Uppsala Vintage Biking, (Punschrundan 2020)

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Arriving at Fyristorg


Inspecting and admiring bicycles

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


The riders at the first stop of the route


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

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

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

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

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


Across the bridge and on the road heading to the picnic


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


Happy tweedians riding the open road

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

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

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

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


Some of our bicycles parked along the picnic area


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


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


Mr Daniels and his 1892 Hillman Herbert Cooper


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


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

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

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


Gathering at the finish line


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


Heading towards the train station after a great day

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

Until next time. Ride carefully and be safe.

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.

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.

 

 

 

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!