Recycling at it’s finest

I have been trying to build a certain bicycle for many years now. The base of the bicycle were going to be that old Hermes frame I bought many years ago, the one with white replacement front fork. My original idea back then was to build a black 1930´s standard bicycle, based on a memory I had of an bicycle my father used to have when I was a child. Then after a while the idea transformed in to building a racer, then to a roadster, then to a… In short, I never got around to build anything. The project ended up in the back of the storage, both in my mind and in the basement, forgotten and covered in dust. Later on the frame was traded away.

After building my black racer* based on a Crescent from 1927, other tweedians and bicycle lovers was inspired to build similar bicycle. It all ended up in a discussion of what to call this style of bicycle? Everyone knows the style, but not what to call it. Almost like when you are standing with a passion-fruit in your hand and you have no idea what it is called… The mind goes completely blank.

* I realize that I have never written about that bicycle

1927 Crescent, in a home made racer-ish style

Ever since the bicycle was invented, people have been modifying bicycles. So the manufactures started to make an entire special range of bicycles, from the most standard everyday bicycle to the top of the line racers used in tour de France. But what are the models in between called?

Here in Sweden we had manufacturers of all kinds of bicycles back in the day. Different makers with models ranging from the most basic standards bicycles to cutting edge competition racers. When buying a bicycle back in the day, you could not only choose the model, you could also choose what kind of options you wanted. There were wooden rims, steel rims, caliper breaks, drum breaks, front break, stainless steel, aluminium, chrome, coaster hubs of different makers and so on. You as a customer really had to know what you wanted right from the start. Or more accurately, what your wallet allowed.

When it came to the more sporty selection there were tourist racer, special racer, training racer, track racer and if that was not enough. There were the options to every model, including the sport racers, so in the end what is the models and how should we describe them?

We were struggling to find a term for a standard bicycle that lacks mudguards, chain guard, luggage rack while having either a drop handlebars or an upside down mounted handlebars? The bicycle is single geared, without any accessories that add to the weight. Perhaps a “poor mans racer”, the look is supposed to be slim, fast and could be filed under the “less is more” category. It is a racer? No, a racer have narrow tires, gears, plenty of them as well.

We started to mention all sorts of different bicycle styles. Everyone knows what a mountain bike looks like, or a BMX, Holland bicycle, fixie, camper, mini, tandem and the range of roadsters.

My 1927 Crescent that inspired others to build half racers

After looking around the internet for a while, we quickly found a term that suits the style of bicycles we all had in mind. In English the model is called “path-racer”. The term most likely originating from the olden days, when amateur riders where racing along board tracks, wooden velodromes on a standard bicycle after they got rid of all the extra weight, with upside down turned handlebars for a more streamlined touch. There you have it, a poor mans racer.

Path-racer is the English version, but in Germany the same style of bicycle is called “halb-renner” (translates to half runner). That is perhaps the best name in my opinion. It is a half racer, not a complete racer or a complete standard more a combination bicycle. Perhaps the best term would be a combination racer, one that goes well on either public roads as well on race tracks? Or is that one definition to many?

Crescent 1934 not a standard bicycle or a racer but a tourist racer

Why do I keep going on about what to call a certain bicycle model? It is because after building my black racer earlier, a fellow tweedian got inspired by my build and decided to build a “halb-renner” him self from parts he had laying around. After talking for a bit it turned out that we were several tweedians in our amateur tweed society who had built bicycles in the same sporty style. All modified to a “less is more-runners”.

Only a few weeks later I got a question from a member of Enskede Tweed Society who was looking for a bicycle just like that. He asked if I got one to spare. No, I haven’t as for now. But I can build one for you from my spare parts if you like. My friends was thrilled and excited.

That is where my earlier project that I never finished along with all parts I had been gathering over the years came to use. It became a bit of a therapy for me to build a bicycle like this. Figuring out what parts goes along with which parts. Are we going for strictly for a 1925 style? Or should we keep a general vintage feeling of the bicycle? Perhaps it is even possible to be flexible with the build by putting together parts that are from different makers and eras to make a nice and odd bicycle? Almost like a quilt blanket.

1930’s Hermes frame and an odd front fork along with an Fram chain wheel and an Ideal saddle
Old used dust caps, bearing shells, locking nuts and other well used parts just waiting to be reused
The ever ongoing adjustments of Fauber cranks, not to tight, not to loose. Just about, right.

For the project, I decided to use that old frame I mentioned earlier. It is Uppsala made Hermes frame, dated to about mid 1930’s. In a box I found an old crank and chain wheel from the 1940’s, made by Fram in Uppsala. The handlebars and stem came from my brothers old Monark bicycle that ended up in the scrap heap after the frame cracked. The wheels came from an scrapped 1960’s Crescent and the slightly used Schwalbe tires came from a bicycle I bought many years ago. Pedals, bearings, grips and other small parts was found in boxes all over the basement. I even found a set of spare tubes for the tires, still in their boxes. An old chain and a pair of wooden grips for the handlebar were found and mounted.

In a different box marked “bicycle bells”, I found an rusty old Pärlan (pearl) bell. Pärlan is an classic Swedish made bell that have been in production since 1930’s. It fitted the rusty look of the stem and handlebars, I mounted the bell on the stem like it should be on a racer so it is just to flick the bell with your thumb. After about 1 hour building the bicycle, it was finished.

There we had it, a bicycle completely made by spare parts I did not use. Recycling in the best way.

Almost finished
The result, a mix of parts and eras. But it looks good and are solid
Front view looks impressive
Quite dramatic drop on the handlebars

Time for a test run. The riding position is slightly leaning forward in a true sporty style. Due to the shape of the upside down handlebars there is no other option then to lean forward. Two things is rather special with the build.

First, the wheel base is like a lorry. But it rides smooth, coasters great and keep balance well and runs like an arrow. I think my fellow tweedian will like the bicycle. Secondly, since the front fork is not the original, there is a slight issue with the fitting. Nothing serious. But it was a slight headache to make it 99% perfect. But it is a fun, beater, combination racer bicycle.

It is fun to build bicycles like this. If you find an old rather cheep 1930’s bicycle in a poor condition. There is no problems to remove rusty and destroyed mudguards along with all extra parts. Take a look in your drawers and forgotten boxes for some parts that might fit or add to the look of the bicycle. Then simply turn the handlebars around and there you have it, a poor mans racer, a path racer, halb-renner or, combination racer.

Quite an adventure with out mudguards, but that is nothing a hot cup of tea can fix.

In the spring we will arrange a meeting with our path-racers, halb-renners and combination- racers and ride along on our bicycles that had their heyday 80-90 years ago. Riding an vintage racer styled bicycle requires a vintage inspired relaxed style in clothing.

Why not use a pair of well used plus fours or breeches, or simply tuck down your regular trousers in the socks. Only hoping for good weather during the ride, after all with no mudguards while riding in heavy rain or on muddy roads, the ride becomes quite quickly an rather wet and spotty adventure for all riders.

Bringing along a backpack with an jacket and a sweater if needed and a small picnic is never a bad idea. Along with a spare tube and some tools, that is always a good thing to bring along. You never know when an old reused tube might get a puncture.

It is not only a great way to make use of all old parts laying in boxes collecting dust. It is also a great way to be creative. There is no guide lines to follow, no rules to abide, more than keep the look sporty. Recycling old bicycles, giving them a second, third or even tenth chance is a great thing. To make a fun project and to take care of old bicycles.

It is recycling at it’s finest, both with clothes and bicycle.

Copenhagen Tweed Ride 2021

Do you have an urge for some Danish smørrebrød, tasty beer after a ride around Copenhagen on a vintage bicycle? That is what I asked a friend who joined me for the Copenhagen Tweed Ride 2019. He replied that it sounded like a really nice idea.

The 10th anniversary of Copenhagen Tweed Ride was planed to take place in 2020, but the restrictions and pandemic made it impossible to arrange such an event at the moment. This year the recent pandemic restrictions were lifted so the Copenhagen Tweed Ride 10th anniversary was actually going to happen, the date was set at 11th of September.

I mentioned that I had this idea of smuggle my bicycle onboard a train. Just like I did when I carried the bicycle onboard the ferry to Helsinki. But instead of carrying the bicycle all the way I would ride the bicycle to the train station, dismantle the bicycle and put it in the bag. It is a cunning plan, as Baldrick in Blackadder would say. My fellow tweedian sighed, and told me that he was planing to visit Malmö at the same time and he would go by car, he could take my bicycle as well if I would like to. That was really kind and helpful. We decided to meet up in Malmö on the morning of the event and take the train over Öresund to Copenhagen with our bicycles.

The trusty old Crescent at the train station in Malmö

Some last minutes repairs and minor adjustments was desperately needed while waiting for the train on the platform in Malmö. We were done just in time when the train to Copenhagen arrived.

We arrived at Copenhagen main railway station about 30 minutes later and started our ride to Badstuestræde 12 and the shop A touch of Vintage, where the registration for the ride was located. It is always a bit scary being early for an event. The streets are empty, there is no one else dressed in tweed riding a vintage bicycle in sight. There is always the doubt – is it the the right date, are we going to the right address?

Then seeing someone else dressed in tweed, going the same direction as you makes you relax and feel relief. But being a gentleman, only a gallantly nod and greet the other rider with a cheerful, good morning. Never reveal your feelings and doubts. Keep a stiff upper lip and all that, I say.

Gathering outside A Touch of Vintage shop at Badstuestræde 12
Participants after registration and receiving a tote bag

We entered A Touch of Vintage headquarters and with a mix of Danish, Swedish and English we said hello to the organisers. After registering, we received a wooden number badge, drink and meal tickets for the picnic and party after the ride. We were told to go down stairs to receive a tote-bag filled with lovely gifts for us. In the bag there were a small bottle of Hedricks gin, Hedricks who by the way was one of many sponsors of the event. There were also a bottle of tonic water and still water, the brand of the tonic was also a sponsor. A cucumber, for the gin later on, and the magazine Tidens Tweed, with news, information and a map of the 24 kilometre ride. There were also a lapel pin in the bag, to commemorate the Tweed Ride 10th year anniversary. What a great treat!

Copenhagen Tweed Ride 2012 – 2021

After packing the tote bag in to my old backpack, we headed out to Nytorv. Where the traditional group photo was to be taken of us 150 riders. While waiting for everyone to join, we walked around, admiring vintage and new bicycles, talking to other tweedians. Some riders had some interesting accessories, for example wine bottle hanger in leather mounted on the bicycle frame. Even a holster, holding a tea cup with plate for attaching to a bag, rather exclusive and elegant. Quite the opposite to my own beaten up old enamel cup hanging from the straps on my backpack, clanging whilst bouncing over every little bump in the road.

Gathering at Nytorv
Details are everything, notice the cord tightening the umbrella to the handlebar

I might have explained why in an earlier post, but the reason is rather simple. By having the cup like that, it doesn’t take up any space or presses against my back in the backpack, if the packing gets shifted during the ride. The best and most logical reason is that it is easy to grab the cup when drinks are offered along the day. No need to unpack your entire luggage to get the cup.

While we were standing at Nytorv, a nice lady came up to us and informed that Vinho, yet one more of the sponsors, were offering a taste of port to the riders who had brought their own glasses. We got our enamel mugs ready with the a lightning speed. The lady laughed when she saw us, she even asked if she could take a photo of us with our enamel mugs. Of course.

The time had come for the group photo. Directions, a bit to the left, a bit here, go there, everyone stand still. “click”. Following the photo was a introduction by the organisers of the event and some rules for us riders. Following us there were motorcycle officials, they were going to make sure we were safe during the ride. Sadly, I did not catch much of the information because I was standing in the back row, furthest away and my Danish is, shall we say – a bit rusty?

Time to start the ride

After the information, it was time to mount our bicycles and the ride was about to start. The weather seemed to clear up from the heavy rain clouds that had been dragging along the ground earlier. The sun was desperately trying break through, just as the first riders headed on their way. Music was playing and bicycle bells were chiming. Copenhagen Tweed Ride 2021 had officially started.

We rode along the streets going here and there. There were no need for a map, just follow the other riders, ring your bicycle bell and enjoy the ride. I realized one of the informations I did not hear, was that the motorcycle officials had no authority to stop the traffic as last time. We had to stop by red lights as regular cyclists. Usually that is not a problem at all, but I think that Copenhagen have some of the most narrowest intervals of green light I have ever experienced. Standing by a red signal for a long time, then a short burst of green… and red light again. Blink your eyes and you missed it.

Heading in to where the royalty lives, did they see us?
Yet one more red light. But it was an opportune to meet the always dashing Tom again
Riding along Nyhavn

At one point we even lost the riders in front of us at an red light, due to its long red interval. The other riders in front kept on going and disappeared behind a bend. When the lights went green for us, we decided to ride fast for a bit, trying to catch up the riders in front. But then, one more red light. Now we were lost. I guess it might have been rather obvious to the pedestrians, because an lady walking her dog, came up to us and said that the others, who are dressed just like you, went left at the cross road ahead. Thank you dear madam! Green light, onwards again, after turning left the other riders was waiting for us a bit further down the road.

After riding for a while seeing many new places in central Copenhagen, it was time for the picnic. The weather had shifted from rain to scorching sun during the ride and it was a bit hot and humid for wearing tweed. But fear not. A refreshing gin and tonic awaited us at the picnic. We put up our blanket underneath a tree, unpacked our sandwiches, vegetables and drinks.

Beside gin and tonics, we were treated with a barbershop quartet walking around among us singing. Cheers, laughs, glasses were clinging and champagne corks popping. As always, Copenhagen Tweed Ride picnic offers a very relaxing and lovely time.

Time for picnic
…with lots of gin and tonic thanks to the Hendricks
Not the most common picnic, but sometimes you have to improvise
Parked bicycles waiting for the second part of the ride
An old beer crate

After an announcement from the organiser that we should be on our way in 10 minutes, we packed all our gear and went to our bicycles, preparing for the second leg of the route.

The route treated us with more red lights and interesting sights of the city. But also finding out that pavement and bicycle lanes were often covered in smashed glass shards. Of course, there have been glass shards on the ground during every event I have visited. But the amount of shards in Copenhagen was simply astounding. Somehow I managed to avoid an puncture during the ride, I am sure it was only due to I had brought an spare tube, along with tools and an pump. If I had left anything at home, I would have got a puncture right at the train station in Malmö first thing in the morning.

Riding the streets of Copenhagen

Nearing the end of the ride we arrived at an fairly long hill going up at the old Carlsberg brewery. It would not have been any problems for me, if I had been able to push on at high speed going up the hill. But when riding in a group, you must show consideration and respect to the other riders. The tempo going up was rather slow.

There I was, trying to create some momentum on a Crescent from 1927 with gearing more suitable for fast cruising on smooth country roads, not climbing cobblestone pawed hills while riding slow. My knees yelled at me, begging me to step down and walk up the hill. But there was the temptation of a cold, refreshing beer at the end of the hill. I, must, keep, on, going, just a bit longer. After the hill, there were just a short distance left to the finish line at Bjælkehuset.

Just before dinner at Bjælkehuset

There we were, at the finish of Copenhagen Tweed Ride 2021. It was time to sit down, have a beer and relax. Let the steam air out of the old tweed. Cooling down with a tasty beer. It was lovely, and was just the award needed after a 24 kilometre bicycle ride. After some meet and greet with other participants we had dinner. Wonderful delicious smørrebrød, home made cupcakes for dessert and more beer.

After the dinner the price ceremony started. Lovely prices as usual, gifts from the sponsors and other items where handed out to best dressed ladies, gentlemen, nicest bicycle, best picnic setup and so on. Applauds and cheers for the winner as well for the motorcycle officials and their work during the day and of course an huge applaud for the organisers that managed such a great event.

Prizes ready for the winners
Sing-along text, beer and smørrebrød

Later in the evening it was time for us to be on our way, we thanked the organisors and headed to the city on our bicycles. We had a train to catch back to Malmö, in a few hours time. But before the train, as last time, we decided to visit Saint Nikolai church and restaurant Maven. We had a beer, discussed the day and many other things that came to mind during the evening. It is a nice way to say goodbye to Copenhagen for this time.

On our way to Saint Nikolai church
Tradition, a farewell beer at Maven

It is a bit sad to come home after an event like this. The long anticipation for an event is over. Especially with the last two years of lockdown, restrictions and regulations that kept us from participating in tweed events like this. It is almost the same feeling like when we were little children and did not want to go to bed at night. It was simply to fun, the fun could have kept on going just for a little bit more.

But, at the same time. There are tweed rides planing all the time, almost every city has a ride. If not right now, there will be more rides in the future. During the wait, there is always the possibility to make a #solotweedride. Dressing up, pack a small picnic, bring out the old bicycle and just enjoy the ride.

On a personal note. By completing the Copenhagen Tweed Ride 2021, I have also completed my Scandinavian Tweed Ride 2021. During three weeks in September I managed to visit tweed events in Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

All three events with the same 94 year old Crescent. It never had any issues travelling the streets in Uppsala, going up hills in Norway or bouncing over cobblestones in Copenhagen. They sure knew how to make lasting bicycles back then.

Until next time, happy tweed.

The old Crescent, made in Stockholm 1927

Husqvarna 1939, the search for a three speed bicycle

Back when I was a kid, my father modified an relatives old 1940’s bicycle. It was well used and my father had an idea of mounting a set of wheels on the bicycle that was collecting dust in the garage. After some adjustments and mechanical wizardry, he got the bicycle running. I was about that age that I needed an real bicycle so he gave me the old bicycle as an everyday ride. There I went, with the seat lowered as much as possible. To school, the shops, riding to friends and one or two occasionally ride to the hot dog stand for a snack.

To be honest, that bicycle had an huge impact on me. Not only because it was my very first adult bicycle I used at an regular basis. But more of the wheels my father had mounted. They were laced with Sturmey Archer hubs, drum brake both front and rear. The rear hub had three speeds and that was a first for me. Being able to shift gears, pedal backwards without braking, it was amazing.

Husqvarna 1939

On the handlebars were the shifter, an delicate little thingy. By pulling the lever towards you, the first gear got connected. Perfect for going up hills and starting at traffic lights. When moving the lever up one notch, there we found the second gear. The normal gear, smooth sailing on the streets, just listen to the hub silent ticking along the way, like a purring cat that had cream for dinner and are enjoying the sun. Pushing the lever all the way up, we have the third gear. Now we are going down hills in a lightning speed, the stream of wind is immense and fills the eyes with tears. Three gears. That is it, no more, no less. Simply perfect!

The old drum brakes that was most likely designed back in the Napoleonic era made sure your stops would be smooth as silk, even when pulling the levers for an emergency stop. The brakes were more of an – well let us take it easy and gently ease to an halt, shall we? Or, if adjusted even so slightly tighter, the brakes would seize up and make the sound of an old bus slamming the brakes at a stop just before hitting an ice cream van. After a while you learned to either brake well in advance, or not at all. In either way. The one great lesson we learn early on, was to look far ahead and read the traffic and brakes are rather nice to have.

Rear view
Gear shifter

Sadly the bicycle was left behind a shed in one of many moves over the years. But the memories of the old bicycle remained, it was a special bicycle for me in many ways. Not only because the three speed gears, but it was an relatives bicycle that had been in the family for a long time. But back then, an old bicycle was only that, an old bicycle. Nothing special at all, simply an old rusty, worn and well used bicycle.

Many years later I discovered the Society Of Three Speeds. It looked like a fun thing to be a part of, riding a bicycle, participating in different challenges, all with a three speed bicycle. But after reading the qualifications, I realized that I could not participate in any of those events. Simply by not having a three speed bicycle that was according to Society Of Three Speeds rules. The gears is supposed to be internal. The only gear systemn I had was the suicide derailleur and that design was on the outside!

After thinking for a while I decided to re-lace a wheel with an old Torpedo three speed hub that I had in one of my boxes. It was made in 1941 and my initial idea was to mount the hub on an bicycle from the same year so it would be a perfect match. The only bicycle I could replace the standard hub on, turned out to be damaged in some strange way so that ones had do be disregarded. The other candidate I had was just a tad to modern, the green Husqvarna by being from 1948. It was not quite what I had in mind. I was procrastinating, and did not made anything with the hub or bicycle. Back to square one.

An old ASEA head light with a visor that I have used on other bicycles before
Close up on the head badge
Really worn Husqvarna bell

One day I noticed an classified ad online, about an red Husqvarna from 1939 that was for sale. It was almost the same style of bicycle as the green Husqvarna. But what really caught my eye was, the bicycle in the ad was equipped with… Look and behold, Sturmey Archer hubs with drum brakes and a three speed rear hub. It was the same set up as when I was a kid. I told the seller that I would like to look at the bicycle. After meting up in the city a few days later, a deal was made. Money changed hands and I went on my way with a new bicycle.

After a short ride, I realized. I hadn’t bought a bicycle, I had bought an time machine. For the first time since mid 1980’s I rode an bicycle with three gears and after only 10 meters I knew how to slightly pedal backwards while shifting gears. That might not be the way to do it, but it was how I was learned to do back then. The drum brakes eased the bicycle to a stop, the hub ticked happily along. Just as I remembered from when I was a kid. The only question I had while riding the bicycle was why I haven’t bought a three geared bicycle earlier?

This is the way to ride, adjust the peddling slightly along the way in relation to the gradient of going up or down hills. Just stop peddling for a moment, flip the lever on the handlebar with your index finger ever so slightly, and first gear slides in to place and ride like the wind up the hill. Or when going like a dive bomber down the hill on third gear.

Sturmey Archer AB hub made in may 1950
Sturmey Archer front hub

The bicycle seems to be an Husqvarna from 1939, that I suspect might be an renovation from 1950’s. That is due to the year stamp on the hubs, whilst the rimes seem to be original. The seat post screw is painted and according to what I was told earlier. That it was a sure sign of an bicycle shop renovation. Back in the 1950’s it was very common to have older bicycles renovated by an local shop, the upgrade was cheaper than a new bicycle. The repainted the frame and other parts that were in good condition. Upgraded some parts and changed others.

This red Husqvarna seems to been upgraded a lot. First of all it got aluminium Novo orthopaedic pedals. Those were the latest development in how to be careful about your feet back in the late 1940’s. The chain guard is also made out of aluminium, not the best choice of material when it comes to a chain guard with all scratches, oil, grease and dirt stains. Then we have the mud guards, they are also made of… aluminium. Very thin aluminium, in fact they are so fragile that I suspect if a fly lands on them, the fly will make a dent in the metal. The mud guards have all kind of different holes in them, almost like a factory preset, “our mud guards will fit any bicycle, with any accessories. Buy them and do not regret it”. All those upgrades makes the red Husqvarna a time stamp of the time when bicycles were taken care of so they could last for many years to come.

Aluminium chain guard, mud guards and pedals
Novo Orthopaedic pedals
1950’s rear light and a slightly corroded rear mud guard

As I am told, aluminium reacts to other metals and corrodes. That explains the damages on the rear fender. Over the years the mount for mudguard brackets and the mandatory cat eye reflector, have corroded a hole in the aluminium. But fear not! I had an old rear light in slightly thicker aluminium from the 1950´s that fitted just perfect. Mounted with an small leather patch as isolation against the guard I guess the corrosion will be 50% less, since it have taken about 70 years for the aluminium to corrode. I will manage just fine the nest 20 years. Beside the aluminium rear light mounted on the aluminium mudguard, looks like an work of art.

The weight of the bicycle, along with the front and rear lights, dynamo and especially with the Sturmey Archer hubs and with a frame that was made in an era when they manufactured bicycles out of solid iron (so it seems). Makes it a really heavy bicycle. After all, it is red and have British hubs, perhaps it is an vintage Routemaster in disguise made in Sweden. That might explain the special sound when stopping. It is a bus?

There are still some minor adjustments and repairs to do on it, like changing the tape holding the shifter cable mounts and so on. But as the car enthusiast says – it is a rolling renovation. I will renovate and fix it along the way. The winter is long and cold up here in the north, there is plenty of time for preparation for tweed events 2022.

But now it is time to shift in to the first gear and gently be on my way to the hot dog stand for a snack, just as back in the early 80´s.

Uppsala Vintage Biking 2021

The Uppsala Vintage Biking’s 5 year anniversary was set for Saturday the 4th of September. To celebrate the anniversary the organisers had decided to do something special for us. They had arranged a train ride for all riders out on the country side, not any train ride. No, a ride with Lennakatten, an old steam train. We would load our bicycles in to a freight car and enter a vintage train carriage, just like they were back in the 1930’s. Now, that is rather exclusive first. How many tweed ride events around the world have included a vintage train ride as a part of the event?

We were a group of tweedians whom met up at a train station in Stockholm at half past seven in the morning. Guess our surprise when the commuter train rolled in to the station and was jam-packed with sleepy morning commuters on their way to work. That early in the morning? Well, no more with that, it was just an matter of trying to get onboard the train with our bicycles and belongings.

Perhaps it is a sign of living in an large city. But when 7 tweed dressed bicycle riders along with their vintage bicycles, one even being a penny farthing. No other commuter did even glance at us. Everyone was behaving like it was just as normal part of their everyday life.

Some stops later on everyone exited, so we were alone to enjoy the ride, watching the landscape swooshing by on the outside on our way towards Uppsala.

At the train station, the same location as last year
Not everyday an penny farthing is sighted on a commuter train

Arriving at the former Nymans bicycle industries in Uppsala, we met up with the organisers and other tweedians. The sun started to slightly warm the chilly morning temperature and the weather looked very promising for a great bicycle and tweed day. We were going to work up some heat by ride our bicycles and work up some appetite for the picnic later on so the weather was perfect with clear blue skies and a bit chilly temperature. But first, we headed to the registration to receive our starting numbers and learn some information from the organisers.

During the registration, I was asked by the organiser if I could help with the loading and unloading of all bicycles at the steam train and if I wanted to help out with being a Marshal for the ride. Of course, I would help out! I was handed a red flag, with I could stop cars and others while we were riding in the city later on during the day.

The time had come to start the ride, we all gathered out on the street and headed on our way to the station.

Bicycles and tweed outside the former Nymans bicycle factory
More penny farthings getting ready for departure

The loading of bicycles was easy as pie. There were at least 4 persons from the staff of the train that managed the loading of the bicycles onto the train. I did not event had anything to do, more than looking like a supervisor. After loading all bicycles and entering the coach it felt rather nice, comfortable seats, nice interior and as the train pulled out from the station, it was a great ride. Bumpy, slow, noisy and wonderful.

It was quite a feeling to ride a vintage bicycle while dressed in tweed to a 1930’s train huffing and puffing steam around us. If it weren’t for mobile-phones and that we all were using facemasks on the train it would been like a scene from an old 1940’s movie.

Traveling by train in a 1940’s style
At our destination at Skölsta station
Time to head back to Uppsala.

After de-embarking the train at our stop. We gathered out on the road leading back to Uppsala. As it turned out, they were making some road work on the road, the tarmac was gong revealing the gravel underneath. The ride became a very authentic 1930 scene for a while. Old train, old bicycles, cloths in an old style and a gravel road with pine trees on the sides. Again, it was just like an old 1940’s movie.

Soon after we arrived at our first stop at Vaksala church. The organiser told us about some of the history of the area, about the many ancient monument that exists all over the region, dating as far back as to the stone age. After the interesting guiding we went for a short ride to the nearby rectory gardens to have our picnic. The garden was a very nice place to have a picnic, to sit underneath the trees while eating, drinking and talking with each others. There were also time to admire our bicycles that were parked in the lovely surroundings of the garden.

Vintage bicycles parked in the garden
Uppsala Vintage Biking participants having sandwiches, lemonade, soft drinks, tea and biscuits.
Some even had a beer along with the classic Swedish sausage sandwiches, eggs and bell pepper.
A modern Swedish made penny farthing
On our way again, towards Uppsala centre

After a while it was time to get going again. As we came closer to the city, the traffic got heavier and more intense. It was time for me to start work with my flag and stopping traffic so the parade could stay together. I had to advance to the front of the group rather quickly. Blocking the traffic, letting all riders pass. Keeping an eye contact with the drivers in the cars, thanking them with a nod, while removing the flag and advance onwards to get in front of the group again to do the same thing at the next cross road.

As it turned out, I stopped the traffic on the left side and another marshal stopped the traffic on the right side of the parade. It was a good system, the organiser leading the ride stopped first, I took over as he went a head of the group and I made sure that everyone was gathered, sometimes even rushing the riders on a bit.

It was great to have my old Crescent racer, that way I could really get some speed to advance. In fact, I might just have been a bit to fast and passing some riders a bit to close. There were some opinions from a tweedian later, on how fast I was going, scaring some riders. Well, sometimes speed is of the essence and I had to pass everyone on their side without crossing over into the oncoming traffic. .

Later on, we stopped by a park that had a lovely view of Uppsala castle in the background. It was time for some individual photos. The photo session took some time and it was a well needed rest for me. After the photos were taken, we headed into the central city of Uppsala where the organiser had arranged for us all to enjoy a glass of sparkling wine beside Fyrisån. That was really a treat, having a drink in the sunshine by the water stream that runs in the city.

After the sparkling wine, it was a short distance until our final destination at Botaniska trädgården. Sadly during my marshal work I had no time to take photos, so there are no city views for you this time. When arriving at Botaniska trädgården I was rather hot and needed a rest, but almost right away after arriving we went to the stairs for the traditional group photo. Trying to look normal, or at least not affected by the strain. Adjust the tweed, hold you bicycle, look at the camera and, everyone say Tweeeeeed “click”…

Then it was time for some socializing, talking about the day and having some refreshments. The organiser announced it was time for the price ceremony. Best dressed lady, best dressed gentleman, best looking bicycle and some extra prizes. Everyone I talked to agreed that the winner for best dressed lady was just spot on! She had an lovely blue dress with matching hat and looked amazing. Sadly, I was standing to far away to take any photos for the ceremony.

The organisers thanked us all for participating, if it weren’t for us, there would´t be an event at all. But what an event and great 5 year celebration this was. Riding a steam train, having a picnic in a rectory garden out on the countryside, having sparkling wine in the city by the the water. It was really a lovely and wonderful tweed day in every way.

Flygsoldat (air soldier) W. immortalize us with his 1930’s Contax camera

The event was now officially over. It has become a nice tradition that we in the “tweed gang” were heading towards a restaurant for some drinks and dinner. Meting at the train station in the morning. Ride our bicycles in Uppsala, while having a great time and at the day end with a nice dinner before heading back to Stockholm by train.

Tweed events are so much more than dressing up, using a vintage bicycle and ride along. It is about the community, all friends that like to do things like this, along with others. In the end I think that is the real prize of a tweed ride.

Happy tweed fellow tweedians!

Tweed Run Norway 2021

Finally the restrictions had lifted enough for the organizers to arrange Tweed Run Norway 2021. The date was August 28th and early it was made sure that those of us who had bought tickets for the 2020 event, had their tickets simply transferred to the 2021 event instead. It was a generous and kind gesture by the Tweed Run Norway’s organisers to do so and many tweedians was looking forward to the 2021 tweed and bicycle event.

We have all improvised during the pandemic. We have kept up the spirit to finally joining an event when the situation returned to something, less restricted in the world. At the same time, I also think that the organisers of tweed and bicycle events wanted to see us tweedians to join their events again, just as much as we want to participate. An mutual friendship in a true tweed spirit.

Of course there are still regulations, we still need to be careful, keeping our distance to each other and follow the guidelines set by health organisations and official authorities. But that is something we have to live with for a while, as well as being careful, showing respect and consideration towards each other. That is something we always should do.

By creating the #solotweedride hashtag along with other small improvised events we brought rays of sunshine in the dark and grey everyday life that the recent 19 months brought along. But those small events are something filled to 100% with a feel-good and joyful spirit. An hashtag online is great. But something rather simple, yet so important like meeting others that share the interest for history, dressing up, having a picnic and riding bicycles creates a sense of sanity that was well needed.

Tweed Run Norway 2021 was the first large event for long time and well longed for. Attending a tweed event like this makes the future look a bit brighter.

A ferry ride in the morning to attend the 2021 version of Tweed Run Norway

In 2019 the registration along with the start was located at the front of Quality Hotel in central Fredrikstad. But this year the registration and start location was moved to the other side of the river Glomma in Gamlebyen, just beside the Kommendant gardens. Very close to where we had our after-ride party in 2019.

To get there we had to catch ferry, and I must say it was a rather nice way to start the day. First riding our bicycles down to the water front, embarking on the ferry, standing outside enjoying the sun and breathing in the sea breeze – lovely!

We were among the first to arrive at Gamlebyen for registration where we were greeted and welcomed back to Norway by the organisers. It was really great to meet old friends and say hello, at the same time more and more tweedians arrived from all directions.

We talked about our tweed lifestyles and telling anecdotes about other tweed and bicycle events while admiring our tweed suits, vintage dresses and old bicycles. We all felt really happy to attend a tweed event again, both us who have attended many events, but also new tweedians that never had participated in an tweed event before. It was very nice to see all riders dressed in all sorts of tweed outfits, summer dresses, lovely hats and colourful sweaters along with vintage bicycles in strict original condition, modified modern bicycles and there were even some electric assisted bicycles. It was all a great mix of everything, as it should be.

Gathering after visiting the registration to receive our starting numbers
Team Brompton
Time to get ready for the ride

After a while the organisers announced that stat was due in a few minutes and that the route had been changed since last time with some extra hills, where we embark our bicycles and walk up the hills. Shortly thereafter we gathered around with our bicycles and formed a line.

After the start we headed straight into to the suburbs of Old Fredrikstad. The first part was almost the same route as last time, only backwards. As it turned out, a jazz festival were going on at Gamlebyen at the same time as our ride, there were many spectators who waved and smiled at us when we came riding by with our chiming bicycle bells. A truly festive feeling while riding along gravel paths and on cobblestone streets in-between the old houses. Very picturesque surrounding for us to enjoy while cruising by.

Going underneath the Fredrikstad Bridge on our way to Sellebakk
In the woods by the river Glomma
Many tweedians attended the ride
Tea break at Sellebakk square

Following the river Glomma, we arrived at Sellebakk for a tea break. There was a stand with large containers with hot tea water, lovely china cups and saucers along with cakes, cookies and pastries, all for us to enjoy. For the more thirsty riders there were even ice cold beer bottles waiting for us in ice filled trays.

After after riding on gravel roads in the forest along the river, an ice cold beer to wash away the dust in our throats was really was the bees knees. Following up on the beer with a nice cup of hot tea and cake, while listening to a small group of musicians playing jazz as entertainment was a really nice and refreshing tea break.

After a while we headed down to the shore for a short trip with the ferry across to Lisleby on the other side of the river. Due to pandemic restrictions, the ferry could only take 20 people at the time so after leaving the ferry we were instructed to go up a steep hill and wait up there for the others to catch up.

On the top of the hill, we all could enjoy Lisleby musikkorps orchestra playing marching music for us. It was really impressive and great playing by the band. We applauded and chimed our bells as appreciation before mounting our bicycles for the next stage of the route.

Lisleby musikkorps were playing while
we were gathering at the top of the hill and enjoying the music
A rider with a modern version of a penny farthing came along for the event

This time the route took us along roads and bicycle paths across the suburbs into a gravel path that divided a wheat field. Sunflowers in a impressive row welcomed to the countryside. The gravel path led us in to the forest of Fredrikstadmarka, that is a large forest area just north of Fredrikstad, that is popular for hiking and nature experience with a good network of walking and bicycle paths. But to get in to the woods we had to walk up a narrow path more suitable for mountain goats.

It was a tough climb, many of us tweedians were panting and gasping up the hillside, firmly leaning against our bicycles. Many of us saw glistening gin and tonics flash before our eyes by the pure strain during the mountaineering-esque climb.

At the top of the hill the organisers had arranged for everyone to have lemonade and orange drinks as refreshments for everyone. It tasted lovely and did the trick by reviving energy and cooling down the slightly overheated tweeds for the rest of the ride.

A short pause among sunflowers and wheat
On our way towards the hills
We got aware that Norway have many hills, steep hills.
Orange and lemon soft drinks was well needed refreshments…
…before we had to walk up even more hills
Along the paths in Fredrikstadmarka

The route through Fredrikstadmarka forest, with it’s large pine trees casting dark shadows was really scenic, almost mythical. We heading along paths leading back towards central Fredrikstad and shortly after exiting the forest we ended up at Bratliparken. That was the location for our picnic and the end of the ride. At the park we all heard DJ Danny Midnight playing 75 rpm records on vintage gramophones. It really captured the “tweedian” feeling quite spot on and made a lovely ambience for our picnic.

Picnic at Bratliparken
A mix of modern and vintage bicycles

After the picnic some participants decided to depart and head home. The rest of us who decided to stay for the after-party in central Fredrikstad started the decent down the hills towards central Fredrikstad and Hoi Polloi bar for some refreshments and meet n’ greet.

It was a really nice event in every way. Well, the hills was a bit rough. But we all understood that the last year had effected everything, especially the possibilities to organize an event like with about 150 riders. To arrange an event like this in a country that had been subjected to a complete lockdown up to only a few months ago, really sets an level commitment from the organizers. Our hats off for them, they did a great job and presented a great event.

The after party at Hoi Polloi with music by DJ Danny Midnight

Tweed Run Norway will return next year on the 3rd of September 2022. There might be a different route and other adjustments by then. But that is something the future will tell. The only way to find out how next event will be is to be there next time. Perhaps we will see you there?

Until next time, or as they say in Norwegian…

På gjensyn!