riding at night (between sunset and sunrise) is no problem at all. After all, the sun sets about 14:30 in the afternoon and rises at 08:00 in the morning during December and January, it is always dark here. That offers plenty of time for riding in the darkness. The 5 kilometres rule is just as simple. A ride into Stockholm city for a hot coco and back makes it at least 8 kilometres.  It was really going to be fun to take part in this challenge.

I had asked myself what bicycle should I use on my rides? By coincidence, I had my latest project the Rex Duplex made in 1943, standing in the basement. Complete with a fully working dynamo, that powered power to the front and rear lights. It also have a working bicycle bell, mudguards and more amazing. A working brake!

If the weather had been about -10 degrees below and the bicycle lanes filled with packed snow, the old 1927 Crescent racer with studded tires, had been fun to use. But as it was, rain and about -1 degrees. Mudguards are rather nice to have to avoid splash-ups and other inconveniences.

The bicycle I used for all rides, Rex Duplex from 1943. Rusty, rugged but reliable

I must admit that I fixed the break earlier on the Rex, because sometimes being able to stop might be nice thing to do. Stop at a red light or avoid crashing into an hedge is a few example why a brake might come in handy. Perhaps I will write a short topic in the future on how I slightly improve the braking ability on worn old Torpedo hubs by a simple and old hack. Advancing from having no breaks at all, to having about 23% better possibillety to be able to slow down and sometimes even stop the bicycle while riding.

The first ride of the challenge was a quick ride just to pick up some food from a take away shop. It was raining and not very nice at all. But still, it was the first ride of the challenge and it was fun to start the GPS tracking on my phone to accurately check distance and route when arriving back home.

The second ride was on 13th of December, Lucia day.
Here in Sweden it is a traditional day where we celebrate the saint Lucia and bringing light into the winter darkness up here in the Nordic countries. The tradition is to drink mulled wine and eat saffron buns and gingerbread cookies. A fellow tweedian asked me if we should take a ride together and have some mulled wine along the ride. I brought my old military mess kit to heat up the wine. He had brought along a bottle of Glühwine, now we were off on a midnight ride. It was cold and some places even a bit icy on the roads, but with hot wine and saffron buns waiting it become a nice ride.

A fellow tweedian joined up for the ride

Heating up some mulled wine on an vintage military issue mess kit in the middle of night

A ride in the middle of night on dark roads

The third ride was made in a hurry.
The first snow of 2020, I had to get out on a ride before the workers came along and removed all the pristine snow. I packed a small picnic and headed out. After 10 minutes in the snow the headlight started to flicker, the snow was firmly packed around the dynamo and caused it to slid. It was only a matter of stopping now and then and remove the snow and the light came on again, for a moment at least.

Picnic in the snow and night

For the fourth ride, the fellow tweedian suggested an ride in to the city.
That was a fun idea, I brought along the military mess kit once again. This time we made pea soup, a classic hot dish when being outside in the winter. We ended up on Riddarholmen with Stockholm city call as a backdrop, firing up the old mess kit while wondering when the police should turn up, questioning us what we were doing there, boiling soup in an old military mess kit in the middle of the night? In the ned the police never turned up.

It was a bit windy at the water front, but the pea soup and a further ride in to the old city made us soon warm again.

An odd place to have an odd picnic, it was nice even when I spilled pea soup on my jacket.
I guess that is a part of the experience of midnight challenges in the winter

On my fifth and final ride I decided to take a slow ride and really enjoy the calm midnight ride.

This time, I packed some sandwiches, hot water to make tea and gingerbread cookies that were leftovers from the Lucia ride. While sitting on the bench and having my picnic, I listened to my “Smoke rings” playlist on Spotify, it is a 31 hour long playlist with European jazz and dance band music from the 1930s and 1940’s. It was peaceful and nice to sit there and listen to music in the middle of night. A good ending to a fun and nice challenge.

At these times with the pandemic going on, a challenge like this is a perfect event that allows everyone to ride on their own, filling out their journals, adding photos and perhaps write one or two posts a blogs or post photos on Instagram. Just like the #solotweedride event, it becomes an interactive, an digital social event it its own way.

I read somewhere that we were about 100 riders around the world that had joined the Midnite Bicycle League Challenge 2020. It is very impressive, riders all over doing tasks in a joined event, while being on their own. The opportunity for international participants to join are amazing. It really becomes an international community where the bicycle is a mutual interest.

Riding in middle of the night creates photo opportunities

My five rides went without any problems. The old Rex turned out to be a really good bicycle, never letting me down even when riding in snow. It was also a good thing, an excuse to get out and having some fresh air in the evenings. In fact I found it so soothing and relaxing that I even took longer rides than needed. Some of the rides without any destination, only out and about on a bicycle, packing a picnic set up and having a quiet rest somewhere.

The week after I completed the challenge and sent my journal to Portland in a letter. The real winter came to Sweden. Heavy snow and really cold nights, with classical postcard views all over. Snow covered trees, icicles all over. Typical. It would have been fun with real winter photos for the challenge. Posing for a photo in snow covered tweed, that would have been a great addition to the journal.

But lastly, if there will be a Midnite Bicycle League Challenge 2021, sign me up. This was really fun, thank you for creating this great event!

Happy tweed!

Enamel cups and solo tweed rides

One of the best things with riding a vintage bicycle while dressed in tweed, is that you can stop at any time when you find a nice spot and have a rest. Often the riders with their modern bicycles, riding along as the tour de France yellow shirt was depending on it, while firmly gripping their protein shakes. Or the leisure commuter riders swooping along on their electrical bicycles.

I sometimes think that they do not have either the time or the interest of stopping by an old oak tree, just to sit there in the grass and watch the cloud drift along. Of course they might do that sometimes. But most of the time they have a schedule and destination for their ride, oak trees and sitting in the grass is most likely not a part of any of those either schedule or destination.

For tweed riders, the ride it self is the destination. There is plenty of time to sit down in the grass by the old oak tree and have a cup of tea and a cake. The picnic is just an extra part of the ride.

When you are out and about on your bicycle, perhaps you ride along some lovely roads in the countryside. Suddenly you feel a bit peckish, there is an sudden urge for something to drink or even eat. What would be the best food to eat at an moment like that?

Hot coco, a pate sandwich with cucumbers wrapped in baking paper. Tasty and easy to make.

For me it is just to have an old fashioned picnic good enough. There might be a café or pub around the next corner that offers a selection of drinks, sandwiches or something hot to eat. But if you ride along with others tweedians, while you sneaks in to a pub for a steak and ale pie, that might work if you are alone. But if you are a group of tweedians on an excursion and you dash in for a pint and a pie while your fellow riders sits on blankets in the field nearby. The other riders just might ever so slightly raise an eyebrow or two upon your decision. Now, if it was decided on before the ride that everyone should eat at the pub, well that is a different story.

Then we have the issue with planning. It is more convenient and practical to bring along a packed lunch from the start. Instead of looking for an establishment that is open and serves food and drinks that pleases everyone in the company. With your own packed lunch you always know what the menu is and the more than generous opening hours.

Let us say we are having a break on our ride in the country side, the sun is out, birds are chirping and the bicycle rides smooth as silk. You have found a nice spot in the shade of an large oak tree, overlooking green meadows and lush pastures. Now, what can you eat while sitting there?

Enamel mug and plate, on that picnic I brought along a cake and a small glass for spirits

In my most uneducated personal opinion, a packed lunch should be simple and easy to bring along on the ride. While neatly packed in your backpack or saddle bags, you can bring along lots of different items. For example, you can have cucumber and cheese sandwiches, or if you truly are feeling the spirit of tweed. Why not an version of English afternoon tea? Complete with strawberry jam, cream tea scones, Earl Grey tea and champagne. That is not a problem. As long as you are an master of packing and a hamper of the size of an small car. When it comes to food, anything goes. After all, it is you whom deicides what to bring along in your package on the ride.

What I personally have found out during all my tweed rides, is perhaps not so romantic or fancy as an afternoon tea set up with crystal glasses. But instead incredible reliable and sturdy. I like to pack my pausenbrot (breaktime snack in German) according to the “less is more” spirit. Thoughtful and effective.

I often bring along simple sandwiches with classic toppings. Sandwiches of the kind that every kid in Sweden have been eating since the dawn of time, or at least since the 1950’s. Prickig korv (salami), some cheese and why not that infamous smoked caviar on tube. The caviar that only people from Sweden and Finland eat. For me sandwiches like that is a bit nostalgic. I had those kind of sandwiches back when I was a kid and had packed lunches on school field trips, often with an added fruit as desert. When we were on our filed trips back in school, we thought our packed lunches were so boring. But it turns out that our parents knew what they were doing back then. Some sandwiches, something to drink and a fruit so you get energy to keep on, while hunting leaves, looking for elks or what ever the teacher wanted us to do.

On my tweed rides today I use to wrap my sandwiches in regular baking paper for easy transport and also for the classical feel, brown paper seems to go well with tweed. To drink I usually have a bottle of beer (remember to check your local regulations about drinking and riding a bicycle). Sometimes I bring a flask with hot water so I can make a nice cup of tea.

Salami sandwiches, just as back then. A beer, enamel cup and a small glass of punsch

Now when we have our sandwiches packed. What else should we pack to have a nice day on the ride? I think function is better than style, but if you can mix them both. That is when you have a winner! An enamel cup is suitable for anything, tea, beer, water. It even works with champagne, it might feel a bit odd. But champagne is still champagne, even if it is served in a chipped old enamel cup.

What else might you need? A small plate to serve your sandwiches or cake on, that always looks nice. A knife and fork might come in handy if you need to cut a cake or other delightful items offered to you. If you bring some fruit and vegetables in the bag. It will be cleaner to use an knife to cut the fruits than to try to cut a melon with your fingers. I also recommend to pack a spoon to stir the tea or coco, it is so uncivilized to stir with an oily screwdriver. No one does that…

Using an oily screwdriver as spoon to stir hot coco

Sometimes I use an old stainless steel food container, that my father used back in the 1970’s. It is just perfect to pack other items that are not suitable for wrapping in paper. Like cake, fruit, eggs, cheese, crackers and so on. Just be creative and line the box with baking paper and pack the items well.

A good tip is to use tableware that are robust and sturdy, hence my choice of enamel. I have noticed that many tweedians here in Sweden are using genuine vintage Swedish enamel items made by Kockums. Those are rather expensive and sometimes quite rare to find. That is why I have bought a set of no-name enamel hardware that I use, no big deal if I chip or loose the mug or plate. The mug with blue decorative rim costed about €4 in a surplus store, the plate were more expensive, about €15. But available at Skansen. I can use them and if they are chipped it is not the end of the world. Instead of an vintage enamel set in excellent condition, that would be a shame to chip or loose.

The cutlery I use, comes from older relatives. After they cleaned out some their old worn cutlery, I took care of them just because of this reason. It is the same with the vintage tea towels, they are old and really worn, in the end everything is matching, all in a vintage style.

It is always a good thing to bring an old tea towel or two along the ride. First of all, it is very handy to wrap all the items in to the towels so cutlery, bottles, plates and other items do not rattle or break anything in your bag. Sometimes I even strap my mug to the outside of the backpack or bicycle bag. That is something I noticed while attending the London Tweed Run back in 2018. Many of the riders had their enamel cups on their backpack, I guess they always wanted to be ready for a cup of tea? Who am I to do otherwise?

The towel also makes a nice tablecloth if needed and it is good to have something handy to wipe things clean after eating. So your back pack or luggage bags do not not reek of old beer, tea, orange fruit juice or other liquids that might have been seeping into every nook and cranny in your bag during the dirty dishes, causing rather unpleasant smells and embarrassing stains on your spare woollen sweater during the ride.

Lastly, it is a good idea to bring a thermos flask or/and a bottle with water, hot water and cold water. Cold water to drink, hot water for tea or coco and also be able to rinse the cutlery, cup, plate and your hands after eating. It is hygienic and easy.

My bicycle picnic set up the latest years. Enamel mug and plate, vintage cutlery and tea towels and flasks for water

London Tweed Run 2018, notice the two enamel cups on the luggage rack on the tandem bicycle

Vintage tea towel as tablecloth, it turned out really nice. Sandwiches with prickig korv and fried egg

This year has been a strange year, with everything happening in the world, there were a pandemic that made us rethink our ways of living and doing activities. We had to adopt to new ways of living, adjust our daily routines and make adjustments in our way to travel. For us tweedians, we could not attend many of our favourite events. There were regulations on how many participants was allowed to attend an event were strictly regulated. Because everyone was affected by all regulations, new improvised events were made, some smaller or even rethink the entire event.

The best example of a rethink was Tweed Ride Berlin. They planned to have their event in April. But as the regulations made it impossible to implement the tweed event, the Berlin organizers came up with the splendid idea of making an sort of internet tweed event instead. The decided to inform all to use the hashtag #solotweedride the riders could dress up and take their bicycle for a ride along or with a partner. Taking some photos and posting them online.

Crescent 1928 bicycle on a Solo tweed ride

We could use the #solotweedride hashtag to be a part of a large community. Of course it is not the same to dress up in tweed suits or lovely dresses, only to ride by your self or in a small group. Instead of riding along a big event with over 100 riders complete with music, prices and dancing.

But with that hashtag, riders all over the world, even those who could not travel to Berlin in the first place, were able to attend the event via a digital media. If you search #solotweedride on Instagram, there is about 179 post about that topic. It is great fun!

While I was doing some solo tweed rides, I found out that it is a special feeling of a relaxing bicycle ride. No specific destination, no time to keep. Only planning to relaxing without stress, or any rush. Riding the bicycle with packed bags, find a nice spot in the shade of some trees, preferably an oak tree and having an simple picnic.

It is very nice to escape reality for a couple of hours or so. For me, I discovered that riding early in the morning was so more relaxing than the afternoon. The fresh air, sun is gently warming and the streets are quiet. Pack an simple picnic, dress up in a tweed and take a ride. No need to join an event. Just make it as an Solo Tweed Ride, an unofficial tweed event.

Let us hope for a great tweed event filled 2021. Remember, there is always time for a relaxing ride on your own.

Happy new year dear readers.

Rex Duplex, 1943

I might have said on several occasions – this is my last project.

Words I will regret for a long time. Every time it is the same, this IS my last project. Then, I get hold of a new exciting and fun project of some sort. Alright, fair enough. But THIS time it will be my last project. All reddy, I notice that other tweedians glance at me with disbelief – we will see about that.

Some weeks ago a fellow tweedian and I visited the ReCycling autumn sale. It is a sort of bicycle market located just south of Stockholm. They have bicycles in the thousands, collected housing associations that are cleaning out their cellars and want to throw away the old bicycles that  takes up space. The market contains bicycles of every style, brand and condition. The range is from excellent modern racers to rusty ready-for-the-scrapyard vintage bicycles with wheels that reminds you of spaghetti that have been boiling for an hour.

The main reason for our adventure, to see the nature and take photos

We went there, more for an adventure, a nice excursion on a Friday morning. See the nature and new things. We both had set very clear boundaries to ourselves. Simply, no bicycles at any cost! That is a simple rule to follow, after all we went there by subway so we could not buy anything. We were just there to have a nice day out and about, have a quick look and then we would be on our way again. Short and simple.

We ended up staying for at least one hour looking at all sorts of bicycles. Old and new racers, strange experimental bicycles, vintage standards, odd British foldable bicycles and many many others.

There, in a heap of more or less rusty old bicycles I noticed a familiar sight. It was the shape of an vintage Swedish built Rex with the special Duplex frame. For me that bicycle are a bit special since my grandfather used one when I was a kid. I remember looking at the strange shape of the frame of his bicycle. Also, some of you might remember one of my earlier posts when I wrote about a Rex tandem bicycle I bought as a project. This is the same brand and design as the tandem, but a solo bicycle.

A Rex Duplex among all sorts of bicycles, new and old, worn and even more worn bicycles

The double top tubes makes a sweeping curve in the rear of the bicycle and the rear luggage rack is welded directly into the frame. An elegant and unusual design back in the day. When Rex came up with that type of frame design it became so popular that several other bicycle makers made their own versions of the sweeping style frame. All brands with their own twist on the design. The double frame with its sweeping frame is regarded as one of the best looking bicycle designs from that era. I must agree, it looks great and has a very special design.

The Rex was placed in the row of bicycles that costed 250 Swedish kronor (about €25). At first glance it was rusty, very rusty. The saddle had disintegrated into bits where the springs had broken off. The tires had decided to fall apart completely. In short, it was a sad mess, but it had a feel of – je ne sais quoi to it. I was intrigued by the old bicycle but my promise to my self, not buying anything weighed heavy on my shoulders. We went back to the city. But the Rex where still there in my mind. Haunting and louring.

Later that day another fellow tweedian, whom also visited the ReCycling event, wrote to me and asked me if there was something interesting on the ReCycling market. I mentioned the old and new racers, the strange experimental bicycles, all vintage standards, the odd British foldable bicycles and that there were an rusty old Rex Duplex. After some more talking back and fourth I decided to ask the dangerous question. – IF he were to visit the event. Would there be a possibillety, that if I could pay him to buy the Rex for me? – Of course, no problem. Did really I want that reply? My mind said no, but my feeling said yes.

Later that day, I were a owner to a rusty, worn, weather beaten Rex Duplex. The very kind and helpful tweedian even loaded up the Rex on his car and drove the bicycle home to me. What a kind gentleman in every way, thank you so much for all help.

250 kronor (€25) is a good price in my opinion – coming from the person that said no more projects

The Rex logo on the front fender is missing and I think the tires might need replacement…

… along with the saddle

First of all. I had a closer look at the bicycle. Trying to decide what to do with it, restore it – if that even would be possible? Or, if it was possible, use it as it is. When looking closer at the bicycle and all parts. I discovered it was most likely made in 1943 and almost all original. The rust was mostly severe surface rust, but manageable. Some parts seemed to be in quite good shape, while other parts were in a worse condition and some parts were missing. That was no problem, I still have my boxes with vintage spare parts in the basement.

In one box I found a double legged bicycle stand, that was the first thing I mounted since the Rex was missing its own stand. Fixing an bicycle is much easier if it stands by it self instead of falling over all the time. Then I removed the old plastic handlebar grips and replaced them with a pair of brown original 1940’s grips. The original, ever so slightly worn saddle was replaced by a more comfortable modern but worn Brooks B66 saddle. Sadly, I did not find an Rex logo for the mudguard, that is on the “wanted” list.

I also added an old Robo headlight along with a Robo dynamo, both connected with the classical spring that guides the electrical cord between them. The plastic rear light was cracked beyond repair, it was easy to replace it with a rear light from the 1940’s that looked way nicer than the horrible after market plastic one that was mounted. I took a long electrical cord and did a slightly improvised instalment. Suddenly there were light when applying the dynamo to the spinning front wheel. Along with the original bicycle bell, the old Rex was now completely legal to ride on the streets in the dark.

Robo headlight and dynamo along with brown original handlebar grips looks great

Patina or rust? That is the question

Now was the time to focus on the wheels. I was dreading to find out what state the rims would be in. A vintage bicycle like this that seems to be rather untouched and original would most likely have those dreaded cotton rim tapes they used back then still mounted on the rims. Their function were to prevent any sharp ends of the spokes or nipples to puncture the tube. Later on they started to make rim tapes out of rubber instead. But of some unlogical reason back in the olden days, they thought that cotton was the way to go. Especially in Sweden with winter and rain most of the year, using cotton as rim tapes. That is just silly.

The result of using cotton rim tapes and letting the bicycle standing outside for a long period of time. Rust

After removing the tires I found the original and still wet from water, cotton rim tapes! I removed them and cleaned up the rims with an wire brush, just to inspect what shape the rims were in. As I was brushing, the air was filled with dust and large flakes of rust were flying everywhere. But after a good workout with the brush the rims did not look to bad.

Again, searching the boxes. I found some spare rim tapes (made of rubber), along with tubes and a old pair of grey Duro HF-145 (44-635) tires that fitted perfectly. After putting some oil and lubricant on every moving part on the bicycle, the old Rex started to work again.

Not renovated or refurbished. Only serviced, lubricated and completed with time period parts

Colours of autumn, yellow, brown and rust

An old vintage rear light that fits the part

Torpedo hub made in 1943, the bicycle might be safe with front and rear light. But it lacks any ability to stop

I simply decided to keep the bicycle as it were in its current condition. The rusty, brown, faded colours together with the old parts seemed to work. In fact, my grandfathers old bicycle bag in water resistant galon cloth fitted the luggage rack like a hand in a glove.

That is a perfect all weather vintage bicycle. If riding my old Rex tandem feels like riding a dreadnought ship in high seas. Then this Rex single bicycle is more like a destroyer, even more so since the Torpedo rear hub have no capacity of braking, of any kind. Just like a destroyer, when started it takes a long time to stop.

Sound the alarm. All hands on deck, full speed ahead!

Lövhalkan, 2020

Yet one more tweed event. Perhaps the last tweed ride of the year. The autumn has arrived, the trees are dressed in red and yellow leafs. The cold and rain days reminds us that the summer is most definitely over for this time.

Instead of riding our bicycles dressed in short sleeve shirts, fluttering cotton skirts and enjoying in the warm summer breeze, we can instead use heavy tweed clothes, cosy knitted sweaters and sturdy boots, if not even wellingtons. Long rides in wet pavements, with the earthy fragrance of the autumn filling our noses. Or why not meet up for a tweed ride among the levees in the rain.

The Enskede Tweed Ride event “Lövhalkan” (leaf slip), took place on Saturday the 10th of October. The weather was as expected for this time of the year, cold, cloudy, rainy and rugged. Nothing a nice tweed can handle!

Bicycles packed and prepared with blankets, picnic hampers and rain proof jackets

Nostalgia, an old beer case with bags from old Swedish supermarkets

We met up at Triangelkyrkan in Enskede for some hot tea and shortbread cookies. The traditional tea at the start made us gain a bit of warmth. While the rain was keeping away, for the moment. It was fun to meet the other fellow tweedians again and to have a chat. After about an hour we decided to get on our way.

Tea and shortbread cookies was as always a tasty treat

Participants ready for the Enskede Tweed Ride autumn event 2020, Lövhalkan,

The organizer had planned a 15 kilometre ride around Enskede this year. But due to the weather the route was cut a bit shorter. But the traditional places along the ride was still there in the shortened version of the route. We rode in front of Enskede church and visited Skogskyrkogården (forest cemetery), those two sites are mandatory on every tweed ride in Enskede.

The church is a beautify building and are a very known landmark in Enskede along with all the typical houses for Enskede surrounding the church. Skogskyrkogården is one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites so it is both an important and beautiful place to visit.

The peaceful calm when visiting the cemetery really adds to the experience. After all, a tweed ride is not a tempo event or competition. It is a slow ride, taking time to enjoy the nature and studying the surroundings while peddling along.

The roads of Skogskyrkogården, a felling of being in the country side only 10 minutes from Stockholm city

After exiting the cemetery we all headed down to Tallkrogen and the field where we use to have our picnic in the summer. It was at this time during the ride when the rain really increased in strength. The grass was soaking wet and made sitting out on the field impossible.

At one side of the field there is a large maple tree, offering sheltering from the rain underneath its branches. We all parked our bicycles underneath the maple tree. There we set up our picnic and had a really nice time, some of us wrapped in blankets, while drinking hot tea or hot coco and other beverages, eating sandwiches and having a great time while listening to 1930s music from a portable speaker.

We had a really cosy time underneath the maple branches while the rain was dripping on the leafs.

Sitting underneath the big old maple safe from the rain

The rain have temporarily stopped. Grey clouds and yellow leafs, it is autum

After a while the rain stopped for a bit. That was the perfect time to be heading on our way again. Again, the ride was cut a bit short due to the rain that was threatening to drench us all. We headed almost straight to finish line at Enskede gård and the stairs in front of the mansion as usual.

Enskede mansion. Now, that would be a great place to have an tweed party

It was a short ride, but it was a great event to end the bicycle season of 2020. It has been a very strange year, in every imaginary way. Let us hope that next year will be a better one in every way! It would be fun to visit Tweed Ride Berlin, Copenhagen Tweed Ride. But most important, Winter Tweed Run Helsinki with the Tee und Tanz party afterwards.

Heading back home, thank you for this time.