The green bicycle, Husqvarna 1948

As always, it all started with one project to many.

A fellow tweedian mentioned to me one day that he was searching for a special type of bicycle. One that he could modify to be his daily commuter ride. His criteria were; a silver coloured semi racer with derailleur gear and luggage racks, both in front and in the rear of the bicycle.

It so happened, that I had my fathers old 1980’s Meteor racer bicycle standing in my basement. My fellow tweedian was intrigued by the bicycle, it was a good foundation for his project. Was it for sale?

I knew that among all bicycle projects he has in his basement, there was a old 1940’s green Husqvarna bicycle. It would be perfect for all the spare parts I have collected over the years. Parts that never fitted any of my earlier projects, instead ended up in boxes marked “might come in handy”.

Especially the Versol derailleur from 1940’s, that never fitted any of my projects. It only fits frames with rear dropouts with their opening forwards. All my bicycle projects so far has their rear dropouts with their openings backwards. I knew that the green Husqvarna have rear dropouts facing forwards. That would be perfect for my Versol derailleur.

I suggested perhaps a trade would benefit us both, my fathers old bicycle for his green project. It ended up with me coming home with yet one more project. I think it is the third time I said it was the last time for projects. But here we are again.


Fellow tweedian working on the Husqvarna 1948 project.

Back home I checked out the bicycle more. It is a Husqvarna made in 1948. I realised that many parts on the bicycle actually were original parts and in very good condition. Parts like the front chain wheel, the nut that holds the front fork in place and the front light holder. The mudguards were not original but they looks great together with the frame, both have the same nice green tone. But most important my Versol derailleur fitted like a charm.


Handlebars that fits the bicycle. This can be a great project.


Versol derailleur…


…and gear leaver

Right away I started to look in my boxes for other parts to complete the bicycle. Handlebar, grips, a front light. I had two wheels with stainless steel rims standing in the corner, they fitted perfectly. I traded some other parts I had laying around for a fitting stem. The handlebars with grips was mounted on the stem along with an original Husqvarna bell. It all started to look like a cool bicycle. Green, black and silver.

I decided to make the front light battery powered. Because I wanted to use one more odd part that never found any usage. An old east German made bicycle bell, “Radlaufglocke” or “Sturmklingel” that they are called in German. The bell is activated by pulling a cord so the flywheel of the bell is pressing against the tire and starts to spin. Then the bell will ring as long as the cord is pulled or as long the wheel is spinning.

All the bell needs is a dynamo bracket mounted in a way that the bell can pivot onto the tire to make in spin. I mounted the Sure enough, it worked like a charm. It´s steel housing and red flywheel fits the look of the bicycle just perfect. For activation cord to the bell, I used an chain from an old Swedish dog tag.

That is one cool bicycle bell, it sounds like a old tram on the run when used. It will most definitely get attention when used. I still had the old Berko battery box which I removed from the 1928 Crescent. I took some old electrical cord and make the front lamp work.

Only to make the bicycle somewhat legal to ride in the night.


Berko battery box with a cloth wound electrical cord along the frame to the front light


Bicycle bell that will ring as long the cord is pulled and the wheel is spinning


I also added an old id-tag. That type of tag was patented in 1942, so it is really a 1940’s bicycle


The bearings was in desperate need of grease

Now it was time to mount everything together, I bought new a bunch of old stock screws (shiny screws are needed for a shiny bicycle) and got to work. Mudguards, double kick stand, headlamp with visor, cleaning, oiling and greasing up old bearings. It all worked well and in some way, it seemed like the parts, although they were different brands, were meant to fit together from the start.


I tried to keep all the parts it in the same era as the bicycle frame, mid to late 1940’s.

Then we have the issue with the, by now infamous, Versol derailleur. It was a slight pain to adjust and to make sure it worked, or at least almost working as it should.

First of all, there are no fixed positions for the gear leaver. Changing gear is made by feel and listening on the chain travelling across the cogs. 3st gear, no problem. 2nd gear, well it is there somewhere keep trying. 1st gear? Well, now we are getting a bit optimistic aren’t we? Let us stay on 2nd gear for a while instead.

Then there is the ever so slight issue of being able to bring the bicycle to a stop. Since the derailleur are used on a coaster hub with a built in brake, it means that the chain will slack considerably when peddling backwards to brake. With a standard hub you only need to peddle backwards slightly to engage the brake. The Versols attitude towards braking, is that small and quick peddling are for wimps. There is more of effort to peddle at least half a turn while the chain might derail at any moment if the rider are being careless. So with the Versol derailleur system, braking is like stopping a boat forging ahead. You really need to think in advance and plan your stops well in advance.


Fitchel and Sachs chain guide makes use as a spring bracket. Yes I know, it is all wrong.

Correctly adjusted it is not such a big deal. But having to slack the chain in a way that there is need for a guide to make sure that the chain stays in place and not derails. Well, that is not what I would call a optimal riding experinace. But still, Versol derailleur system derailleur was the most popular derailleur/gear system in Sweden during 1940’s and 1950’s. Perhaps because there were no others? Or, the alternatives where so complicated, impossible to adjust or perhaps just weird? Who knows?

My grandfather had an old Rex bicycle from the 1940’s with an Versol derailleur system mounted. Completely, utterly and totally insane. Not to forget the minor detail of it being really a really dangerous bicycle. I still remember my grandfather riding along the streets with his bicycle that had no front brake at all, only relying on the rear hub brake. While riding his bicycle wearing clogs at the age of  75. Could he ride his bicycle like that, so can I!


Headlight visor adds to the look


Modern Brooks B66 saddle, but it fit the colour theme of the bicycle, green, silver and black.

The green bicycle, dangerous and almost original. If I can’t brake, at least I will be able to use the tram bell so there will be a heads up before the crash.

But still, it is really good looking bicycle.

Crescent Tourist Racer 1934

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


One of the photos I got of the project


There is a bicycle among those parts


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


The ASEA headlight, green grips and Crescent bicycle bell


Quick release nuts


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


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

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

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


Two geared rear chain wheel

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


The complete bicycle


Lovely lines

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

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

Solo Tweed Ride, 2020

After attending different tweed rides in Sweden, Norway, Finland, United Kingdom, Denmark and Iceland. I thought it would be interesting to attend a tweed event in a new country. In my research I found that many towns in Germany have their own tweed rides. For example Stuttgart, Hildesheim and Oldenburg just to name a few. Attending a tweed ride in Germany would be a fun and new experience for me. Besides, it is not far from Sweden either so travelling there would be easy.

While browsing the internet one day, I found an page on Facebook. Tweed Ride Berlin in Germany, a tweed event with focus on clothes in a 1900 to 1950´s style, with a vintage picnic at the end. The date of the event was set to Sunday the 26th of April. To me that sounded really interesting!

It is possible to check in with the bicycle on a plane and fly to Berlin for a weekend. The thought of riding my bicycle on the streets of Berlin, along with other tweed riders and have a picnic in a park sounded really great. I signed up to join the Berlin Tweed Ride event right there on the spot. Berlin here we come!


The bags are packed, it is time to hit the road.

Then that nasty virus struck the world. Pandemic, many countries locking down and applying quarantines on cities with restrictions on gatherings of people. With the virus, everyday life took a turn for the worst for many, peoples life changed in all possible ways. In times like these, a bicycle tweed event is of insignificant importance. Health and well-being is more important.

The organizers of Tweed Ride Berlin understandably cancelled the event due to the current situation and regulations. For many of us tweed riders, a tweed event is something that we all are looking forward to. It is something to plan outfits for, servicing the old bicycles so they will work without breaking down. When the day of the tweed event arrives, we pack our picnic baskets and meet other tweedians for a great day with lots of fun. But I am sure, that we all understand and respects that events are being cancelled, as the Berlin event was.


Vintage bicycle and tweed

But some days after the organizers of Berlin Tweed Ride had cancelled their event, there was a new post on their page with an interesting message:
” Let’s do a ride together! Individually! On Sunday 26 April 2020 would have been our popular Berlin Tweed Ride. Due to Corona it can’t take place in it’s classic form. Our idea is to ride anyway! Solo or with one partner. Let’s share the experience and post your pictures marded with the hashtag #SoloTweedRide”.

Now that is truly a wonderful idea! Making sure that there is a tweed event, while adjusting to current situation. Still having an event, but remake it an individual event. So all could still make the ride, but on their own terms, simply post an photo or two later on social media to show that we still dressed up and had a great day. Not together in real life, but as a community. For me it meant that I did not have to travel to Berlin, but could make the day from home. A fun and safe event.

I lift my hat for the Berlin Tweed Ride organizers for this initiative.


An fairly new Skeppshult bicycle along a rather old Crescent.


A beautiful spring morning along the roads of Forrest cemetery in south of Stockholm


Picnic, traditional sandwiches, tea and beer.


Two riders

We were two riders from Enskede in Stockholm that attended the event, the condition of the #solotweedride was one or two riders. Far from Berlin, riding our bicycles and having a vintage picnic, at the same time as other did the same in Germany, and other parts of the world did the same. I did some traditional sandwiches for my self, they were tasty. But not as good as an currywurst in Berlin. Next time perhaps?

An virtual retro-event that everyone can attend at their own terms. I must say that it was a wonderful idea, simple and fun. Let us do this again!

Stay safe and take care.

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!