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!

 

My first vintage bicycle

Perhaps I have mentioned the first vintage bicycle I once had before?

If I have, well here we go again. After my military m/42 bicycle was stolen back in early 1990´s. I decided to pay the local bicycle shop a visit to see if there was any good bicycle there that I could buy. This was the time when vintage bicycles was just old bicycles, that old people was using. 1940’s bicycles without gears was not the kind of bicycles that people wanted back then.

Among all sorts of bicycles standing outside the shop I noticed an old grey bicycle for sale, it had modern plastic grips, reflectors all around and an modern headlight mounted, the price tag was about £25. after trying the bicycle, I handed over the money to the shop owner and rode it home. Just a fun detail, the shop where I bought the bicycle was an old 1950’s shop that was owned by an gentleman and his wife. My father remembered them from when he was a kid in the 1950’s. They had the shop since 1950 up to 1990’s when they sold it to a new owner who just a few years later closed down the shop and had everything removed. The old shop was all original from 1950s, including the old neon sign “Sjögrens cykel och sport”.

The bicycle I bought was an Panther, made in Stockholm in about 1942. It became my daily commuter bicycle for a long time and I used all the time, summer, winter and everything in-between. It was a great bicycle that kept on going, in rain and shine, mud and snow, all year round on its old tires.


One of the only photos of my bicycle from back then. The photo is made by taking a photo of the original photo with a smartphone. Today I have no idea where the original photos are, perhaps even thrown away

After a while I started to use my grandfathers old bicycle bag bag on the luggage rack to have more space for luggage.  The old bag looked great one the bicycle. In fact the luggage rack had areas of worn paint from the start, exactly where the hooks for my bicycle bag was hanging. It was meant to hang there. I replaced the modern plastic saddle with my grandfathers old leather saddle and noticed that the bicycle looked more “complete” in a way. That was when I started to look around for old bicycle parts. I started to get an idea of replacing the 1960’s headlight with an really old one. One day I found some handlebars with the old wooden style grips. Away with the awful modern handlebars with the plastic grips. Now it started to look like an complete bicycle. Later on I found other parts, parts that fitted the bicycle well in its dark grey paint with black details and golden contours.

Back then I was wearing vintage cloths, not to be fashionable. It was more an reason of having clothes handed down by elderly friends and relatives, “you can have his old jacket, I have no need for it any more”. Also money was a bit of an issue, so I could not buy cloths so often.

Nowadays I think they would call it eco-friendly, re-usage or something like that. But back then I was grateful for the old clothes, after all they fitted better than modern clothes. They had way better durability and looked way better, old shirts with huge collars and bell bottom trousers. Almost all looked good, the lilac velvet jacket with silver buttons from the 70´s that was given to me at one point, that was a bit odd, even for me.

A few years later after I bought the Panther, perhaps in the mid 1990’s. I decided to do an small adventure just for fun. I got the idea of taking a long ride in the forests south of Stockholm with the bicycle. Riding for fun, but also to take some photos of the nature with my old camera. That was when I used to develop and print my own photos in the basement, it was a fun and creative hobby.

I loaded the camera with film, I wrapped some bottles of lemonade in newspaper to keep the bottles cold, and made sandwiches that I warped in baking paper and tied up with some string. I put everything in the old backpack that I had bought at the old military surplus store at the same time I bought the military bicycle. The backpack was from the 30’s and reeked of an mouldy, damp old cellar. But it was cheep.

All set up and ready to go, I headed away. It was a lovely day, the sun was shining and after I left the main roads, rolling down the gravel paths in the woods, I started to really enjoy the bicycle ride. The fresh air and the wonderful smell of the forest filled my lungs. Now and then I stopped to take an photo at the forest and trees, or when I was sat an the cliff looking out over an lake, having a picnic with sandwiches and lemonade.

It was many years later I realized what I had done back then. Without knowing it, I had made an Tweed Ride event long before it even became a thing.


Here I am sitting in the grass, having a tweed moment

Many years later I met a girl at work who wanted an vintage bicycle. I had my old Panther, of course I helped her out by selling my own bicycle. Why i did that? The Panther was an size 26″ and was ever so slightly to small for me. So I removed all my personal parts of the bicycle and replaced them with other old parts, parts like my grandfathers saddle and so on.

When writing here about all my bicycles, I thought I had mentioned them all. But I forgot about the old Panther, until I found an old photo of the old bicycle. The camera I used back then is since long gone, sold, given away. The cloths was worn and torn beyond repairs. But the bicycle, the old Panther, that I sold is still around. In fact, the girl who bought it asked me to help out and fix it a few years later.

We decided to meet one day, there is was. The old bicycle that I bought many years ago, it was well taken care of and looked all fine. After some general service, change of tires and adding some parts I had laying in my boxes. The old Panther turned out to be a very nice bicycle that will be a great companion for many years to come.


The vintage black and brass ASEA dynamo matches the grey/black/gold colours of the bicycle perfectly!


A proud Panther owner

Tweed Ride Reykjavik 2019

“I wonder if there is a tweed ride on Iceland”?

That was a question a fellow tweedian asked me some time ago. That made me curious, if there is an event on Iceland, there must be some information about it online. After some research, I found an Facebook group called Reykjavik Tweed Ride. The group information mentioned there had been tweed events in Reykjavik every year since 2012. How could I have missed that page before? It was then I made the decision to go to Reykjavik for the Tweed Ride one day.


Stylish chapettes

The first thing that crossed my mind was, how would I get my bicycle to Iceland? What way of transportation would be the best? I thought of all sorts of different possibilities, everything from posting the bicycle in the mail, or bringing the bicycle along as cabin luggage on an air plane. But after my adventure carrying the bicycle onboard the ferry to Finland in February, I shuddered by the thought of carrying the bicycle in a bag to the airport. There must be an easier way. After all, when I attended the Tweed Run in London I rented a bicycle from a company that had connections with the Tweed Run. Renting a bicycle worked as a charm in London, perhaps I could rent a bicycle in Reykjavik as well?

I wrote an message to Reykjavik Tweed Ride on Facebook and asked if it was possible for me to rent a bicycle? The very next day I got an reply back. It was a very nice reply explaining that the tweed ride organizer in fact was an bicycle shop owner and he would happily let me rent a bicycle from him. During our conversation, he helped me sign up for the event. It was settled, I was going to Reykjavik in the end of May.


The start at Hallgrímskirkja 


An impressive bicycle…


… with the most ingenious mending of an tire I have ever seen.

I have never been to Iceland before so I had no idea what it was going to be like. The first thing that struck me was that it was nothing like I have seen before. The volcanic stones, the nature, hot springs steaming in the distance, high mountains far away. At Reykjavik city I was surprised by how hilly it was. The thing with hills that it is nice to go down a hill. But once you are down at the foot of the hill, you need to go up the next hill.

In our conversation we decided that on the day of the event, I would go to the bicycle shop and collect my rented bicycle. Also meet Jon Oli, the organizer of the event. When I arrived at the shop we talked about the event, tweed and bicycles. It was a really nice and welcoming chat. Jon Oli showed me my ride for the day. It was an Belgium made Achielle, an classic single speed roadster. Very similar to the bicycle I rented in London. After some adjusting of the bicycle, we left the shop for the ride up to Hallgrímskirkja where the Reykjavik Tweed Ride start was located.


My ride for the day, Belgium made Achielle


Jon Oli, the owner of Reidhjolaverzlunin/Berlin bicycle shop and organizer of Reykjavik Tweed Ride, talks to a photographer before the start


The armbands was a bit tricky to fasten, but were very nice and an really great souvenir


That is one really cool looking bicycle

We arrived at Hallgrímskirkja a bit early, but already there were other tweed riders. Soon other joined up and joined the line to receive their staring numbers. One numbered armband and one numbered sign for the bicycle. The numbers had an reason.

After the ride, best dressed gentleman, best dressed lady and the best looking bicycle was going to receive prizes. By having numbers we were easily identified for the voting. When all participants was present and had received their numbers, we gathered in front of the statue of Leif Eriksson, the first known European to have set foot in North America, for a group photo.


The Reykjavik Tweed Ride 2019 group photo

After the photo was taken, the ride started. Jon Oli was showing us the way. With our bicycle bells chiming and ball horns hooting, we headed down from the church, down the hill, along the narrow streets where people stopped, took photos, smiled and waved to us.

We went down to the hill and rode around the city, passing restaurants and hotels. Of course I forgot to start my bicycle tracking app on my phone. So I have no idea where we went. But it was clear that Jon Oli had chosen an excellent route for us. No hills to mention, plenty of nice views of Reykjavik and an perfect tempo.


Along the streets of Reykjavik


Smiling tweed riders. That is an lovely hamper, prepared for a nice picnic


Waiting at an street light

The first refreshment break was at an hotel down in the harbour, there we could buy a beer, an glass of wine or have an refreshing glass of lemonade. It was a really nice opportunity for us to get to know the other riders and look at the our bicycles. After the break we were off again. New views and roads, but always the same majestic view of the mountains in the distance and the fresh air of the ocean.


Sadly I do not remember the name of the hotel where we had our first break


Sitting on the cargo deck on a Danish Long John bicycle is the best place to enjoy the ride

We were getting close to the finish line at Aegisgardur brewery. The brewery was open for refreshments and we could park our bicycles outside the brewery and sit outside with a locally brewed beer. Even the sun came out and turned it into a very nice day. Sitting with a beer in the sunshine and watching the view of mountains in the distance. It was very relaxing indeed.

Jon Oli gathered us and told ut it was time to vote for the best dressed gentleman and lady, we all wrote down our candidates on a small piece of paper and handed them to Jon Oli who put our notes in his tweed cap. After counting all votes, it was time for the prize ceremony.

The winners was brought up on a temporary stage and was given the prizes that was sponsored by an local tweed retailer. The prize for the best bicycle turned out to be the same gentleman who won the best dressed award. All I can say is that all prizes was well deserved.


A real gentleman is always well prepared


Announcement time for the winners…


Best dressed gentleman and lady, Spiffing dashing chap and chapette, I say!

In the end, it was an magical tweed event in a city that I never thought would have a tweed ride. The event was smooth, well organized and the route was perfectly planned. I have been to many tweed events, they has all their advantages and disadvantages. But Reykjavik Tweed Ride was in every way special. Small, cosy and relaxed. No to long, not to short. Just perfect!

After the gathering was over, the riders had started to leave, some of the riders were off to an restaurant in the city for dinner. I helped out with collecting beer glasses and putting things in order at the brewery. Then Jon Oli and I started our ride back to his shop, where I would return my bicycle. The ride went well, after some more talk we said good bye and I started the walk back to town with the armband still on my tweed jacket. Tradition says, that the armband must stay on until midnight.

Lastly I would like to say a big thank you to Jon Oli, a wonderful and kind man that was so kind and helped me on my first Icelandic tweed ride adventure.


Riding back to the bicycle shop after an perfect day filled with tweed, bicycles and lovely people

 

Here is the link to
Reykjavik Tweed Ride

Visit Jon Olis shop via this link:
Reidhjolaverzlunin