Nordic Tweed 2019, part 1

It took a year, costed lots of money, but I did it! Not only was I able to do it, I am the only one who has done it so far as I know. What am I talking about you may ask?

It all started about a year ago in the autumn of 2018. I had attended tweed events in Sweden, Norway and Finland and someone said to me that I had now done the Nordic countries. That got me thinking. No, I had not done the Nordic countries, since I had not been in Denmark on a tweed event.

After all, Copenhagen is close to Sweden. It is only for me to travel with the train from Stockholm, and 6 hours later I would be in Copenhagen. Perhaps I would attend Copenhagen Tweed Ride? But, there was one more small detail with the Nordic. Island is among those countries, is there an tweed event on Island?

I looked around the internet for any information and there it was, Tweed Ride Reykjavík! It was at that moment I got the idea of attending all the Nordic countries during the same year. It was going to require careful planing. Finding out when all events was held, then apply for vacation from work, get tickets and all other things. It all had to match up, in order to make the Nordic Tweed 2019.


My Nordic Tweed 2019 outfit, I mounted the medal on the last Nordic tweed event in Stockholm

First, I started by checking all information on internet about the Copenhagen and Reykjavík events. Back tracing their previous events and calculate the approximately dates for the events in 2019.

The first event of the year was Helsinki Winter Tweed, that is always a bit floating around in the middle of February. But that did not matter. After all, how many tweed events are there in February? Then we have the Fredrikstad Tweed Run, that is usually planed to be held in the shift between August and September. Stockholm Bike in Tweed is always in the last part of September and Copenhagen Tweed Ride seemed to usually be held in the first part of September. Finally there was the event in Reykjavík, it seemed like it was often held in the end of May. My planing was looking good so far.

I wrote down all my estimated guesses of dates on a paper to see if there were any conflicts among the events and realized quite soon that it was possible for me to attend all five events, without any major problems. A few weeks and emails later I had all the dates set. Now, it was only a matter of applying for vacation from work and looking for a way to travel to all events with my bicycle.

Vacation was approved, tickets were bought. It was time…

 

The first event, Helsinki Winter Tweed Run 2019

This was going to be my third time attending the event in Helsinki. I had previously boarded the cruise ships by riding the bicycle onboard via the car deck. It was simple an effective way to travel with the bicycle. This time I was the only one riding a bicycle in our party. I came up with the brilliant idea of instead riding onboard I could carry the bicycle in a special bag.

Using my stripped down black racer, simply dismount the bicycle and put the frame and wheels in the bag. I could take the bicycle to Copenhagen later on travelling the same way, using in the same bag. Simply carry the bag containing the bicycle on my shoulder onto the train, easy!

I will never ever do that again! That was stupid of me. There are, believe it or not, a huge difference between a bicycle made in 1927 and one made in 2017. A modern bicycle are light weight, has quick releases on the wheels and are easy to handle. A bicycle from 1927 is made of pure iron, mined deep down at the centre of earth, the frame is filled with anti matter from outer space. To say that the bag was a tad heavy is the understatement of this year. After carrying the bag containing the bicycle onboard the cruise ship, I later discovered large nasty bruises after the straps had badly torn the my skin on my shoulders.

The event was fun and I had a great time as always. Sadly I could not attend the party afterwards, the party is the main part of the event. But this time I had to go back to the cruise ship that afternoon.


Helsinki Winter Tweed Run (thanks to Tomi for the photo)

 

The second event, Tweed Ride Reykjavík

There was no other way to get to Island but to fly. So how would I bring my bicycle over there? I choose the airline company Norwegian, after reading on their internet site that it was a possibility to bring bicycles along as a special luggage. The rules were simple. I had to pack the bicycle in a bag, remove the pedals, turning the handlebars sideways and deflating the tires to make handling and storage easier. It all looked promising.

But the question for me was, how would I get my bicycle to the airport? You are allowed to bring your bicycle onboard the local commuter train that passes by Arlanda airport, BUT you are not allowed to get of at Arlanda if you travel with your bicycle.

To be honest I never checked the Arlanda express train, that is the direct train departing from Stockholm central station. To get to that train I had to ride my bicycle into the central station, carrying the special bag for the bicycle and also my bag with clothes. I would needed a transporter bicycle for all that luggage.

Of course, I could have rented a car and driven to Arlanda with my bicycle as luggage, or asked a relative, or asked a friend to drive me to the ariport with my bicycle and luggage. That was really not an option for me, call it stubbornness or wanting to be self-reliant.

I made contact with Jon, the organizer Reykjavik Tweed Ride, via Facebook. He kindly replied to all my strange questions about the date of the event and if there was perhaps an possibility to rent an bicycle on location? After realizing that travelling with an bicycle would cause me a slight headache, I remembered how I did when I attended London Tweed Run last year. The organizers had teamed up with some bicycle rental shops. It all worked out back then in London riding a rental bicycle, it was not my bicycle. But it was a bicycle. That it all what matters, to have a bicycle. Preferably with two wheels and a brake.

Jon told me that he had one or two bicycles available to rent for the event. That was just marvellous, now I could focus on ordering tickets from Norwegian. I meet Jon in Reykjavík and joined the event, what an event it was. Lovely people, amazing city and breathtaking views. During the event I was invited to come back next year. It is very tempting to go back, see more of Island and the amazing nature.


Tweed Ride Reykjavík

 

The third event, Tweed Run Norway (Fredrikstad)

This was my second time I attended Tweed Run Norway. As last year, my friend who also were going for the same event, was driving his car and offered to take my bicycle along in his cargo bay. That was very kind and generous of him.

Since I like travelling by train, I looked up tickets to Norway. It turned out that IF the trains actually did run on the dates I wanted to go. The tickets were so expensive, that it made me consider to fly there instead. After checking with Norwegian airline website again, I quickly found it was cheaper to fly by plane than travel with the train. Also, the plane did fly on the dates I wanted to travel. For the second time this year I used Norwegian and flew abroad for an tweed event.

Tweed Run Norway was a great event in every way. The after-party with Mr B, the gentleman rhymer is something special in every way! Again, I was invited to join next year. Tempting, to say the least.


Tweed Run Norway

 

The fourth event, Copenhagen Tweed Ride

Back in December 2018, I wrote an message on Facebook to the organizers of  Copenhagen Tweed Ride if the event would be on the 14th of September? I got a lovely reply from them explaining, that the Copenhagen Tweed Ride was always held on the second Saturday on September, to avoid schedule collisions. My plan was working!

Again, there was the familiar issue of how to get there with my bicycle. As an red tape in all my travel in connection with tweed events, the disappointment of trying to travel with trains is a large part. First of all, in Sweden, bicycles are not allowed onboard long distance trains. Secondly, if I would put the bicycle in a bag, it is not guaranteed that I am allowed onboard the train with such a large bag. The train personnel have the right to refuse travellers bringing to large luggage onboard the train. Should I risk carrying the heavy bag onboard the train only to perhaps be refused? If that were the case, the entire trip would be wasted.

Again, I remembered London and the recent Reykjavik events where I instead rented a bicycle. Why not renting a bicycle in Copenhagen? I wrote to the Tweed organizers again and asked if they perhaps had an deal with any bicycle rentals for the event. They sent an kind replied back to me, saying that sadly they did not have any deal with a rental, as for now. But if I was staying at an hotel in Copenhagen, the hotel would most likely have an bicycle I could borrow. Of course! That was an option I never thought of, after all Copenhagen is second largest bicycle city in the world. I think only Amsterdam has more bicycles.

When I booked the hotel, I wrote an email to them asking about renting bicycles from the hotel and yes, they had bicycles for rent available. That was perfect, to the matter of travelling. Once more I checked with the trains. That was when the adventure started. First of all there were no tickets available those dates when I was looking in the spring. Because it was only possible to book tickets for a train journey in the autumn after the summer, when they had released the tickets. But in the springtime, there were no available tickets. Then it was an matter of construction work so the trains did not go the dates I needed to travel. Sounds familiar?

For the third time this year I checked with Norwegian airways. They had flights that suited me perfectly. A ticket from Stockholm to Copenhagen and back, was cheaper than a ticket with the train. That really makes you think. If we are going to focus on the environment. Let us bring bicycles on the trains, and have cheaper tickets travelling by train rather than airplanes. Personally I do not mind sitting 6-7 hours on a train, as long I feel it is worth it. It all comes down to what is the personal gain is in the issue.

Copenhagen tweed was a really great event, the picnic will be talked about for a long time, truly amazing. Sadly, I did not realize that the picnic was the main focus of the event, so I did not bring any picnic items with me at all. Next time perhaps?


Copenhagen Tweed Ride

 

The fifth event, Bike in Tweed Stockholm

The last event of my Nordic tweed tour. Stockholm, it is my home town, there is no need for complicated travels, no need to rent a bicycle. Just wake up in my own bed, get dressed and hop on the bicycle and be at the event. Simple and easy.

I packed my picnic and enjoyed the event with following after-party dinner without feeling any pressure of checking in to hotels, airports, travelling with bicycles in bags or asking friends to transport my bicycle. No collecting and leaving rental bicycles, be on time for boats, trains and planes. Just a simple ride into town and enjoy the ride.



Bike in Tweed, photos by the kind Mr. Loch

 

Nordic Tweed 2019

Now when I had atteneded all events. I decieded that I wanted something that I could show off to people, somethoing to brag about. Why not an medal, perhaps something else, but what?I had no idea, but I knew that I wanted to have something handy, small and easy to handle.

During the summer, I finally decided to have a medal made for me. In my search on internet, I found a shop in Uppsala: Laxen Sportpriser (salmon sporting awards), they offered medals in the style I was looking for, small and with space for engrave text.

I wrote an email the shop and had a great conversation with a lady. She understood what I wanted when I tried to explain my idea of an celebration medal. My vision was a simple medal with ” Nordic Tweed 2019″engraved on the front and all the dates and cities on the back. The medal would be pinned to my jacket with a ribbon in the Nordic flags colours. I took the train to Uppsala and visited the shop, we discussed and looked at several different medals styles and sizes, different fonts and layouts before I placed an order. Few weeks later I received my medal in the mail. They had made an impressive work on the engraving and the medal was really looking great!


Nordic Tweed 2019


All cities and dates of the tweed events

Before the Bike in Tweed event in Stockholm I mounted the medal on my jacket. It was looking just as great as I had imagine it. During the day people asked me about that strange looking medal I had on my jacket. I told them to read what it said, “Nordic Tweed 2019”. Then I asked them to turn over the medal and read the back. Were all the dates and cities was visible. Everyone who saw it was impressed by my participants of tweed events among the Nordic countries. I then told them that I was most likely the only person, ever, to have participated in the Nordic countries tweed events. The medal is unique and so in my achievement. Slightly eccentric, but unique.

Another question that was frequently asked – what event were was best one? For me personally, that is very difficulty question to answer. All events had their own speciality, focus and feeling. For example:

Winter Tweed Run Helsinki, with their complete carefree attitude and “less is more” approach during the wither, with snow and subzero temperatures.

Tweed Ride Reykjavík, with the amazing location, hert warming, loving people and the humble and very kind organizer Ole.

Tweed Run Norway, in Fredrikstad, with the really, really thoughtful planning of the entire event and small details such as music, fish cakes and tents at the party.

Copenhagen Tweed Ride, the living city, the attitude of lets have a great party! The main focus was the picnic, that was a completely new level in cosiness.

Bike in Tweed, in Stockholm. For me it is close to home, but also this year it was a very nice route that everyone liked. The fun dinner afterwards and all the people, many of us starts to know each other by now.

As I mentioned, all events are different, but the main thing is the four pillars that creates the foundation of all tweed events, Tweed, Bicycles, Picnic and Party.

I will write about my theory about TBPP soon in “Nordic Tweed, part 2”.
But until then, thank you all for a wonderful and memorable year!

 

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