Uppsala Vintage Biking, (Punschrundan 2020)

On Sunday 7th of June 2020, Uppsala Vintage Biking arranged their summer event called “Punschrundan” (the punsch route). Due to the current virus situation in the world and also following recommendations from the government, the Organizer decided to allow only 20 participants in this event and using a booking system on Facebook. The slots filled up quickly and soon all 20 slots were booked.

On the day of the event I took my trusty old Hermes bicycle to the local commuter train, bought a ticket and went on to the platform. The last time I went to Uppsala for a vintage tweed event, there were other tweedians onboard the same train that I entered. This time I looked around onboard the train, perhaps I was not alone? Sadly, I did not see anyone else wearing tweed, standing by a vintage bicycle on the train. Never mind, I had my phone and headset with me, the journey to Uppsala railway station went quickly by while I was listening to my own “smoke rings” Spotify playlist with 30 hours swing, jazz and dance music from 1930’s and 1940’s. A perfect tweed ride playlist to set the mood.


Taking the bicycle on the train is really a great thing to do. Sadly there are not many operators in Sweden that allows bicycles onboard trains.

The weather was perfect for a tweed ride. Not to sunny, hot or cold. It was “lagom” as we say in Swedish. That is what I understand a very unique word that only exists in the Swedish language. It roughly means “enough”, but in a pleased way. The weather was lagom warm, it was just about right. Or, perfect for the situation. The Eskimos has one hundred words for snow, swedes has one word for one hundred different moods. All depending on how you pronounce it.

When upon arriving at Uppsala railway station and disembarking the train, there were still no other tweedians in sight, oh well. Since it was a few years ago I had been to central Uppsala I thought I knew my way to the meeting point at Fyristorg, an classic square, perhaps most known for being mentioned in one of the earliest Swedish rock and roll songs. Hot dog boogie, a song about a hot dog sales man who was standing on that square being sad.

After a short ride, a feeling of going the wrong way emerged. I decided to check the directions in my phone. Of course, I had turned right at the crossroads earlier instead of turning left. A simple and easy mistake to make. Right? No left. I should had turned left instead of right, right? No, left. What?

When arriving at Fyristorg there were other tweedians already there. There were the gang that I knew from other events. Hello, how charming to meet you again! It turned out that we had arrived with the same train, but I had never seen them.


Arriving at Fyristorg


Inspecting and admiring bicycles

The Organizer came along and greeted everyone. The route for the day was riding along Fyrisån, the stream that flows in the middle of Uppsala. The ride was following the stream south, in to the city park and further down to a bird sanctuary and lovely nature. Along the way we were guided and told interesting and funny anecdotes about the areas we stopped by.


The riders at the first stop of the route


Heading along while listening to the birds chirping and the peaceful sound of tires rolling against gravel

At the first stop, a lady had some problems with her saddle. I helped her, the seat had come loose. But in my toolbox I had a bicycle tool that sorted the issue in a jiffy. Then we headed onwards on narrow paths in the woods.

Suddenly there was an mishap. The lady that had problems with the bicycle seat had a flat tire. I decided to try to act as a amateur bicycle repair man, but quickly noticed that the tire valve on the front wheel were faulty, when removing the valve I noticed that the original rubber seal from the 1940’s had totally disintegrated. Did anyone have an spare valve? I had left my spare tube at home, so I was helpless.

Sadly, the lady left the ride and had to walk back home. Just as I did in Helsinki last summer when my pedal broke. I really felt sorry for her.

Again we headed onwards and reached the new Flottsunds bridge crossing the Fyrisån. There we crossed the bridge and turned back towards Uppsala, along the winding roads, passing small cottages and pastures with cows and horses. It was a nature experience in every way. What a nice route!


Across the bridge and on the road heading to the picnic


Idyllic in every way. When riding a bicycle you got time to see things and smell the nature. It is an experience for all senses.


Happy tweedians riding the open road

We reached our destination for the picnic, it was an old house were Carl von Linne once lived from time to time. There were benches and tables in the garden under the trees, where we had our sandwiches and drinks. Some of us had even brought Punsch to drink, after all it was the Punsch route.

There are two ways you can drink Punsch in Sweden. One is with ice, as the used to drink in high society back in the 1850’s. The other way is to drink it slightly hot, along with pea soup. But then there is the rule of only eating pea soup on Thursday. Why? Nobody knows, but that is how it is supposed to be. It is as sure as the sun sets at night.

So, since the event was held on a Sunday, there were no pea soup for me. Also, riding for a few hours without any cooling bag for the ice I had to drink the punsch straight. Truly a horrible and strange experience. But when in Rome… as they say.

At the picnic we also had the pleasure of meeting Mr Daniels who showed us his really unique bicycle, that he had found in a shed at his parental house. The bicycle was a British made Hillman Herbert Cooper from 1892. The bicycle was believed to be one of the first bicycles in the village where they lived. Amazingly, the bicycle still works today! Now, how about that for quality?


Some of our bicycles parked along the picnic area


German beer in a English mug with Swedish punsch in a glass from Finland. International!


Our guide held a speech about the history, how Carl von Linne was living at the location


Mr Daniels and his 1892 Hillman Herbert Cooper


The garden where we had the picnic, a small oasis far from everyday life.


Lovely dressed lady, no need to wear tweed for a tweed event. On in this case, vintage event.

After the picnic we started on the last leg of the route, following the bicycle paths leading back towards Uppsala city centre and the starting point at Fyristorg.

After arriving at Fyristorg and thanking the organizer for a great day, a small group of us were heading back to the train station. We decided to have a small drink and something to eat before entering the train and heading home again.


Gathering at the finish line


Crescent 1937, I believe it was. Quite a difference in condition comparing with mine 1934 Crescent


Heading towards the train station after a great day

The Uppsala Vintage Biking event “Punschrundan 2020”, was really a relaxed and pleasant event. It was fun to meet familiar and new tweedians while riding along the surroundings of Uppsala. A big thank you to the organizer for his impressive knowledge about the local area and all the guiding he made.

Until next time. Ride carefully and be safe.

Enskede Tweed, (Vårrullen 2020)

Care for a spring roll? Not the eating kind am I afraid, although they are tasty and nice. But what I am referring to, is the 4th Enskede Tweed society event, called the Spring roll, “vårrullen” in Swedish.

The explanation is rather simple. The name came up during the dinner party at the Enskede Tweed society event Höstrusket last autumn. “Let us call it the spring roll”, one of the participants said. After all, it makes total sense! We will roll on our bicycles in the spring, the spring roll. Brilliant! It was decided right there and then.


Last minute preparation, the rear hub needed desperate attention.

9th of May 2020 was set for the 4th Enskede Tweed society event. Our events are just for fun, a good opportunity to meet others tweedians, dress up in nice clothes and use our old bicycles for a slow and calm ride around the parts of Stockholm where we live. It is a tweed event, right in our back yard.

Also, riding bicycles are good, both for the environment and yourself. After all, with all the current virus tragedy going on with isolation and quarantines. It is only good to get out and about, to have a bit of fresh air ventilate the old tweed. Spiffing good show, I say!


On the way to Stockholmsvägen and the meeting point

The weather forecast for the day mentioned heavy overcast and about 10 degrees Celsius. In other words, perfect weather for a ride in tweed. The bicycles were serviced, picnic hampers and bags were packed, tweeds were brushed. We were ready!

The event should started at 1300, but due to some mishaps, the entire staff of Enskede Tweed Society was delayed for a bit.

The issue of an exploding rear tire, made for some last minute changes in the bicycle department. An stand in bicycle was quickly made ready for duty, a simple matter of making sure the tires had good pressure, adjust the seats and off we went. Arriving only 10 minutes late to the meeting at the start. Rather hot after a brisk ride, the staff arrived at Stockholmsvägen, the usual meeting point for members in Enskede Tweed Society.


Fellow tweedians joining up


Well packed picnicks hampers and blankets to sit on during the picnic


Having a chat while enjoying tea and cake in the sunshine

The chairman of Enskede Tweed society offered hot tea and home made cake, just as the last event. It really got a British touch to it with tea and cake. Perhaps next time, we should tell everyone to bring along real cups and saucers for an afternoon tea instead of an picnic?


Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to start the ride

After finishing the tea and cake, and after talking about other things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax. Of cabbages and kings. It was time to start the ride. We started our route by taking the back streets along the old parts of Enskede. Watching all the gardens with their spring flowers in blossom and all the bright green leaves on bushes and trees. The weather forecast was wrong, it was not overcast. In fact, it was sunny and warm, a perfect spring day.


Riding along the cycle paths


A short break before entering the Forrest cemetery


Photo opportunity


Along the roads at Forrest cemetery

We took the route in to Skogskyrkogården (Forrest cemetery) as usual. The calm and tranquillity you experience there are really soothing for everyone. There are no cars racing around, blasting their horns. Just to ride along and enjoy the smell of forest while listening to birds singing is very peaceful.

Shortly after we exited the Forrest cemetery we stopped by the Olympia park in Tallkrogen and set up our picnic on the large meadow. We parked our bicycles and put out blankets on the grass and unpacked our picnic hampers. Sandwiches, cakes, tea, beer and gin and tonic. Music and laughs all around, we had a really great time.


Our bicycles needed a rest…


…as did we


Lovely weather at Olympia park

After about 1.5 hours it was time for us to head on again. The last stretch of the route took us along the streets of 1930-50s houses and areas. Along the route there were people waving and smiling at us. It seems that tweed and bicycles brings out happiness in both riders and bystanders. It is a rather harmless and fun thing to do, ride along on a vintage bicycles while being well dressed, not necessarily in tweed.


Group photo at the usual site

After the group photo, we headed on our way to the finish line at Enskede Gård. Sadly, we never took a photo at the mansions stairs like we use to. There was a man standing right above the stairs fixing his car. It would have been a strange photo, a modern car all torn down in pieces in the photo, while we were standing there with our bicycles. A slight clash of styles one might say.


At the finish line, when will next event take place?

The organizers thanked everyone that had joined the Spring roll, the first official unofficial Enskede Tweed society event of this year. Some riders left the group, the rest of us headed down to Enskede värdshus for a cool refreshing drink. The weather was so nice, that we ended up in the garden of the inn to relax before it was time for us to leave.

Next event is planed to take place in October. What the name will be for that event? Who knows, but I guess it will be something autumn related, in some way.

Until next time.


Riding back home in the sunset

The eternity project, part 1

Some time ago I mentioned that I would not start with a new project, the ones I had was rather long running.

One day I talked to a fellow bicycle enthusiast. He had an old, worn, rusty 1930’s Crescent that was just standing after he had removed some parts that he needed. He asked me if I was interested to work with that project. No, not really.

I have always had a thing for buying parts that were either wrong, or did not fit the project I was intending to use the parts for. The box with spare parts just grew and grew, front breaks, an Versol derailleur, old rusty ASEA head lights, battle damaged dynamos and so on. I really did not need any more projects.

After many months of thinking about that project. It would be perfetc for me to use all my parts on that bicycle. What if… I asked him if we could make a deal.


Crescent tourist racer from 1930’s, all in parts, all well rusted and worn

One day in January I had an rusty, worn heap of wheels that had seen better days, mud guards filled with vintage mud and grime, a rusty sun bleached frame and other things. Now, this was really going to be my last project! I will use the bicycle as a foundation to mount all parts I have laying around. Create an racer of some sort. Drop handlebars, derailleur, a large head light. In my boxes of old worn parts I have old pedals that will match the future “rat-look” of the bicycle.


It looks rather nice


Now that is a deep drop handlebars


Details of the front badge and fork


The old Crescent emblem is partly still visible


Rust and more rust, the chrome plating has worn away


The rust has eaten away the rims


Rust and grime since 1930’s

After studying the parts more closely I discarded the wheels at once, they were beyond rescue. I mounted the handlebars on the frame and added a pair of old worn wheels. Now, that was not so bad. The bicycle looked rather cool.

It can be something of it all in the end. But it will surely be an project that I will work on on my spare times, as therapy, when the Nordic nights are to long and cold. Then I will work on the “eternity project”.

 

Enskede Tweed, (Höstrusket 2019)

Saturday 26th of October. It was time for the third Enskede Tweed event, Höstrusket 2019.

The information about the event mentioned that the ride would be held despite weather, sun, rain or even snow. The Höstrusket event was happening. After all, tweed, is a fabric made for rugged weather. Tweed jacket, woollen scarf, wellingtons and knitted socks will keep you warm and dry all day long. Unless it is way to cold, but then it is only a matter of adding layers.

The rain poured down on the morning of the event, but the weather services indicated that the rain would stop around noon. Amazingly the rain stopped as predicted, but the grey skies were still threatening to deliver more rain during the day while we headed off to the start.

As the last time, the start was located at Triangelparken in Enskede. New for this time was that hot tea and freshly baked cake awaited the brave riders. The hot and tasty tea along with the cake made it feel a bit British among all the yellow leaves on the ground.

After finishing our tea and home baked cakes the organizers explained the route and encouraged the riders to remember the traffic rules. After all, we were going to ride along the streets together with others. Shortly thereafter, it was time to get the ride started.


The organizers offered tea and cake to the participants at the start at Triangelparken


Vintage bicycles from different makers and years, from 1930’s to 1960’s.

Following the back roads around Gamla Enskede (the old part of Enskede from 1910’s), we headed our way towards the “The Woodland Cemetery” with short stops along the way for some guidance and history about the areas. At the cemetery we stopped and visited the actress Greta Garbo’s grave before heading along the route.

It was a peaceful route on the cemetery, seeing places you normally do not visit. The Woodland Cemetery is a very large and beautiful place in Stockholm, it was a nice ride there. When exiting the cemetery we headed down to some of the oldest houses in Enskede, built around 1790. It was nice to see those old hoses, a memory from the time before 1930’s, when Stockholm city council decided to buy old farm mansions land to build complete new areas for the ever expanding population in Stockholm.


A quick break before entering the Woodland Cemetery


Parked bicycles at the location of actress Greta Garbo’s grave


On our way again

Enskede is an area built in different stages during the years. The first stage of development was back in 17th century, old mansions with huge land areas with large farms managed by smaller cottages and mansions located here and there. But in the early 1900, the large expansion started. Stockholm grew and needed new areas to build hoses and living areas. 1909 was when the “garden town” of Enskede was founded, a modern part of the city. Houses with gardens to grow flowers and vegetables.

Later on in the 1930’s large areas was built with cheep and simple wooden hoses that offered the working class their own homes. In fact the agency controlled by the city was called “Own homes agency”. That boom of houses had a second wave in the 50´s. While we were riding along with the Enskede tweed event, we saw all the different areas and the different architectures of the eras was clearly noticeable.

Our ride continued to the “own homes” areas of Tallkrongen and Svedmyra, areas that got their names from old farm houses that once was located on large mansions properties. As mentioned in an earlier article, Höstrusket 2018

We later headed down to Enskede fältet and the finish location at Enskede mansion as always. There it was time for the traditional group photo before the organizers thanked everyone and said that there will be a ride next year to.


The group photo at Enskede gård


Riding a bicycle with style

After chatting for a while and taking photos of bicycles and the riders, few of the riders decided to leave after a great day. The rest of us went to Enskede Värdshus for supper and drinks. After all, the ride in light drizzle and fairly rugged weather, we all looked forward to have some hot food.

The evening continued with many laughs and odd stories. It was a great eventing in every way. One of the topic were that the Höstrusket event is really nice, just because then there is a reason to get out and attend a tweed event one last time before the winter. After all, why sitting at home watching TV. When you can ride a bicycle, dressed in tweed instead?

Or as they say, “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes”. With tweed, there is no excuses. Or very few ones at least.

Until next time, ride safely.

 

Nordic Tweed 2019, part 2

Part two of my Nordic Tweed adventure, is more a reflection of the tweed event spirit I have experienced during all events I have participated in. The name of the event it self can in a way be a give away, tweed ride, tweed run, or bike in tweed. Something connecting tweed and biking, often a cities name is in there to.

First of all, what is a tweed event? I will try to make a short explanation. It is an event where people gathers dressed in, preferable in tweed clothes (but no demand), riding a vintage or elegant bicycle. There might be tea involved, as well as some shortbread cookies or sandwiches, often had at the same time as the tea.

After riding along the streets of the city, the more advanced riders might even have a gin and tonic to rinse away the old road dust out of their throats. The event is in no way a speed race, nor is it an competition in any way. I would like to describe it as more of an parade, with tweed dressed, vintage peddling bicyclists, riding along the streets of a city while ringing their bicycles bells and waving to baffled and confused bystanders.


The registration station at Bike in Tweed 2013 in Stockholm

A way to describe the riders in a way is perhaps to compare them to characters in a P-G Woodhouse novel. An undefined, 1930’s, British inspired, happy go-lucky, care free, sun-is-always-shining, have a cup of tea and a cucumber sandwich, while riding a bicycle event.

In fact, the best support for that comparison, was at the start in Copenhagen Tweed Ride, where they actually played the TV-series Jeeves and Wooster theme tune. It was a perfect way to start an happy cheerio and toodle pip event. Of course, it is a slightly silly, but it is also a happy, innocent, care free spirit event. The riders are able to once a year stop worrying about the everyday grey world, and just have fun in together with others tweed dressed, vintage bicycle riding people.

What I have discovered by attending over 20 tweed events during the years is that there are four major parts that makes up every tweed event. I mentioned it briefly at the end of my last article. I mentioned TBPP, that stands for Tweed, Bicycle, Picnic and Party. All those things can be adjusted, every event has their focus on one of those foundation pillars. But all four parts is important in the making of an tweed event.


A well dressed lady with a dog and vintage bicycle. Malmö Tweed Ride 2017

 

First we have Tweed

Tweed is the wool fabric that is quintessential British for many. Timeless, tough and has been around for ages. Tweed was the preferred fabric for George Malory and other fearless gentlemen explorers back in the day. They went about in jungles, arctic, mountains and on the sea dressed in tweed. If there had been a moon exploration led by the British back then, I would guess that even the first space suit would have been made of tweed.

Since the fabric has grown in popularity the last 10-20 years, clothes made of tweed are more available in many shops more than ever, both in the cities and on internet based shops. You can find a classical cut tweed suit made by Harris Tweed or Donegal, in shops as Walker Slater and Cordings. They have a range of modern style tweed clothes in flamboyant colours as well. There are tweed caps of all sizes and styles, flat caps, 9 pieces, news boys, Sherlock Holmes and so on easily available just a click away. In fact, there is a tweed item available for everyone in every style.

Some participants in tweed events like to have vintage outfits, complete with vintage shoes, socks and gloves. But there is also modern tweed clothes and accessories. Tweed is not a must, there are of course other garments, vintage dresses, top hats and tails, all sorts of vintage uniforms. But tweed is the main fabric, just because it is a classical look and have been around for a long time.

The most important thing is to do what you want. Do not dress on the base on how others might look at you. Is it a tweed event, dress in tweed or in fancy vintage clothes. Everyone dresses up to look dashing, that is the main thing.


Tweed, traditional dress and old uniform among the riders. Bike in Tweed 2017, in Stockholm


Tweed is also a great fabric in the winter, Helsinki Winter Tweed Run 2018

 

Then there is the bicycles

The bicycle is important part of the event, after all, it is a “ride a bicycle while dressed in tweed event”. Often it is an untold rule to ride a vintage bicycle. But all sorts of bicycles are used, I have seen modern bicycles with lots of gears, all shapes of cargo bicycles, rental bicycles and many original vintage bicycles among with not so original vintage bicycles.

For example, I had a really modern rental bicycle when I participated in the Copenhagen Tweed Ride this year. As for me, as an international visitor with limited options to bring along my bicycle. I needed to rent a bicycle, many of the rentals have classical British inspired roadsters available that blend in among the other bicycles rather nice. Except my white hotel bicycle, that one was a monstrosity. But as they say, “needs must…”.

As with clothes, I think most bicycles are accepted as long as they are suitable for the event. An mountain bicycle or a tempo racer might not cut the mustard.


Vintage bicycles at Uppsala Vintage biking 2017


Rental bicycles at Tweed Run 2018, London

 

Then we have the picnic

I discovered early on that bringing a hamper with food, sandwiches, drinks, tea and cakes while sitting with others on a blanket in the grass, relaxing and enjoying the moment is what a good picnic is all about. It is also one of the four parts in a great tweed event.

The picnic it self is something that are a bit different among each event. For example, in Norway the picnic is at the end of the ride. Or like the Copenhagen picnic that is located in the middle of the ride and are about 2 hours long. Relaxing the the grass, setting up impressive tables with trays filled with cakes, cookies, sandwiches, salads and everything in between. An afternoon tea outside, drinking champagne in crystal glasses while music is playing vintage jazz.

In Stockholm the picnic is more of an short break, like the ones we had in school on hiking days. We are sitting down and eats our packed lunches before heading away again. The picnic is important for many of the riders, again, I think it is a British thing, afternoon tea and a chat. Lovely, innit?


Wonderful picnic break, Copenhagen Tweed Ride 2019


Picnic at the finish line, Tweed Run Norway 2018

 

Lastly, the party

The time after all riders have made the entire route, when everyone is relaxing and having fun while talking to each others and admiring each others outfits, discussing tweed, hats, bicycles and different accessories. That is the time when a prize ceremony sometimes is held. The organizer will give a prize to the best dressed lady, best dressed gentleman, best looking bicycle and other categories. Prizes can be handed out for anything to anyone. But it is a fun part of the event.

Sometimes there is a jury that selects nominees and then pick out the winners. Sometimes the participants can vote for whom they think is the winner in each category. The most impressive voting system so far for me was in Copenhagen 2019, we were handed an sheet of paper with different categories, ranging from the best looking beard to the nicest picnic setup.


The winners of Reykjavík Tweed Ride 2019

I think that the majority of all participants in a tweed event have no desire to win, it is not a competition in any way. Everyone are looking fantastic, many have been working on their outfit, or restored their bicycle for a long time in preparation for the tweed even and now wants to show it to everyone. A price is a more an general acknowledgment of recognition.

The prizes can be everything form bicycle parts, clothes, flowers, candy and gin. Hendricks gin is a sponsor of many tweed events, and they usually hands out a special price that sometimes can be a bottle of gin.


One of the winners at Malmö Tweed Ride 2018


Winners in the category best carriage, Bike in Tweed 2015, Stockholm

I think that Malmö Tweed Ride had the best idea for prizes so far. A paper rosette with ribbons for the winners. It is inexpensive, but a very prestigious prize. After all, tweedians are not there to win, more to dress up and enjoying the day. An prize is just a bonus. After the prize ceremony the dinner and party usually starts, music, food and drinks all night long.


Tweedians, Bike in Tweed 2013, Stockholm

 

To summarize.

It is quite simple, dress up in an tweed-ish outfit, there is no need for it to be vintage, dashing is a great guide. Bring out your old bicycle, if you have one. Pack a bag or a basket with tea, lemonade, beer, water or gin and tonic, sandwiches, cake, food and ride along and have fun, enjoying the moment, meeting new and old friends. Ride to the finish line for the party and have fun while dressed up in tweed. Listen to the music and just live in the moment.

I guess that is all what makes a great tweed event.