Lady blue

I just realized that I have never presented the bicycle I call Lady blue. Perhaps now is a good time as any.

Some years ago I was asked about an old bicycle, it was standing unused in a basement for many years. The owners said that they wound never ride a bicycle again, so it was time to pass it on. Since they knew that I was looking for a vintage bicycle, they thought that it best to ask me. I was told that the bicycle was given to the present owners from a friend of theirs. The original owner, a elderly lady from south of Sweden, had received the bicycle as a birthday gift when she was 8 years old back in mid 1930’s.


Hella, made in Kalmar in about 1935 as I got it

It was a nice story behind the bicycle, I headed home and started to think how I would restore it in the best way. Restore it to how it once looked, adding accessories from the period. The bicycle it self had a headbadge with the name “Hella” and the text “made in Kalmar” written on it. The rear wheel Torpedo hub was stamped with 31, so it was made around those years. That was completely in line with the story about the young girl receiving the bicycle as a present around 1935.

Since it was my first vintage bicycle restoring after I had sold my old grey Panther, I felt like doing a good job, or at least as good as I could. All with the knowledge, tools and parts I had in my possession to renovate and restore the bicycle. The first thing I did was to completely disassembly the entire bicycle in to small parts. All bearings, screws, and parts were inspected and cleaned. Some parts were in very good condition, but others like the handlebars and wooden grips were in a really bad shape and needed replacement.


New tires and tubes to be mounted on the newly cleaned rims


The frame is clean from parts, I have just mounted brackets and wheels to see how it looks

It was during the cleaning I found the serial number on the frame. Of the number I learned that the frame was made in the town of Gävle, far from Kalmar.

Back then Gefle Velocipedfabrik manufactured bicycle frames and sold them to local bicycle shops that created their own style of bicycles from parts and named them after their own shop. There are may examples of that practice around Sweden in from the start up to about the 1950’s. There are numerous small branded bicycles, many are built with parts from one of the few large bicycle parts manufactures at the time. But they have all sorts of brands, often the name comes from the shop owners own name, a Greek god, perhaps a town and so on.


Torpedo stamped with 31, the hub is made in 1931.

I found new old handlebars on an auction site, there I found an old bicycle bell, chain guard and other parts that I needed. After cleaning all parts, polishing the chrome, the fun of mounting everything together started. This time I took my time to get the bicycle done. I did not want to rush the process, it was my therapy and I wanted to show the old lady the result.

During the restoration I tried to keep the parts I got as replacements in a 1930s range. The vintage crochet skirt guard, 30’s style Swedish made ASEA headlight and dynamo. The saddle turned out to be a bit difficult, vintage 1930’s cushioned saddles are rare to find after all usage during the years. Instead I used an old vintage Brooks saddle as a substitute.

One day it was finished, and it looked really great. In fact I used it as a prop when doing a photo shoot.


1930’s ASEA bicycle lamp…


… withan ASEA brass dynamo.

A few years later, I took a look at my first rebuilding project. I quickly realized that I never completed the job, the wheels were missing spokes, the saddle were still the worn Brooks and the tires were a bit to wide to fit the mudguards. It was at that moment after learning new information about old bicycles that the bicycle was remade in the early 1950’s.

Since the bicycle was made in mid 1930’s it was supposed to be painted with a special kind of finish and pin striping. As it looks now it is clearly an late 1940’s, early 1950’s style. The chain wheel is changed, the reflector and other parts where changed. Back then it was common to take your old bicycle to your local bicycle shop, turn it in for a complete overhaul. The shop would change the bad parts, repaint and refurbish the entire bicycle. It was cheaper, you got a new bicycle for less money of the price for a brand new one. Back then bicycles were expensive and when you had a bicycle it was supposed to be taken care of, and used for a long time. It was an investment.


The chain guard and chromed crank. Clearly changed at some time during the years


Brook saddle and some vintage tools and a repair kit


It turned out really great, I only need a better saddle

It is not original 1931, but it looks really great. The circle became complete when I sent a photo of the bicycle to the owners I got the bicycle from, they showed the photo of the bicycle to the old lady. She was very happy to see that her old bicycle still were going and having a new life. Sadly the old lady passed away some months after that. But I did manage to fix her old bicycle so she could see it, it felt great.

If I fix the small issues, Lady blue has many years left of riding along the roads on sunny summer days. Or why not attend a tweed event?


Lady blue

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.

 

 

 

Bike in Tweed Stockholm, 2019

Saturday the 21´st of September, it was time for a new tweed event to participate in. Early in the morning, I packed the old bicycle bags with my lunch package. Sandwiches with cheese, boiled potatoes, pickled herrings and tomatoes. A simple version of the classic SOS “smör, ost och sill” (butter, cheese and herring, it is an small smörgåsbord for one person). I also packed some bottles of beer, water, gin, tonic, a small bottle of Jaloviina and a bottle of Champis (a carbonated soda that has been available in shops since 1918, that goes well with Jaloviina). After all it is important to stay hydrated.


All packed and ready to join Bike in Tweed 2019

The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, it was not to hot or cold. A crisp autumn morning, fresh air and blue skies. I started my journey towards the city and Evert Taubes terrass in the centre of Stockholm, the start location for the event. That has been the same start location as the last two years, a great place with a nice view of the city. While I was peddling along the empty streets, the only sounds that could be heard, was the old Nordstjärnans tires running along the tarmac and the fluttering of the small pennant, an vintage Swedish flag pennant that I had tied to the handlebars as they did back then. It was really a lovely morning ride.

When getting closer to the start, I noticed several other tweed riders heading the same way. A tip of the hat, a wave and a smile – good morning, what a lovely weather today!

At the start, the organizers had already started welcoming the riders. This year the start area was really well planned. Upon arrival we were guided via an red and white tape to the registration desk. There checklists where checked, starting number were handed out along with food tickets for those who had signed up and paid for the the after-ride dinner.  Later on I learned that there was cookies and crisps handed out to the participants along the registrations line. Sadly I did not get any, I must have arrived in a gap.


Standing in line for registration


Interview, some story behind the bicycle and cloths.


Lovely weather, a great autumn day

After registration, we followed the tape to be interviewed about our bicycles and our selection of clothes. All judged in front of the jury. That was a new and fun segment, I mentioned that my bicycle was made in Stockholm and the pennant was the Swedish flag and had the text Stockholm and an image of the city hall printed on it. I got praise for the way I had mounted the pennant, correctly mounted with an wire going from the bicycle bell on the handlebar down to the nut on the front wheel, as it should be.

After the interview we followed the tape to the photo session. It is tradition at Bike in Tweed to have a photo taken of you and your bicycle. This year they used two photographers, it was a fast and well organized process. There are so many other great looking people with wonderful bicycles, a quick pose with your bicycle and follow the instructions from the photographer, “click”. It is an great memory to keep.


More tweedians arrived and parked at the square after being photographed

After the photo session we were guided along the tape to the main square where we could park our bicycles and begin to mingle and talk with new and old familiar faces. It was nice to meet all tweedians again, it was a year since the last time we met.

Walking around in the sunshine watching all those vintage, new, rat-rods, beaters, everyday riders, penny farthings and regular bicycles of all kinds. Not forgetting all beautiful dresses, handsome suits, vintage military uniforms and everyone that had dressed up. All those hats, beards and accessories really made it a great gathering of tweedians on a beautiful day.


1930´s style nurse with a lovely smile

It was time to start the ride. The route was heading north towards the busy Tegelbacken and then passing the city hall, I guess my bicycle and pennant was feeling at home at that moment. We rode along the seafront of Norr Mälarstrand heading to the picnic at Rålambshov park. This year it was decided to have a shorter route, also have the picnic 30 minutes after the start.


Gathering for the start…


…and away we go


Crossing the bridge from Riddarholmen to Tegelbacken


Heading down to Norr Mälarstrand on our way to Rålambshov

The ride was in a nice tempo and everything went just fine until we arrived at Rålambshov and the amphitheatre, were we used to have our picnic. The entire place was occupied by an athlete event! They had blocked the stairs where we use to sit so the runners could run up and down. Large stations where people was standing and shouting pep talks to the runners.

It was some sort of endurance competition for runners, modern music was blasting out all over the park. Our organizer talked to the people in charge, after all we had permit from the police to be there. I do not know what happened, but they stopped the music. It all was confused and improvised. Our traditional group photo was taken against an small slope of grass. After that we were supposed to have a picnic, somewhere.


Time for the group photo where the athletes event had blocked the stairs in the background


But there was a group photo taken finally, sadly I have no copy of it yet

The resourceful Lucie took command over a few tweedians and said that we were going to sit on the seats of the theatre as usual anyway. We headed over the marked tracks, dodging the runners, and headed up on the stairs. It was fun to sit there, watching the runners going up and down the stairs. While we were having a picnic. I was drinking beer, gin and tonic and having pickled herring, potatoes, sandwiches with cheese and dessert. Sometimes we shouted “come one, keep the steps light, looking good, that’s the spirit”. The runners did not look happy.

To be honest, I prefer riding an old bicycle with one gear, dressed in tweed, than running up and down stairs looking totally worn out. An gentleman does not run or exercise.


We all spread out for the picnic while athletes was running all over the place


Pickled herring, potatoes, tomatoes and sandwiches with cheese. All served on a enamel plate from 1940´s with cutlery from the same year

After the picnic we headed along the route again. Starting by working our way up and across Västerbron (West bridge). That bridge really sorts out the soft weekends bicyclists from the hardcore bicycle fanatics. Riders that are used to ride vintage bicycles that weighs as an old hospital bed. Besides, a real gentleman do not stand up while peddling, neither does an gentleman dismount the bicycle and walk. Also, gears are simply not cricket, so that is out.

What is left, is to harden out the uphill. With an steady pace, determination and firm grip on the handlebar, the uphill will be defeated! As you understand by now, I am grasping for excuses for my idiotic peddling up the bridge when I easily could have dismounted and walked instead.


An penny farthing heading towards the bridge


Going down hill after crossing Västerbron towards Södermalm


Cargo bicycle with lots of cargo and handsome riders waiting for the car to move


The old cargo train tracks down by the Hammarby canal

After crossing Västerbron we headed down to Södermalm, a part of Stockholm with large appartment buildings from 1910-1940’s. We saw some really nice parts of the city along our route that we usually never visit. The route continued down to the Hammarby canal, then we turned and went uphill again. Finding our way among the back alleys of Södermalm until it was time for the most chaotick part of the route. We were going to cross the total mayham of Slussen.

Slussen is an part of Stockholm city that are undergoing an complete rebuild. The old constructions were made in the 1930´s and is now in desperate need of renovation. Today almost everything is torn down and the area is a construction site today. There are temporary roads going all over the place. Cars, buses, pedestrians, taxis, kids, bicycles, skateboards, tourists and 190 tweedians on bicycles was trying to get along at the same time. It was a challenge.


We are leaving the chaos of Slussen behind us…


… the roads opened up a bit. It was time for some romance while riding bicycles

The ride continued along the sea side of Skeppsbron, the part of the city that has been a port since medieval times. Passing the royal castle, across the bridge to Kungsträdgården and over to Nybroplan while avoiding pedestrians all the way. The route continued along Strandvägen the “posh” street, crossing Djurgårdsbron trying to avoid running over people. The bicycle lane on the bridge is narrow, but it all went well. After that we all headed out on Djurgården. The finish line at Hasselbacken was in reach.

You might think that it was many streets and places I mentioned in the last part. But I mentioned them because those areas are the most tourist crowded places in Stockholm, all year around. There we were, about 190 vintage cyclists among all tourists. It was an sight to see. All cameras was turned away from the royal castle and all the other sights. Only to take photos of us dressed in tweeds, riding old bicycles.


Hendricks gin are on the way to Hasselbacken

Shortly after the ride on Djurgården we all arrived at Hasselbacken restaurant as previous years. Upon our arrival, Erik Tengholm Trio was playing live music for us. We parked our bicycles and gathered in front of the stage to enjoy the music. The sponsor Hendricks gin was handing out gin and tonics to us thirsty riders. It was really nice, listening to live music while sipping on an cold and tasty gin and tonic.

Later on the price ceremony started, the always impressive Vintagemannen presented the winners and handed out the prices for best dressed man, best dressed lady and best looking bicycle. Sadly I did not notice the prices they received. Later on Hendricks handed out their price. The “most unusual award” was handed out. Congratulations to all winners, they were all looking absolutely wonderful!


Erik Tengholm Trio playing jazz


Vintagemannen was in charge of the price ceremony


Hendricks gin handed out an special price, the “most unusual award”


My bicycle with the pennant with Stockholm’s city hall parked at the restaurants garden

After the price ceremony it was time for dinner. As always, it was great to sit and have dinner together with all tweedians. Having conversations about the day and how it all went. More drinks, laughs and conversations.

But as all fun things, everything comes to an end. The sun had set, people were leaving, riding their bicycles into the dark and cold autumn night. Before we started our way home, we decided to attend Bike in Tweed next year to, after all it is Bike in Tweed´s 10th anniversary next year.

Thank you for Bike in Tweed 2019, see you all soon.


The ride home after a great day

Copenhagen Tweed Ride 2019

Saturday 14 of September was the date for Copenhagen Tweed Ride 2019. I had early on decided to attend the event, for two reasons. Not only to join Copenhagen Tweed Ride, but also to visit Copenhagen and Denmark for the first time. By the way, this was the 20th tweed event I was going to participate in.

Earlier this year when I decided to join the event, I started thinking on how I could bring my bicycle to Copenhagen. After all, travel train was impossible as we learned a while back. No bicycles are allowed on Swedish long distance trains. Perhaps I could take the plane and take the bicycle along as sport luggage? That raise the question of bringing the bicycle to the airport to beguine with (remember the no train policy), it would turn in to an complicated affair.


Copenhagen city hall

The I had the idea of buying an vintage bicycle in Copenhagen and use it on location, but that sounded a bit desperate. How about the option of travelling by car? Since I do not have a car any more, I would have to rent a car from a rental service that allows me to travel abroad with the car, and that fee was way to expensive. The last option was, travel to Copenhagen, the bicycle capitol in Scandinavia and rent a bicycle. Logical there must be a bicycle rental, somewhere. Of course, the hotel I booked had rental bicycles, the problem was solved very easy.

In the morning of the event I went to the lobby and asked if there was an bicycle available for me, there was one and the staff would bring it out for me. Outside on the empty street an fellow came along with an small modern unisex bicycle, painted in white with the hotel logo. An excellent bicycle for shorter tourist trips around the city.


The ride for the day, not the best ride. Far from it

Not the first choice for an tweed event. But what if I kept in the background no one would notice me and my rented bicycle. Never mind. Here we go.

The first meters while riding the bicycle I noticed some major issues. First, it sounded like someone had poured an handful of gravel in the crank bearings. Secondly, the right handle was broken and kept sliding around on the handlebar. Thirdly, the rear wheel was two geared, but the first gear was stuck. It was going to be an interesting day. Never mind, it is not a speed race.

I headed along the streets of Copenhagen in the morning, to the start location at the shop A Touch of Vintage, located at Badstuestræde 1. The registration opened at 9 o´clock in the morning, it is good to be out early. When I turned the bicycle in to the street where A Touch of Vintage is located, I realized the street was empty. I had started way to early, it was still 8 in the morning.

After a while the organizers came and opened up the shop, soon more and more tweedians joined as the clock was getting closer to opening hour. Then it was time, 9 o´clock and the registration had opened. I went in to the shop and was greeted buy the lovely ladies inside. I said my name and received an bag with items for the ride.


Badstuestræde is filling up with tweedians and their bicycles


One, if not the only tandem


An Uppsala registration badge, that was a surprise to see in Copenhagen


A stuffed capercaillie joined us


It is all about the details

The bag had the Copenhagen Tweed Ride logo and contained an magazine about tweed, a small bottle Hendricks Gin, a bottle tonic water, a fresh cucumber, an apple, two postcards and a small pencil. Along with all that I received an wooden badge with my starting number along with a thick paper badge with the number for the bicycle. When I was outside in the street trying to fasten the badges on myself and the bicycle, a lovely dressed lady walked by with large Copenhagen Tweed Ride posters, she gave me one poster to fasten on my bicycle basket, I also got an small flag with the logo.


The bag we received at the registration…


…and posters on the baskets

All those items we received was really thoughtful and nice, but a small question was raised with in me. How should I blend the gin and tonic? There was no glass in the bag. It crossed my mind to do what the “greasers” did back in the day. The trick of open the bottle, pour half of it out and fill it up with spirits. So it seems you are only drinking a bottle of water, but it contains a strong drink instead. But I never did that, it would have been difficult explaining why I was standing on a street forcing down a cucumber in the bottle. After all, Hendricks Gin and tonic without cucumber is just not cricket!

I suddenly meet the mysterious lady that I met at Malmö Tweed Ride last year, if you remember, the lady with the lovely hat. She and her daughter, Inez had joined Copenhagen Tweed Ride this year. She had participated in Copenhagen before so she knew the routines, it was really nice to talk to her and her daughter. The mysterious ladys real name is Lina, here is links to her blog and instagram that are filled with great photos.


The mysterious lady with daughter. Observe the complete original 1930’s outfits, stockings, dresses, coats and shoes.

Just before 10 o´clock we were told to head out to Nytorv (new square/market) nearby for the group photo, by the stairs of Byretten (the court house). After some adjusting and changing places we were all standing as the photographer wanted and we had our photo taken.

It was on the stairs of Byretten I met a friend from my work. He had driven down to Malmö the day before with his bicycle in pieces, he did the final mounting the same morning before taking the local train from Malmö to Copenhagen and arriving at the registration when it was only 5 minutes left. It was really nice to see him and his bicycle.


The group photo (borrowed from Copenhagen Tweed page on facebook)


My friend with his Pedersen bicycle that he put togheter just hours before the ride

After some inforamtion from the organizers about some few simple, but important rules during the ride. For example, there was an motorcycle escort for us. They would stop the traffic at every major crossing so all the tweed riders could keep together and ride in formation, crossing the steets no matter green or red traffic lights. After the information it was time to start the ride, music started playing, many of the organizers and others had speakers mounted on their bicycles luggage racks.

It was a lovely ride around Copenhagen, we saw Nyhavn, Christianborgs castle and the ride went on. I must confess, I had no idea of where we went. What streets we were riding on, or what buildings and sights we went by. The motorcycle escort guided us, we rang our bells, honked horns and waved to all the people that was standing along the way. People wondering what we were doing, there was no angry faces, only friendly, smiling people everywhere, in cars, buses and on the sidewalks. Everyone was amazed of us passing by. The ladies with their lovely dresses fluttering in the wind, gentlemen in suits and the fellow in a kilt while riding a penny farthing. Now that is a new level of courage.


Somewhere in Copenhagen


Somewhere else


A new location

After a while we arrived at ørstedsparken where we all gathered to have a break and picnic. It was now I really understood what Copenhagen Tweed Ride is all about. When I noticed the time schedule for the event earlier there was a very, very long break for picnic along the route. I did not understand why it was such a long break before, but I realized now that the picnic was the main event of the ride. Picnic in the park, setting up picnic tables with crystal glasses, afternoon tea trays filled to the brim with treats of all sorts of food, pies, cakes, vine, beer, spirits, lemonade and everything in-between.


Vintage bicycles, not one younger than 100 years


Picnic…


…in the park

There was afternoon tea like there was no tomorrow, all in the style of vintage and tweed. After a short while representatives from Hendricks Gin set up an stand where they treated our dry throats with cold gin and tonics, of course decorated with locally grown cucumbers. What an treat!


Hednricks Gin and tonic, cool and refreshing


Cucumbers

During the picnic we all was handed a voting ballot. This was the first time I had seen such an advanced voting ballot. Several categories and choices, best dressed lady, best hair due, best bicycle, best hat, best beard, best picnic setup. It was a real challenge to cast my votes, I had some candidates that got my votes. When handing in the ballot we all received an drink ticket at the finish line. When the picnic started to end the mystery lady and her daughter left, it had been a long day and it was a long way home. It was really nice to see them again.

After picnic was over, we all joined up outside the park to ride the final route to our destination. Again, I have no idea on where we went or where I was in Copenhagen. It was at this final stretch of the route that my friends bicycle started to fall apart. It turned out that he had forgotten to fasten a screw that holds the left crank in place earlier that morning. Suddenly he could not pedal any more. We left the others and stopped by the side of the road to try and fix the problem temporarily. The temporary fix worked for about 1 kilometre, in an up hill the crank came loose again.

The other riders went along while we were standing beside the road working on the crank again. Suddenly one of the motorcycle escort riders joined us. “it is only 100 meters left to the finish” he said. That was not far, my friend jumped on the bicycle, grabbed my shoulder and I started to work my way up the hill. He was riding his broken bicycle, I was riding on the hotel bicycle with gravel in the cranks. Finally we arrived, limping into the finish at Restaurant Bjælkehuset, located in Søndermark park. I parked my bicycle outside on the street, while we went in to the restaurant and the garden.


The garden of Restaurant Bjælkehuset


The garden of Restaurant Bjælkehuset, 2


Prices for the winners, what an impressive range of items

We found a table where we could sit and fix the bicycle more accurately, it is always better to work during calm conditions instead of standing on a busy street. In some way, we got the crank back in place, so he could ride back to the train later on. Now we deserved an reward, I handed in our drink tickets that we received earlier at the picnic. I must say, sitting in the restaurant garden, large trees surrounding us, following the price ceremony with a cold beer in the hand. That is a real treat!

Later on it was time for the price ceremony. I did not catch everything that they said, but I understood that it was not only one winner in all category. The best three in every category won wonderful prices, hats, gift cards of different kinds, bottles of Hendricks gin and umbrellas. After the price ceremony the food buffet opened for us who had paid for dinner earlier when signing up for the event. The food was classical Danish, tasty and was served while a live band played jazz for us.


Live music


Interviewed by the newspaper

After a few hours it was time to leave. We took our bicycles and headed down to Copenhagen centre. It was a lovely day with many new insights for me, it is always interesting to see how the concept of “tweed ride” is changing depending on where it is held and by who is organizing the event. Thank you all for a lovely day!


Riding back to the railway station, heading home