Nordic Tweed 2019, part 1

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

The first event, Helsinki Winter Tweed Run 2019

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

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

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

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


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

 

The second event, Tweed Ride Reykjavík

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tweed Ride Reykjavík

 

The third event, Tweed Run Norway (Fredrikstad)

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

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

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


Tweed Run Norway

 

The fourth event, Copenhagen Tweed Ride

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

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

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

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

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

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


Copenhagen Tweed Ride

 

The fifth event, Bike in Tweed Stockholm

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

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



Bike in Tweed, photos by the kind Mr. Loch

 

Nordic Tweed 2019

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

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

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


Nordic Tweed 2019


All cities and dates of the tweed events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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?

Uppsala Vintage Biking 2017

It was time for my 4th Tweed ride this year.

Uppsala Vintage Biking is a brand new event that was held for the first time this year. It was held at the same day as the festival Kulturnatten (Culture night) was held in the university town of Uppsala. I found out about this event early in 2017 and decided to participate juist for fun. In the summer an event was started on Facebook for Uppsala Vintage Biking, I signed up for it and paid a small starting fee.

The day for the event came, I took my lunch box with home made sandwiches and a beer (not home made), packed my bicycle bag and left home early in the morning for a ride to the commuter train station. These days you can take the commuter train all the way to Uppsala from Stockholm. It is just to add an extra fee to the regular travel card, simple and effective. For the first time I was going to take the bicycle on a train, I have never done that before. It was an experience.


Arrival of the commuter train to Uppsala

As soon as I stepped on to the train with my bicycle I bumped in to more bicycles already parked in the vestibule on the train. My first thought was “now this is just great, I can not stand here”. Then I noticed that it was old bicycles, really old bicycles. Vintage ones. Right beside them there was a gang dressed in tweed, just like me. “Hello”, they shouted. We recognized each others and I was invited to sit with them. Then we started to talk about tweed, bicycles and the new event we were going to. One hour later the train was in Uppsala, it was a quick and pleasant ride with nice company.


Exiting the train at Uppsala station, 5 tweed dressed bicyclists started their journey.

We all gathered at the old docking bay at the old Nymans bicycle manufacturing plant, a classical bicycle maker in Uppsala. There the organizers greeted us, they handed out our starting numbers and some information about the route. They also gave us rain capes in case of rain. During the time we registered other tweed riders joined us. We all talked and had fun for a while before it was time to start the ride. The route was planned not only by the streets of Uppsala, but also the rides route was in the nature and wonderful parkways.


Lovely scenery in a old tree alley passage.


A slow ride along green hedges and grass lawns.

There was a break in Botaniska trädgården (Botanical garden) with a group photo of the riders and picnic on the schedule. Now this was a really impressive picnic break. They had arranged two long tables for us to sit by under a big archway. There were a brass band playing old jazz songs when we arrived. We parked our bicycles and sat down at the tables. There we sat and had our food and drinks while listening to old jazz standards played live. It was a lovely and wonderful time! Sadly we needed to get on our way.


Live jazz and picnic, great relaxation


Bicycles parked while we were at the picnic break


A Vintage Rider, with a lovely 1920’s dress and an Uppsala build Hermes bicycle

The ride continued up around the Uppsala castle were we had a small stop. Up there we admire the view and used the time to gather up all the riders. After a few minutes we went down the hills passing Uppsala cathedral and in to the central parts of the town. Because it was the culture night festival the streets were filled with people, stands, children, music and laughs. It was a real festival feeling in all of Uppsala. We got lots of cheers and liking from people when riding the streets and over the bridges with our vintage bicycles and everyone dressed in tweed or vintage dresses.


View from Uppsala castle


Down to Uppsala cathedral

The next stop was when the entire Vintage Biking crew went in to Nymans museum to get a guided tour around the collections of bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles and boat engines.

After that guided tour we all went to the central shopping street for the finish and price ceremony. After thanking the organizers and saying good bye and promising to meet next time it was time to go home. I got company to the train by a fellow rider, she showed me the way to the railway station and there the long journey home began.

It was a excellent event! I lift my hat for the organizer! Lovely, fun and heart warming!

Thank you, see you all next year?