Malmö Tweed Ride 2018

The 15th of September was the date for Malmö Tweed Ride 2018. I decided early that I wanted to attend the Malmö tweed event for the third year in a row.

This year I noticed that the nickname for the event was in Swedish, “sällskapsrundan”. In English it can perhaps be translated to “social gathering route”. The goal for the event is simply to meet other people that are dressed in tweed, while taking a ride on vintage bicycles. Perhaps “promenade bicycling” is a better translating, that is the best way to describe the idea behind the name and the spirit of the event.


By now a international tweed ride veteran. My Hermes from 1956

I decided to again use my old reliable Hermes from 1956. It has been around on many tweed themed events by now. After the trip to Norway a few weeks earlier, the bicycle needed some minor adjustments and service. With a spanner and a screwdriver I fixed all loose nuts and bolts with ease. Also a drop of oil here and there goes a long way.

When using vintage bicycles it is a matter of take a ride for an hour and spend two hours fastening all nuts and bolts that came loose again. Sometimes it even fells like in many vintage communities that you might never even leave the garage. When it is bad weather outside, there is always the possibility to sit inside. Perhaps a Garage Tweed meeting might be a new idea for an event?

For some people the social interaction and the admiration of bicycles is the main reason to keep fixing old bicycles. That goes for clothes to. Many of the riders have original 1930-40’s tweed dresses and suits. They share tips about good Second hand shops and market places. Showing their latest finds and so on. Some crafty riders even creates their own clothes. Finding original 1930’s patterns and sewing entire outfits, now that is impressive! They also looks really great in their beautiful cloths!

I think it is great that those who are interested in vintage clothes and bicycles can express their interest in these tweed bicycle events all over the world together with others. There is no need to have an exclusive car to attend meetings, a bicycle works just as well.


If it was not for the green bus, the photo could been taken in the early 1950’s, Lovely!

The event was held at Gustaf Adolfs torg in central Malmö.  The square was invaded by bicycling tweed-ians. We went around and said hello to old and new friends, everyone admired each others bicycles and tweeds. A few minutes before the start the master of ceremony made an announcement, mentioning that the registration was open and all could register. After checking ours names in their register we were handed this years pin.

Sadly this years pin was in the same as last year. An plastic “punk badge”, not quite as elegant and exclusive as the first ones in metal.


My three pins 2016, 2017, 2018


Gathering and socializing


Cue to registration

Just before we were to set off at 1’a clock. The sky turned dark, a heavy rain swooped in and drenched us all at the start. We all quickly took shelter underneath the trees nearby. The entire day seemed to be a wet occasion.


We took cover underneath the trees during the sudden rain shower

After about 20 minutes the sun came out again and we decided to set off on our “promenade bicycling”. The night before the weather forecast mentioned 16 degrees and cloudy. But with the sun shining it was a lovely Indian summer day, it was 22 degrees and sunny. There I was in my tweed with a cardigan, it was going to be a hot day for me.

The route was new for this year. It was lots of bicycle paths and many red-light crossings over roads. But with it all worked out fine, some cars even gave way for us when they did not need to. Almost everyone was waving and smiling in their cars when we came along.


One of many red-light crossings


Great looking tweed-ians. The bowler hat looks just perfect.

The tea break this year was held in a small park (which name has totally slipped my mind). We were served lovely cucumber sandwiches and refreshing lemonade with oranges. That was really needed. In the background there was music played on an vintage gramophone using old shellac records.

When I was trying to get a nice ambience photo of the riders having a break. I accidentally spilled my lemonade along with the sandwich onto my bicycle and down on the ground. Clumsy me, at least I had a small taste before pouring it all out on my bicycle. Still, very clumsy.


Waiting for lemonade and sandwiches while listening to music


Refreshment break in the sunshine

After the break we started our ride again. Now we were heading towards the railway station and after that down to Västra hamnen (west harbour), close to the seaside. It must have been a sight over about 150 cyclists calmly peddling along the bicycle paths, bicycle bells chiming it all different tunes and riders waving to bystanders.


A short break during a red traffic-light, it could just as easy been back in the 1950’s


Lovely colour matching. Even the dogs collar was in the same plaid pattern as the trousers

 


Photo opportunity

We crossed the finish line at Folkets park and Moriska paviljiongen in central Malmö. After parking our bicycles outside we all went in to the restaurant where there was food and drinks waiting. Inside we were greeted by live music preformed by Swing Street Orchestra, a jazz band that plays old tunes with great spirit and joy.

When entering the restaurant we all got a beer ticket. Eriksberg brewery was sponsor for this tweed ride and treated us all with a beer to the food that was served. Tasty and we could choose beer with or without alcohol.

After eating, drinking, chatting and laughing the master of ceremonies announced that the voting for best dressed man, best dressed lady and best looking bicycle had started. My votes happened to be both winners. The choice for best dressed man was the always handsome and nice Mr Vintagemannen.

Best dressed lady was a girl whose name I did not catch. She got my vote simply because I admire her beret. Such a great look.


Best dressed man, best dressed lady and master of ceremonies


Best looking bicycle, together with the lovely lady who owned the bicycle


May I take a photo – I asked.
Of course, that is why I am dressed like this – she replied.
I never got her name. Mystery lady number 12 (sounds like the title of an Agatha Christie novel)
The mystery is now solved, it is the magnificent Lina

After more mingle and talking with amazing tweed riders, from all over Sweden and internationally. Later that evening, after it was time to say goodbye.

Today I am a bit ashamed, I did not find one rider that I had talked a lot with during the afternoon. I could not thank her for a good company during the day and wish her a safe travel home. I hope she will read this and forgive me.


Heading back to the hotel after a lovely day

I lift my cap! Thank you Malmö. .

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Stockholm Bike in tweed 2017

The time had come for Bike in Tweed 2017. Stockholm’s version of London’s Tweed Run.

I have always used vintage bicycles, I was more comfortable riding them than the modern mountain bikes and racers. In Denmark and Netherlands the upright riding position is more common than here in Sweden and that is how I like to ride a bicycle, upright. So I got to use the old bicycles, my fathers and grandfathers old Swedish made iron horses. I got to like them, they were easy to maintain and repair. Because I had been using tweed my whole life it was a natural step to combine the two. That is why it feels great to join tweed events like this. The best of two things.


We took a small break on our way in to the city, not every day bicycles of this style are seen in the city.

It has become tradition by now. We are some friends that meet at a local bakery at nine a clock in the morning for a small breakfast before we all take a ride in to central Stockholm and the start for the tweed event. This year the start was held at Evert Taubes terrace that is located on Riddarholmen right beside the old town. It has a wonderful view of one of Stockholm’s most famous silhouettes, the town hall.

When we arrived at the start it was already busy with people. Everyone with old bicycles and dressed up. Ladies in lovely 1940’s dresses, gentlemen in dashing suits and hats. There were lots of familiar faces, we greeted and signed in at the register’s to recive your personal starting number. Then it was time for the photo shoot. Every one that was in this event had their photo taken along with their bicycles. It is a great memory to have later on, many of the participants use Facebook so the photos makes great profile pictures. After all we are aware that people will take photos of us all the time anyway. Almost everyone cheers and applauds and takes photos when we rides along. It is a fun event!


Many riders had arrived early for the Bike in Tweed event


An participant of Enskede Tweed drank Enskede brewery porter.


Lovely shoes that matches the colours of the leaves.


A Stockholm made bicycle in front of Stockholm city hall

After the officials had some words of wisdom for us, it was time for the start. All 170 of us lined up and left Riddarholmen for a ride around central Stockholm. The officials had made a route this time that was 26 kilometres long. There were some pauses here and there and the traditional picnic at Rålambshov with the traditional group photo.


Rålambshovs outdoor theatre where the traditional picnic with lemonade and sandwiches are served.

After the picnic, it was an matter of more steep hills and narrow passages for us to conquer. But we managed it with laughs and a good portion of good spirit there are no problems. While we were riding we talked to other riders and people standing on the pavements asking what we were doing.

Me and my friends tried to ride along each other. But some times we drifted apart from each others, after a while we drifted back together. There was no contest to win anything. Just a Saturday bicycle ride around the city. 170 of us tweed dressed and riding vintage bicycles among cars, buses, lorries, joggers, baby strollers and curious people.


Valhallavaägen in autumn colours. 170 riders enjoying the lovely weather.

The finish line was located at restaurant Hasselbacken at Djurgården. We arrived and parked our bicycles and joined up for the events that was ahead of us. When entering the garden of the restaurant here was a jazz orchestra playing old songs, both international and Swedish jazz songs from the 1930’s and 40’s. We all got gin and tonic from Hendricks Gin to cool ourself. After all, tweed is a warm cloth especially after riding 26 kilometres on an bicycle from 1930´s without any gears among the hilly terrain that Stockholm offers. I understand they who uses gears. Understand, not accepting. Using gears are cheating, or is it?


Down hill. A Pelago rider are having fun and resting the legs a bit.

When we all was gathered there was a price ceremony. There was prices for best dressed gentleman and lady and their bicycles. Best dressed gentleman, best dressed lady and best dressed youngster. Not to forget the most unusual award by Hendricks Gin. They all deserved the prices! Applauds and cheers!


One of the winners, Most stylish Lady 2017

After the price ceremony it was time for the dinner. What a lovely and fun evening. We had a great time, lots of laughs and promises to meet again next year. Later in the evening all the top people within Bike in Tweed sat down at our table and we all chatted, tweed, bicycles all the night.

But sadly, everything comes to an end. So did this evening to. We took our bicycles from the parking and headed down to the ferry to get across Stockholm inlet or the Salt sea as it also is called. It is the gateway to Stockholm by sea. The ferry departs from Djurgården and arrives at the old town.


Heading home on the ferry.

After the ferry landed we said good night to other tweed riders and got up on our bicycles for the long ride home in the middle of the night. Until next time.

Happy tweed!

Why Harris Tweed?

Now days it is popular to organize tweed rides with the London Tweed Run as an example. All sorts of historical societies, groups and clubs organizes an tweed ride, run or social meeting in almost every town. It is fun, cheap and easy to organize. Bicycles are easy to carry around if needed, you can not carry a car and park it on the side walk at an café. Well you can, but it is frowned up on by many of the pedestrians that would like to use the side walk.

After riding vintage bicycles and attending all sorts of events for some years now. I realized that I was never quite out of style.  Because I have been riding vintage bicycles while using tweed since I was a teenager. Well not all the time. I was not using tweed in the summer when the heat was really demanding or when we were swimming in the sea during school breaks.

My first experience with tweed was my fathers old coat that was hanging on a hanger in the closet in attic. It was a Harris Tweed brown herringbone coat that he bought back in the late 1960’s at the famous Stockholm department store NK (Nordic Company).

By accident he bought the coat in the wrong size, it was just ever so slightly to small. Instead of returning the coat to the shop after you realized the mistake as you normally do. He kept it in an closet in the attic for many years. There it was left along with other clothes that he also bought in the wrong size some reason.

The coat was hanging there until the early 1980’s. That was when we did were looking after old things in closets to get rid off. My father found the old tweed coat, he asked me if I would like to have it. The coat was double breasted, 3/4 long coat and had an “Napoleonic ” style collar top fashion in late 1960’s. Because it was made of heavy tweed it was really warm, perfect for long winter days. My father remembering the fabric as “extremely sticky”, but I really liked it.

I never wore it to school. After all, the fashion amongst kids back then was jeans, sport trainer trousers, sneakers (white of course) and white tube socks. Anyone who came dressed in anything else was a open target for bullying. So I was only using the coat on my spare time.

There I was, dressed in fathers tweed. Beside an coat was better than a jacket when its cold, it keeps the behind warm. There were other cloths in the closet that I could use, shirts, sweaters. Sometimes when we were going to my grandparents I had his old ties and even dabbed on some of his old 1960’s after shave that I found in an cupboard in the basement. Sounds strange perhaps, but I guarantee that it was better with tweed, shirt and a tie than jeans and t-shirts. My mother always sighed and said that it was impossible to by clothes to me. I have no idea what she was talking about.

After all, I was quite fashionable back then. Almost straight from the 60’s. Sadly there are no photos from that era, it would be fun to see today how I looked in my outfit. Surely like no other kid in the middle of 1980’s. I would be beyond hip if I dressed like that in school today.

In the end, where did the Harris Tweed coat go? Te honest I do not remember, perhaps it was damaged in a house move at some point. Or perhaps it was decided to be thrown away at some stage. Only the label and the buttons exists today.


The buttons and the lable form my fathers old coat

Why did I got stuck in Harris Tweed? I guess there is three main reasons for that. First it was the coat mentioned above.

Secondly, when I was in school I met a teacher that was very special. He played chess, talked philosophy with us kids in a way no other teacher talked to us. We were equals, not kids to him. I remember that he had a photo of William Golding on the classroom wall and often quoted the book “Lord of the Flies” to us kids. Always when I saw him he wore an grey herringbone Harris Tweed jacket with dark elbow patches. He looked like an actor from an English TV-play, inspector Morse perhaps, Frost or any other of all these series. That teacher was the best one I ever had in school. I decided that I would have a jacket like that just because of him.

Thirdly, when we had lessons in school and I saw photos from Scotland. I fell in love with the nature of the highlands, the rugged landscape. I fell in love with the images you can see of the Hebrides. The sea and sunsets, it was then I decided that one day I should travel and visit the Harris Tweed factory.

But the years went by until one day a few years ago when I was looking around the internet for a new jacket. I found a web site of a small shop in Scotland that sells Harris Tweed clothing. I found a grey herringbone jacket, remembering my old teacher from school. I placed the order and a week later an package from Scotland arrived. It was just what I expected, heavy, strong, warm and great looking. But sadly without elbow patches.


Grey herringbone Harris Tweed, the same style of jacket my chess playing teacher used

Later when I started joining different vintage bicycle events I needed a suit. A suit in tweed naturally. My very first Tweed suit was bought on location while an vacation in Edinburgh. I visited an retailer on a Queens street and bought a three piece suite that I will write about in the future. It was an adventure from the start.

The following year I saved up some money and bought a genuine Harris Tweed suite from the small shop up in the highlands. The Harris Tweed suit I received is made to travel around the world on a bicycle! It is so well made and the fabric is marvellous, all the colours and the lining with the symbol of Harris Tweed embroidered. Details everywhere.


The Iain Harris Tweed suit, quality in every way

It is easy to understand why tweed has been so appreciated. It is reliable, warm, and looks amazing. It is a shame that I do not still have my fathers old tweed coat, but it got me in to tweed. Perhaps it is the destiny of some sort.


A lovely lady jacket in Harris Tweed, but the jacket is sewn by a different company

But the great feeling attending all sorts of vintage bicycle events dressed in tweed. Meeting other people that also dressed up enjoying the event. It is fun, not only for me but for the others. Look and admire each others outfits and bicycles. Perhaps there even is someone else among the riders that got to use their parents old Tweed suit, jacket or coat.

After all, tweed is a fabric that is almost impossible to wear out.