Crescent Tourist Racer 1934

It all started with a fellow tweedian that was searching for some parts he needed to complete his Crescent Tourist Racer project from the mid 1930’s.

The Tourist Racer style was a middle range of bicycles offered by the manufacturers. They were sportier than the standard bicycle. But they still had some basic equipment like mudguards, luggage rack, and so on. While the sport/track racers lacked those parts due to weight. In a way, the Tourist Racers were an everyday sport bicycle.

Back in the 1930’s, almost every large bicycle manufacturer had an tourist racer model in there range. They were dropped out of the range in the late 1940’s, when the standard bicycles became more light weight in general.

At an local flea market, my fellow tweedian found a rusty, dirty and worn old Crescent, just like the one he had. He bought the bicycle and brought it back home. After dismantling the bicycle and removing the parts he needed., the rest of the parts ended up in his attic. It was about that moment I heard about the bicycle. I too, was looking for some parts that were missing, the bicycle in the attic could have the parts I was missing.


An advertisement for Crescent Tourist Racer, available with chromed or stainless steel parts. Today the stainless steel version would cost about £500.

He sent me some photos of the remains of the old bicycle. It did not look so well, all dismantled, rusty and rather sad. But it had the parts I needed. After some discussions back and fourth for a year, I decided take over the project.

There I was, thinking I was done trying to fix old bicycles. I had earlier, very clearly, said no more bicycle projects, with missing parts and a long list of impossible issues to fix! But still, there it was in my hallway, as mentioned earlier, rusty, dirty and worn. But it still had a lot of charm.


One of the photos I got of the project


There is a bicycle among those parts


Dry fitting all the parts, I also added my old Versol derailleur to see if it fitted the frame

After dry-fitting all parts and adding some that I had laying around. It turned out to be a great looking bicycle with lots of attitude and potential. Now it was only a matter of examinate how much the rust had eaten up the frame, fenders and other various parts. The easiest way to clean the bicycle was by going to the local petrol station, and there I would do something that is not so healthy for an vintage bicycle in any circumstance. Just simply use the power wash to clean the bicycle from centuries of old grease, dirt and grime.

I had a set of vintage bicycle wheels, complete with tubes and tires. They came in handy when I rolled the frame to the gas station. There I started to wash the entire bicycle. Not a gentle cleaning with mild soap and an cotton cloth. No, it was full blast with chemicals and water pressure! Grease, grime and water sprayed and flew all over the place, on the walls, on to me, down in to my shoes. Suddenly, a faint green colour emerged underneath all the dirt on the frame. The paint was not lost, that was really good news.

When I got back at home, I did one more thing you should not to a vintage bicycle, or at all for that matter. I placed an cleaning paste direct on the mudguard, then I took some steel wool, dipped it in a strong degreaser agent and started to rub a portion of the mudguard with the solution, just to see how it turned out.

When wiping off the brown gunk that had formed, a deep green colour emerged. Not only the was green colour visible. More and more of the black pin-striping details along with the golden pin-striping decorations became visible. When scrubbing and wiping more and more, I found some painted emblems on the frame and mudguards. It was amazing, almost like archaeology, but in a smaller scale! I went to the local supermarket to buy more steel wool and more cleaning agents. Now it was time for the frame!


The spot where I first tried scrubbing. The image does not show the clear difference

After a while scrubbing and wiping, the frame and mudguards was fairly clean from surface rust. To prevent more rust I spread a thin coating of oil on the frame and on all parts. The rust will always be there, but if stored dry and warm and with a thin coat of oil, the rusting process will slow down. As they did back then.

I decided to dismantle the entire bicycle now when it was clean-ish. All bearings would be cleaned and degreased, they surely would need that after all those years and the abuse with the power wash. The front fork was easy to dismantle, clean up and reassemble with new grease. I removed the dust cap on the crank-set to dismantle it, but it felt really good when I tried to move it, no play at all or grinding in the bearings. It actually turned as smooth as the day it left the factory. In fact, I have never seen such good and free movement in a crank-set, especially not at an bicycle that is a bit more than 80 years old. The dust cap and locking ring went right back on. It was time to assembly the bicycle.


I had an old Crescent lady mascot that was missing a wing. It fitted on the mudguard there the original lady was. Now she sits there, watching the road again.

First I took my well worn vintage Brooks race saddle with an old vintage seat post. It was meant to be for a different project, but it was never used. It was the same story with the pedals, the handlebar stem and the original Crescent bicycle bell. Now they all finally came to use. In a shop I found a pair of vintage handlebar grips in a green shade, they looked to fit the green colour on the frame perfectly. The condition of all the parts fits the bicycle just perfect, all worn, original 1930’s.

I remembered the old dented and rusty ASEA headlight, the one with cracked glass along with the really worn ASEA dynamo, that I used on the £20 bicycle earlier. When scrapping the old bicycle (the frame was crooked most likely after a collision and was a pain to ride), another fellow tweedian was given the ASEA set to one of his projects. He never finished his project, and after some persuasion I got the headlight and dynamo back. Rusty headlight with cracked glass and tainted reflector, the look was perfect on the my project. Again, all worn, original 1930’s.


The ASEA headlight, green grips and Crescent bicycle bell


Quick release nuts


Lovely pin-striping and a bit of the original colour was visible when I removed the rusty pump holders


The Crescent lady looking up into the sky while resting on a crescent moon.

The wheels that came with the frame on the other hand was a sad story. They were so badly rusted, that there were large parts missing from the rim, there were holes, other than the holes for the spokes that made me question the safety or functionality of the original wheels. I decided to keep the hubs for spare parts, and recycle the rims and spokes. The wheel set I used when washing the frame came in handy. After cleaning the frame, the wheels actually had the same worn look.

I took the hubs apart and cleaned them up before greasing and oiling them again. The original rear hub had a double rear chain wheel. It was a simple way to shift gear back then. Simply loosen the wheel with the quick release nuts, give the chain some slack, lift over the chain to the desired gear and stretch the chain and tighten the nuts. Luckily the shop where I found the grips also had a two geared rear chain wheel, so now it was almost as original again.


Two geared rear chain wheel

Finally, the Crescent Tourist Racer was ready. How it rides? Like a dream. It rides like the wind. I do not like riding racers or use drop handlebars. But this bicycle is something special, it is almost like it was not ready for the scrap heap in some way. It has many miles left in the frame and seems to be happy and wants to ride fast again.


The complete bicycle


Lovely lines

When I took it for a test ride, I found a long straight with a bicycle lane. There was a lady riding her modern plastic bicycle far in front of me. “Tally-ho, here we go”, I started to pedal faster and faster, really pushing down the pedals with force while bending down and holding the handlebars in the grips. Like a green flash I passed the lady with my tweed jacket flapping in the wind. It must have been a sight for the lady, a strange tweed dressed fellow passing her while riding an rusty old bicycle. Dangerous!

When I later slowed down, I realized that it was the first time in 30 years I had made an dash like that. Riding Tourist Racer bicycles transform every day riders to pure giro cyclists.

Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020

Last year when I attended Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2019,  I made two bad decisions. The first mistake was to think that it would be easier to carry the bicycle in a bag onboard the cruise ship from Sweden to Finland. The second mistake was that I did not plan to stay for the party.

That is why I decided to ride my bicycle onboard the cruise ship this time. Also to stay at an hotel in Helsinki so I could attend the Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020 party and not feel any pressure to leave the event early.


Instead of carrying the bicycle, why not just ride the bicycle onboard?

When arriving in Helsinki on the morning of the event it was a perfect bicycle weather, a tiny bit snow in the air mixed with sunshine and around 0 degrees Celsius. Well, it was not perfect weather for the event. After all it is Winter Tweed Run. It could have been way colder, about -15 degrees and 50 centimetre of snow would have been nice. Extreme sport in tweed!

I went to the start at Senaatintori in the centre of Helsinki. The event started 1300, even if I was a bit early, there were other tweed riders already there. It was really nice to meet many familiar faces and have fun discussions about everything and nothing. After a few minutes the organisers joined us, as they walked around and greeted everyone welcome, they handed out a sticker as a souvenir to each rider. In the end we turned out to be about 50 tweed riders that joined up on the square for Winter Tweed Run Helsinki’s tenth year anniversary .


Arriving tweed participants


Bicycles and tweed


All sorts of bicycles in among the riders

After a while it was announced that it was time for the group photo. We climbed the stairs to Helsinki Cathedral with our bicycles and got in position. While standing on the stairs I noticed a photographer I recognised taking photos of us. I dashed down the stairs and asked if he could use my camera to take some photos of the group. He was happy to help out, sadly I never got his name. If he reads this, thank you very much for the help and all the great photos.


About 50 riders joined on Senaatintori

After having our photos taken and shouting the ceremonial thee cheers (in Finnish), we got some news about the ride. We would take the same route as last time. But not stopping by at Cafe Regatta this year. Instead we would have our break at cafe and museum Villa Hagasund, located in the heart of Helsinki. That would mark the end of the first part of the event. Later on the ride would continue to a new place where there would be tea and dance in the evening.

Also, it was important when riding our bicycles to keep the distance between the riders close. If we were crossing streets and the traffic lights would turn red. We should keep going. Since we are an parade, or unit, we have the law on our side, also a tight formation is a good thing if anything happens. Things like a bicycle breaking down or someone having an accident.


Time to line up for the start


Checking bicycles

We formed a line on the square and the familiar honking from the old ball horn gave us the signal that we were on our way. Along the streets where both tourists and local Helsinki residents were looking baffled and amazed by the odd sight of us riding our vintage bicycles while dressed in tweed. Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020 had officially started.

Sadly just after the start one of the two tandem crews that had a flat tire. One of the organisers had a cargo bicycle with tools and spare parts with him. But I think that the tandem bicycle had a special dimension of the tires so they had to visit a bicycle shop for some emergency service. They later joined us further down the route.

The ride went along the seafront towards Kompassitori in south of Helsinki. The sun was shining when we stopped for a small break where we waited for, as I understood it, another bicycle that had a flat tire earlier. After having a chat with the other riders for a short while, it was time to get on our way again.


On our way…


…along the seaside


At Kompassitori


Two girls on their tandem bicycle at the shore of Lapinlahti

We were riding along the streets and bicycle paths of Helsinki, dodging trams and pedestrians before arriving at Villa Hagasund. There they had set up a drink station with hot juice and cider along with gingerbread. It was a really nice treat for us, something sweet and tasty after the ride. The organiser stepped up on some stairs and thanked us for visiting their event. After the speech there was gentleman dressed in tweed with impressive handlebar moustache that held a long speech. Sadly I had no idea what he was saying. But we listened to him and cheered again at the end of his speech.


Speeches and cheers at Villa Hagasund


Lovely dress


The service bicycle


It was a really nice day in Helsinki

After the break, some riders said goodbye and went home. While the remaining riders started the last stretch of the ride towards the tea and dance party later that evening. We went down to the main railway station in centre of Helsinki and headed east, towards where the old Arabia porcelain factory once were located and our final destination, Kaffila Bokvillan.

At the finish line we parked our bicycles and went in for the party. Of course there was the traditional pea soup with bread and a drink waiting for us. I really like pea soup, but this soup is something special. Amazing!

After the dinner a dance teacher learned us swing dance, a skill that was needed later when the magnificent Maestro Ruscello and his group Gruppo Velocitá, entertained us with their lovely music. Now, it was time to relax and enjoy the tea and dance party until very late in the evening.


The finish line at Kaffila Bokvillan


Promotion for the event and the sticker we got as a souvenir


Maestro Ruscello e Gruppo Velocitá


Tea and dance party kept on the whole night!

Every participant I talked with, said the same thing. Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020, the tenth year anniversary was a warm, fun and happy event. It was a wonderful event in every way!

I even dare to say, if everything goes well, we’ll meet next year again… and I will ride my bicycle onboard the cruise ship, never carrying it again.

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

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.

 

 

 

Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2019

Back in 2018, I decided that I would join the 2019 Winter Tweed Run event in Helsinki. It is simply a very fun and relaxing event, with the spirit of “take an bicycle, dress in tweed and join us for a ride around Helsinki in February”. Who could resist that?

The days before Saturday 23rd of February.

The previous years I participated the event I boarded the ferry to Finland by riding my bicycle onto the car deck as one should. But this time I thought that if I were going to attend the event alone, I would carry my bicycle onboard the ferry. Simply by putting the bicycle in a large bicycle bag and carry it as normal luggage. The thought I had was to make the transport simpler and at the same time have less things to think about.

One candidate for the carry-on mission was the black Crescent that I built earlier. It is very minimalistic bicycle, it has no mudguards or other details that just add on more weight. Beside the wheels got quick release nuts! In short, the bicycle is perfect for easy travel. Just remove the wheels and carry it in a bag. Easy as pie, right? The date for the event got closer. I would go along with my “travelling light and carry the bicycle” plan. I bought an cheap bicycle bag that would fit my bicycle from 1927. There were bags with wheels, rigid cases that could stand a standing on top of it. But I went along with the cheapest one.

After removing the wheels, handlebars and pedals the bicycle fitted quite nicely in the bag. The bag itself have two handles and one shoulder strap. Perfect to carry alone as an large luggage. I packed my tweed in a bag and collected the bicycle bag from the basement. After packing the bicycle in the bag, I carried it to the subway and began my journey to Helsinki.


It is not allowed to ride the subway with an bicycle, but what if it is in a bag?

The subway ride went well. But on my way to the ferry I noticed that the bag was heavy. Really heavy! In the city I met up with a friend who went along the trip for a weekend in Helsinki. He asked if he could help carrying the bag.

The help was most welcome since the bag become heavier and heavier for me. Soon we went onboard the boat with the bag. No one did not even look twice at my bag with the bicycle. After a nice cruise we walked the streets of Helsinki to the hotel where we both were staying. I was carrying the bicycle while my friend helped out by carrying the wheels. That helped a lot. Checking in to the hotel was no problem either. But I was a broken man, the weight of the bag was silly. It was a stupid idea, carry on the bicycle like a luggage?! What was I thinking?

On the day of the event I went outside the entrance of the hotel and unpacked the bicycle. There I mounted the wheels, handlebars and pedals by using the tools I brought along with me. My good friend that joined me for the travel, took care of the bicycle bag while I joined the event. We had to board the boat back to Sweden later the same day so we decided to meet up later on that afternoon at the ferry.


Just a small detour, passing Vanha kirkkopuisto before the start

I arrived at Senaatintori (the senate square) a bit earlier than the start at 1300. There were already other tweed riders at the square, I rode up to them and joined them. There were familiar and new faces, we said hello to each other and started talking about each others bicycles and the event. There was a wide range of styles and brands of bicycles on display, new and vintage bicycles to admire and talk about.

I helped an fellow rider with some information about tires. He had a pair of really, really old and worn original 1930’s tires that had cracked and I was worried that they were about to break at any moment. Sadly I forgot to tell him the measurement on my own tires. But I hope that he will find some replacement tires. Suddenly there was a familiar honking sound in the distance. The organisers was arriving, riding their cargo bicycles while honking an old bicycle horn.


Just arrived to the start area meeting other Winter tweeders


Bicycles and warm dressed ladies talking


The organizers cargo bicycles have arrived

After their arrival, the organisers walked around and greeted each one of us personally and gave everyone a small sticker with the Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2019 event logo. For me those stickers are really nice to put on the bicycle frame as well as a souvenir. We started talking about all different tweed events I have attended, many were impressed by all places I have been to. When we were talking it was all Swedish, English and Finnish in a strange mix. The feeling of being welcomed by the organisers were, as usual truly heart warming and admirable.


That is a really cool space influenced bicycle

Sadly, I had to inform the organisers that I was not be able to join the party afterwards, since I had a boat to catch the same afternoon. But I would at least join them for a ride along the coast line. During the conversation I got invitations to other bicycle events in Finland during this following summer. It would be really fun to join a summer event in Finland.


In front of Helsinki Cathedral

The bicycle horn was honking! Attention ladies and gentlemen, it is time for a group photo! We formed us as a group in front Alexander the 2nd the statue in the middle of the square. After everyone had their photos taken, we were off. The route was as previous years. Following the shoreline, passing the Olympia terminal, Kaivopuisto park and further down to Eira, up along Sandudds cemetery to the finish at Regatta café. It is a really lovely route with nice views.


Here we go, cars stopping, people waving. An bicycle event in February is not so common I guess.


Passing the Silja Line ferry at the Olympia terminal


Heading down to Eira


Shore of Lapinlahti

The ride continued onwards, at Sandudds cemetery it was time for me to break the formation and head to the ferry. I said good by to the tweed riders and headed back, across the city.

During this event I learned some very important lessons:
1, a bicycle made in the late 1920’s, is made of iron and weighs about the same as a modern small car.
2, when riding in mud and snow. Mudguards are a saviour for your clothes and the fellow riders behind you.
3, an luggage rack is really needed for bags with sandwiches and drinks, you can not have all in your pockets.
4, why carry a bicycle, weighing as a iron bed from the Victorian era, when you can ride the bicycle onboard the ferry?


Heading back to the ferry, sadly missing the party

Thank you all for a great event, all laughs and good memories. I will keep my eyes open for Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020. But next time, can we hope for a real winter tweed event with -20 degrees and lots of snow?