Stockholm Bike in tweed 2018

September is the month of tweed and bicycles. First it was Tweed Run Fredrikstad in Norway then it was Malmö Tweed Ride in south of Sweden. Are there any others? Of course.

When looking in my calender. There was four different tweed events in September 2018, I wanted to attend to. It turned out so I only could participate in three of the events I had in my calender. Due to a promise, I made a year ago, I could not attend to the Uppsala Vintage Biking the 8th of September. It was a shame because later on I heard from some people that I was missed in Uppsala. Next year, let us hope that the date will not collide with any other event.

The latest tweed event I attended to in September, was the annual Bike In Tweed event in Stockholm the 22nd of September. It is held in the town where I live, practical for me, it is not a problem to attend. For the other events, I often need to plan to arrange some sort of bicycle transport. But luckily not for the Stockholm event.

I usually use my Hermes bicycle from 1956, on all tweed events where it is possible to transport the bicycle. It is a good and reliable bicycle made in mid 1950’s, back when they really knew all small details that makes a perfect bicycle. I will mention all details about the bicycle in a future post.

But when attending to Bike In Tweed, I borrowed the Hermes bicycle to a friend (who have not got a vintage bicycle). With the Hermes gone, I needed to use a different bicycle. I have some bicycles to choose from in my storage. But which one to choose?

Should I use the grey Nordstjärnan from 1930’s? After all, it is made in Stockholm. Perhaps I should use the green Snabb made in the 1940’s instead? It is my jewel in the crown, it got many parts mounted from my grandfathers old bicycle. Or should I use the red Ridax? A slight problem was that it was not finished renovated, so it is still unusable. Or should I be brave and use the Swedish army bicycle? With a design to last 100 years?


Simply to many bicycles to choose from

The final decision was made the night before the event. I chose the black sporty Crescent from 1930’s. The weather forecast for the day of the event was sunny and +15 degrees. In other words, perfect weather for a minimalistic bicycle without mudguards. On the same night I packed a bag with sandwiches and something to drink during the day of the event. The tweed jacket was decorated with pins from other tweed events. The trousers were brushed, my shoes polished and the small flask was filled. I was ready for Bike In Tweed!

The day of the event started with meeting up with some fellow tweedian friends for a wonderful breakfast. We are a gang that used to meet at an café before the tweed events earlier. But sadly they have renovated the café, sadly the warm, welcoming feeling we liked so much has now gone away.

Instead, the friends decided to treat us with a magical breakfast at their home. Healthy smoothies, fresh bread, different brands of cheese, vegetables, tea, egg and bacon. What a wonderful and excellent start on a day filled with bicycle riding. The route of the event is long, about 23 kilometres. But we also rides our bicycles to the event in the city and home again, so we can add almost 10 kilometres extra. The breakfast was a good energy boost for the long ride.


Breakfast at fellow tweedians, a breakfast suitable for any elite cyclist (and tweed cyclists of course)

After the breakfast at 10 in the morning it was time to ride our bicycles into the city. Join the pre-start meet up and socialize at Everts Taubes terass located on Riddarholmen before the start at noon. As we got closer to the old town and Riddarholmen in the centre of Stockholm we saw other tweed riders heading the same way. There were some familiar faces, waves, greetings and smiles all the way. I even meet a fellow tweedian from Malmö that I met the week before.

We arrived at Evert Taubes terass and it was already lots of people there admiring each others bicycles and tweed clothes. After some searching and asking around, we found the registration desk and got our starting numbers.


Lovely ladies in line for registration

This year it was a new design for the number cards. They looked like playing cards and had two holes on the side for fastening. There was some confusion on how to fasten the numbers on the bicycles. Many riders fastened their cards with zip ties in the spokes of the wheels. But since they had only holes on one side, the cards fluttered in the wind. I decided to put my card on the frame, sideways it seemed to work better.


The odd way to fasten the number card to the frame on my Hermes bicycle


The cue for having our start photographs taken

After registration we was directed to a new cue for the start photos. This year they decided to use the view over the waters with Stockholm city hall as background for our portraits. It was windy and rather difficult to hear the instructions. But I guess the photo session went well. I have not yet seen the photos so far. After the photo session we all talked and were waiting for the start.


View overlooking Stockholm city hall


A young tweedian with fantastic colours on the bicycle and clothes. Even the flowers in the basket matches.


I helped the elegant and lovely Lucie with a struggling dynamo to her front light


Scramble! Time for start, ladies and gentlemen to your bicycles

Due to some delays we started a bit late than schedule. But now we were on our way, the official start of the 2018 Stockholm Bike In Tweed.

The route was about the same as last year. First up to Slussen and then down on Söder Mälarstrand while overlooking the waters of Riddarfjärden. Across Södermalm to the picnic that was located up at Vitabergsparken. For some reason the picnic this year was moved from Rålambshovparkens friluftsteater (open air theatre) where we usually have our picnic to Vitabergsparken. That is also an open air theatre.  Open air theatres are good places to take an group photo of us all. But also for having picnic.


Riding along Söder Mälarstrand with view of the city hall

When taking a photo of a bicycle, there is an unwritten rule. The chain guard should always face the camera. But due to the confusion, many of the riders went up the seats of the theatre with the bicycles facing the wrong way. When we all were standing up there, among bicycles and narrow benches and after lifting vintage bicycles, that are made in the same material as old hospital beds. We all were quite hot and out of breath.

When we were standing there. There was an request to turn the bicycles around so the chain guards was visible towards the camera. The dance of bicycles started, moving, turning, shifting heavy iron horses. Then smile and smile again. Smile one more time! Then the photography session was over and the picnic could start. The sandwiches and drink was really tasty and needed.


Lining up for the group photo, trying to hear the instructions over the music and wind


Bohemian tweedian, reflecting while smoking at Vitabergsparken

Time to get going, the break was over. We went down the hillsm heading to the south parts of Södermalm and the shore of Årstaviken. As last year, we went along the shoreline towards Hornstull and the dreaded Västerbron. A famous bridge in Stockholm that really takes it toll on bicyclists using single geared vintage bicycles. Due to the really strong winds this year it was really challenging. The strong winds was an aftermath of a storm that passed Stockholm the day before.

Hang on to your hats and caps. It is windy at the top to say the least! Due to the wind I did not dare to take any photos up on the bridge. I was afraid that the camera would have blown away.


Heading towards the shoreline of Årstaviken


Climbing the steep crossing at Rålambshov park

The bridge ends at the Rålambshov park from there we all needed to walk with our bicycles over a walkway over a road with heavy traffic. The ride continued after that up to Fridhemsplan and St:Eriksgatan. But here a few others and I decided to brake off from the rest of the group. We had seen the planned route a few days earlier and noticed there was plans to take the route via Karlbergs slott, a castle where there usually is a short break before cycling up the labyrinth of pathways before heading up to St:Eriksplan.

Our thoughts was that this particular stretch of the route is difficult, if not dangerous. It is really narrow and having about 200 bicyclists, some very young, some very old, peddling up that stretch. Is not a good section of the route. So instead of joining the fellow tweedians we simply took a short cut. That gave us a short break and a moment of talking. 30 minutes later we noticed the rest coming down the street. We were a bit sneaky and naughty…


A short break, while sneaking away from the group

After joining the group we headed down to one of the main streets in Stockholm city, Sveavägen. We used the entire line on the street, cars could not pass, people was standing along the way and waved to us. We replied with waves and ringing our bicycle bells.The route continued on Valhallavägen and the ally in the middle between the roads.

We crossed the bridge over to Djurgården. Now it was only a short way to the finish line. The finish was located at Hasselbacken restaurant as last year, it is a really nice place with a great view of Stockholm from the terrace. When we arrived there was a really good jazz group playing songs on the terrace. A really nice place with a great view of Stockholm.


Getting close to the finish line

We arrived about 45 minutes late, so it felt like the staff at the restaurant had been waiting for us. Perhaps there was some misunderstanding with times or something else. Due to the long route and the many uphill, many of us were really exhausted and tired at the finish line so the party after the ride was a bit damped.

There was a price ceremony for best dressed man, lady and best looking bicycle. New for this year was that they presented three nominees for each price. For some strange reasons I missed the ceremony completely. Many riders left rather quickly after the price ceremony, that was held almost right away after we all had parked our bicycles.

After the price ceremony we handed in our meal and drink tickets had a great dinner and talked with other tweedians. The main dinner was Wallenbergare, a classic Swedish dish made of finely minced meat balls (no, not köttbullar different meat and spices) with mashed potatoes and gravy. Tasty!


Cheers

Later that evening we decided to start our journey back home. A short trip to the ferry from Djurgården to Slussen and the long way home started. Of course with pit stops for conversation and small drinks along the way.


On the ferry across the waters towards Slussen


Evening view of Stockholm

It was a long route, a bit to long this year. Some stretches and sections of the route was improved, some remained and cause troubles. I heard from some tweedians that they wished a different route. Some because the route was demanding and not a leisure event. Others wanted to see new parts of Stockholm. We all have to see what will happen next year. I salute and extends my thanks for Bike In Tweed 2018. Now, the question is: What bicycle will I use on Bike In Tweed 2019?


Thoughts behind the handlebars on the way home after a long and fun day, cheers and happy tweed!  

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Malmö Tweed Ride 2018

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


My three pins 2016, 2017, 2018


Gathering and socializing


Cue to registration

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


We took cover underneath the trees during the sudden rain shower

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

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


One of many red-light crossings


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

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

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


Waiting for lemonade and sandwiches while listening to music


Refreshment break in the sunshine

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


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


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

 


Photo opportunity

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

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

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

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


Best dressed man, best dressed lady and master of ceremonies


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


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

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

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


Heading back to the hotel after a lovely day

I lift my cap! Thank you Malmö. .

Tweed Run Norway 2018

When I attended to the London Tweed Run earlier this year, I met the Norwegian delegation. While we were chatting and having a cup of tea they mentioned that they where having an Tweed Run back in Norway. Their next ride was set later in the fall of 2018 for the second year in a row.

Of course I felt right away that I should join that event. After all, I have now been riding my bicycles while dressed in tweed in Sweden, Finland and Great Britain . It was when thinking of joining the Norwegian event that my plans for attending all the Nordic country’s started. If I visited Norway, Denmark and Iceland my tour of tweed bicycling would be complete. I know that Denmark has an tweed event. But how about Iceland? That is a question for the future.

The 1st of September 2018 was set for the Tweed Run Norway event in the town of Fredrikstad that are located in the southern parts of Norway.  In preparation for the event I adjusted and serviced my trusty old 1956 Hermes. A trusty bicycle that have been in several Tweed rides by now, it was the best choice to use it in Norway. I packed the tool box on the luggage rack with some necessary tools. I put a simple tire repair kit in my bag along with my tweed suit and strapped the bag on to the rack. I was ready to go.


My Hermes from 1956 all packed and ready for new adventures

The day before the event a friend and I, started our journey to Fredrikstad. We took our bicycles apart, front wheel, saddles and turned the handlebars sideways so they could fit inside the car with ease. Then we were off, we had many miles to cover.

The journey went well, crossing the border in to Norway for my fourth international tweed event. We arrived at Fredrikstad later that evening. We checked in to our hotels and got some rest after the long journey. We decided to leave our bicycles in the car over the night. It was easier that way.

On the morning of the 1st of September I woke up and noticed the weather first of all. It was sunny and a bit chilly. In short, it was perfect tweed weather. I adjusted my tie in the mirror before meeting my friend in the hotel lobby. We walked to the car that was parked in a garage a bit away from the hotels. It was easy to remounted all parts we removed yesterday. On our way to the car we had bought some food for the picnic later on that we had put in our saddle bags.


Bicycling from the car in the garage heading for the start at Quality Hotel

We were among the first to arrive at Quality Hotel where the Tweed Run Norway check in was located. They had placed a desk outside the hotels entrance for registration and handing out our starting numbers were we was handed our starting numbers. One smaller note to fasten on your person and one larger note with the same number for the bicycle. We added our signs to our bicycles and jackets sleeves before entering the hotel and enjoying for a lovely brunch filled with Norwegian specialities like salmon, warm liver pâté with bacon and different salads.

The organisers of Tweed Run Norway had made a deal with the hotel so those who attended the ride could buy brunch and even a small picnic bag at Quality Hotel for a good price. We had only signed up on the brunch at the hotel, because we wanted to get some special sandwiches and traditional pastries like “Skolebrød” that is a sweet wheat bun with vanilla cream placed in a hole at the top and covered with glaze with small coconut shavings on top of that (sorry but there is no photo of that bun, it disappeared so fast).

While we were sitting in the restaurant we met and said hello to other tweedians who also had their brunch at the hotel restaurant. Champagne corks were popping, people were happy. It was a great start of a great day!


The Tweed Run Norway check in, just outside Quality hotel


Lovely dressed lady at the start

After being full and satisfied from all great food we joined the the crowd outside. Now people had really started to show up. Lovely dresses, handsome suits and lovely bicycles. We talked to other participants and admired the great bicycles when suddenly it was time. In the end we were 200 riders that was participating in the event.


Tweed and dashing chaps


Flat tire repairs just before the start


The street was getting crowded by other tweed riders


Flower braided baskets are always nice


Norwegian flags with the flag of Scotland

At one a clock it was time to start our ride. Bystanders stopped and cheered, children were waving, a symphony of bicycle bells chimed in the town centre. The ride was in a slow and enjoyable pace, the weather was perfect. We rode along the streets, it was a real treat to see all old wooden houses in the town. It was a sight for us all.


Time to start, cheering people and chiming bells


Picturesque surroundings


A very nice route


What to do when you bicycle breaks down? Ride along on the luggage rack

After a while we arrived at an bridge. The route was planned to cross the river on a bridge to the island of Kråkerøy. But sadly the bridge that could open for boats to pass and  had broken just before we arrived at the bridge.

The organizers had a backup plan, a quick decision was made to ride on the shore of the mainland was made. The unforeseen stop was very short and hardly noticeable. Instead of visiting the island we found ourself riding our bicycles along the Bryggepromenaden (board-walk/shore-promenade) of central Fredrikstad, the promenade was filled with strolling people. They all cheered and waved at us while we went by. Even many cars that were stopped to let us pass and later on was waved to drive on stood still. The drivers said that they rather watched us ride our bicycles than to drive away and miss seeing the event.

After more cycling around the town streets we ended up for a tea break at Domkirkeparken (Cathedral park). Lots of chatting and clinking of teacups, also there was time for a group photography before we headed along. We all gathered around the pavilion and got the group photo taken.


Tea break at Domkirkeparken


Plenty of bicycles to admire


Norwegian gentleman with his fantastic bicycle


Really wonderful flower girls, it was not all tweed


The tea was served in really nice cups

After the tea break the ride continued up on the banks of river Glomma up to a ferry crossing where we went over to the small village of Sellebakk and continued the ride southward on the banks of the river. From a fellow rider I learned that this was locations for shipyards saw mills and brickyard’s back in the day. Now it was forests mixed with houses along the shore line.


That was one happy dog


The small ferry, it took about 5 or six turns to get all 200 of us over the river

We went further south to Gamlebyen, the old fortified part of Fredrikstad. There we arrived at the finish for our journey. At the old buildings there was one more photo session, this time individual photos were taken. Perhaps it was a bit unfortunate in my humble opinion. Because we all were a bit out of breath after climbing a small hill earlier. But it was fine anyway, the picnic waited with tasty food and drinks.


Fredrikstad Bridge


Many green areas along the river


Arriving at Commandantgaarden


The beer specially made for the event by a local brewery


A Swedish bicycle of the brand Apollo. It was made in Värnamo in the 50’s, it was also used by a visiting Swede

The picnic was held at the really lovely Commandantgaarden (the commander garden) on the grass under old apple trees. There was a price ceremony for the best riders. Later on Mr B, The Gentleman Rhymer entertained us with his tweed-hip-hop-ukulele-style songs. Drinks of all sorts and hot dogs were served at the bar by a really nice crew of people.


Price ceremony, that was followed by…


Mr B, The Gentleman Rhymer who put on a splendid show complete with sing-a-longs

It was an excellent event, a great experience and a wonderful day! We tip our hats and says tally-ho and raises our glasses to thank the organisers.

Cheers and until next tweed event!

Music and Tweed

I bought a new record player.

Well, to be honest. It is not this years model, not even the last year model. In fact it is a Cremona Rex for those old 75rpm shellac records, perhaps made in the 1940’s. A record player that is discretely and conveniently placed in a suitcase for easier transport. Easy to travel with, or why not bring it along on a bicycle trip?


Cremona Rex, hand cranked shellac record player from the 1940’s.

Back then it was very common to travel around on a bicycle. For shorter travels the bicycle was an excellent transportation. Cheep to maintain, easy to handle and almost everyone had a bicycle. So why not take the bicycle and pedal out on the country side. Watch some cows, look at the horses and point at the farmers.

When stopping for a sandwich and a coffee in some green meadow. Instead of enjoying the scenery you can destroy the calm and ruin the sound of nature by cranking up the old record player and put on the latest noise and screams from the famous artists at the time of the 1930’s and 1940’s.


“Sonora”, the major Swedish record company in the day.


Singing in the rain, with Jack Hylton and his Orchestra.

While listening to all the hizzing, crackling and popping from the record player. Listeners are invited to dance and enjoying a good afternoon. But there is a slight disadvantages with the old 75rpm records.

Firstly, they are heavy! In fact, in Sweden they are even officially called “stone slates”.
Secondly, there is one song on one side and a different song on the other side. Two songs per record. So if you want to listen to 10 songs, you need 5 records.
Thirdly, comes the question is where to storage them when riding a bicycle. There is a small compartment in the record players lid.

Transportation is a serious issue and a huge disadvantage with these “stone slates”. Sadly they are not made of stone, instead they are made from shellac compounds that makes them extremely brittle and fragile. When transporting a bunch of shellac records there is a enormous risk of breaking some records. Not only by careless handling, but the sheer pressure by stacking many records on top of each other is a danger.


A small mishap while transportation resulted in a cracked record.


This is not portable in the way we are thinking by standards of today

Suddenly the afternoon tea dance is suddenly reduced from 10 songs, to perhaps 6 songs, or even 4 songs depending the storage ability. That is not much dancing before the afternoon tea room dance becomes rather boring.

Today there are much more sturdy things available on the market. For example there are blue-tooth connected speakers that are chargeable and can play music up to 15 hours straight. Connected to a smart-phone with a music service for example Spotify. You can play music for days without playing the same song twice.

It sure is a difference from the portable record player with its shellac records. In this case I can even say that there is no advantages with a manually, hand cranked old record player. Well there is one advantage, you get exercise while cranking up the spring that operates the turntable.


New meets old

I started the song “After you´ve gone” with Svend Asmussen on my iPhone, connected the blue-tooth speaker and listened to the quality and volume. I have the same song on a original shellac record. I compared the both recordings and sounds. The feeling of cranking up the record player by hand was fun. But you need to crank the turntable spring at least every two songs to maintain a good speed on the record. You need to check the stylus, is it good? Do it need to be replaced? After all, a stylus has a range of 20 plays before it becomes to blunt. The noise from the record made it almost impossible to hear the song at all.

But with the modern set-up. I can adjust the volume, change tone, skip songs and so on. If the devices are charged you have hours of music.


The modern set-up


Lucky me, I have a box of Original Decca styluses.

In conclusion. The Cremona Rex record player sure looks the part when starting to play shellac records. It is a fun thing to use. After all it is 95% show and 5% enjoyment.

Instead of the modern set-up. That is both easy to carry and simple to maintain. It is so much better to bring a water proof blue-tooth speaker to the afternoon tea dance in the meadow. After all, there is no need to change records every third minute. My Spotify list with jazz and dance music from the 1930’s and  1940’s plays for 24 hours straight.

That is a lot of dancing.

 

If you like to listen to my play list:

 

London Tweed Run 2018

10th London Tweed Run was held on Saturday the 5th of May 2018.

The London event is an enormously popular event with about 1000 participants each year. It is said to be the original tweed cycling event like this. Since there are now so many people that want to ride their bicycles while dressed in their finest tweeds, it has become necessary to sell advance tickets to those who want to participate. The event is so popular that all the tickets completely sell out online in a matter of seconds. A few years ago the tickets were sold out in 90 seconds. This year it only took 4 minutes until all tickets were sold.

I have been wanting to join London Tweed Run for a few years just to have been there, but it was never possible and I never tried really hard. But this year it was the 10th anniversary, I decided to try to get hold of a ticket. After trying to access the site on-line I found out that all tickets were sold out again. But there was a message letting me know that – if I wanted to – I could join a waiting list in case of any tickets were available later. I signed up just for fun and did not think more of that.
Three weeks later, I got an email saying that there was one ticket available if I wanted it. I bought it without hesitation.


My hat and some refreshments before the flight to London

Now, the logistics needed to be solved. I booked a hotel. That was easy. But how should I get my bicycle to London from Stockholm? I looked up different companies that offered bicycle as luggage on air planes. But then the question remained, how should I get the bicycle in a huge box from the airport to the hotel? There must be a better way.

After some research I discovered a business called Tally-Ho Cycle Tours. After some email exchanges with Mr Harris there, I booked a black 28″ Pashley Roadster bicycle for me to collect on the actual day of the event.

The day came, I went down in the London underground and travelled the tube while dressed in tweed, listening to old jazz in my headphones just to get myself in the mood. I arrived early at Tally-Ho cycles and met Mr Harris, a very nice and kind man. He brought me my bicycle for the day, adjusted it so it would fit me. While I was At Tally-Ho, I saw others dressed in tweed, trying their rented bicycles.


Bicycles with baskets at Tally-Ho cycles


Pashely roadsters waiting to be a part of the Tweed Run

Since I was an international participant I needed to be early at the Tweed Run start area to receive my starting number and a welcome pack of documents with information about the ride. On my way to the start area that was located outside the Imperial War Museum, I spotted yet more tweed riders and also a group of ladies dressed in 1940’s style clothes, all heading towards the Imperial War Museum. I was not alone. It always feels better when seeing other ‘Tweedians’ when one is in a new place. It assures me that I am at the right location.


Being one among the first at the start


I met Francisco at the start

It has happened before, it will happen again. I was early, really early. I was among one of the first 10 people at location. The ladies I had noticed earlier were setting up distribution points to hand out the rider packages. I was in the right place.

There I was, standing in the park with my bicycle and reading a book in the lovely summer weather, waiting to collect my rider package. I met Francisco, a man from Portugal but living in Belgium that I had seen earlier at Tally-Ho Cycles. We chatted about the event and where we were from. As we were talking, Martin from Germany joined us along with his wife. Then Lisbeth and Stefan from Netherlands turned up. We were truly an international group, talking bicycles and tweed and just having fun.


The sun is coming out, it is going to be a lovely day


Tweed and bicycles


Marin and I are admiring his original -50’s Adler

That is the Tweed Run spirit: diverse people meeting and talking and having fun. Lisbeth, Stefan and Francisco had all been at a London Tweed Run before. But for Martin and me it was the first time, in fact it was to be Martin’s first tweed event.

As we talked, around us there were reporters conducting interviews and many other tweed riders talking bicycles and clothes.

Suddenly we heard the sound of loud horns and a man shouting. It was time to begin the 12 mile long bicycle ride around London. Almost 1000 riders peddling down the narrow roads. It was fun, I met many lovely people along the way.


Time for the start, around 1000 riders


Falcon enamel cups, tandem bicycle, picnic and a baby on board.


Westminster bridge with the parliament and a covered Elizabeth tower (Big Ben).


The marshals did an excellent work guiding us riders around London


Climbing the hill at The Waldorf hotel

We rode across Westminster Bridged and headed to Covent Garden and then along the streets up to Russell Square, just beside British Museum. Pedestrians were waving, smiles and happy faces accompanied by hundreds of bicycle bells chiming. But now it was time for a tea break!


Gentleman with a boater hat having a break


A happy girl, with a lovely outfit. The barre with feathers are simply adorable.


Russel square park and Tweed Run tea break


Dashing chaps


Style, elegance and a positive attitude. An example for us all


Interviews, this time by German reporters

It was a lovely break within a glorious setting. The green park, trees creating an idyllic location for this event. The tea wagon was pouring out tea in lovely cups. That is where I met the Norwegian Tweed Run delegation. We talked and had fun.


Tea in the park


More tweed chaps

After refreshing ourselves with the tea it was time to set off again. Now we headed towards the area of Marylebone and rode straight across London Zoo to enter Camden Town where we all rode along the tow-path beside the canal. Now, that was an adventure. Narrow, water one one side, pedestrians on the other. We were told to ride on a single file, not stopping to take photos. There was simply no room.


The adventures canal stretch. Lovely, but narrow

In fact, I was insulted by an elderly man who was annoyed by the appearance all the riders. Having chosen not to ride too close to the edge of the canal, I took a line a bit closer than normal to the bench where the old man was sitting.

“That’s right, cycle a bit closer you fat bastard” I head the man yell at me.

There was no time for stopping and talking to the man. Onwards!


Hair and matching bicycle


A marshal guiding us


I guess that France was represented on this event


Spring and pre-summer in London


Camden town by bicycle

After Camden we entered St: Pancras where we had a picnic at Gasholder park. There were food vendors nearby and a shop for drinks and simpler food further down the road. I was taking a rest when I meet Martin again, we all had been separated during the ride. We talked for a bit, he said that he was going to buy something to drink. I said that I could keep an eye on his vintage German made Alder bicycle while he went away.


Gasholder park, not so romantic picnic location

After a while he came back, he had bought along a sandwich, water and some crisps for us to eat. That was very kind of him. I thanked him deeply. Then we sat there and talked in German in London at an tweed event. That is what makes happy memories!

We later met Lisbeth and Stefan again, but sadly lost track of Francisco. Suddenly we heard a loud cheer! It was then we realized that there had been a group photo opportunity. We and many other riders were still standing in the shade of the gas clocks when they took the photo. It was a pity that there was no better information about the time for the photo.


Time for the final section of the Tweed Run before the finish

Then it was time to make our way again. Bicycle bells were chiming, horns hooting and people cheering. Time for the final leg of the ride. Up and down the hills of Clerkenwell, where Martin and I joined up for the rest of the journey. We laughed and had a great time. Suddenly we were at the finish line at Spa Fields Park. I parked my bicycle and almost directly found Mr Harris from Tally-Ho, they were collecting their bicycles from there as a service for those who would like a gin and tonic at the party.


Finish line at Bourne & Hollingsworth at Spa Fields park in Clerkenwell


Now that is the image of an English gentleman

Sadly I needed to go, I was about to meet a long time friend later that evening. After all it was my first time in London for 17 years, we had much to catch up with and a long ride in front of us.

In the end, London Tweed Run was a great event. Happy, friendly great looking people. The use of official marshals who stood on corners and directed all of us was a great feature. Also the relaxed atmosphere with riders smiling and chatting with drivers of cars, buses and taxis. I would say that almost everyone adjusted to the situation.


Quite Brittish

I have been to many tweed rides. It was fun to experience the original one. How was it arranged, how they prepared the event and other small details. The only disadvantages I noticed was that the ride alongside the canal was too narrow for so many riders and perhaps, looking back, a mistake. Also, that so many riders were not aware that there was a group photo taking place along the route and missed being in it for posterity. Why didn’t they take the group photo at Imperial War Museum, like last year? That would have been calmer and easier to gather all participants on one photo.

Also the location of the lunch break at Gasholder Park was a bit odd. Seeing all these wonderfully attired people sitting on blankets directly on old concrete was not so charming. Only the marshals and other exclusive members got to sit on the grass at the Gasholder Park. If the lunch had instead been held along with the tea break at Russell Square, there would have been perfect scenery for this particularTweed Run.

Blankets on the grass, tea, sandwiches, tweed and bicycles. That would have been lovely!

Thank you for a long, lovely, unique day!

Cheers!

 

PS: I like to thank Mr Withers for all help along the way, before, during and after the event.