Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020

Last year when I attended Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2019,  I made two bad decisions. The first mistake was to think that it would be easier to carry the bicycle in a bag onboard the cruise ship from Sweden to Finland. The second mistake was that I did not plan to stay for the party.

That is why I decided to ride my bicycle onboard the cruise ship this time. Also to stay at an hotel in Helsinki so I could attend the Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020 party and not feel any pressure to leave the event early.


Instead of carrying the bicycle, why not just ride the bicycle onboard?

When arriving in Helsinki on the morning of the event it was a perfect bicycle weather, a tiny bit snow in the air mixed with sunshine and around 0 degrees Celsius. Well, it was not perfect weather for the event. After all it is Winter Tweed Run. It could have been way colder, about -15 degrees and 50 centimetre of snow would have been nice. Extreme sport in tweed!

I went to the start at Senaatintori in the centre of Helsinki. The event started 1300, even if I was a bit early, there were other tweed riders already there. It was really nice to meet many familiar faces and have fun discussions about everything and nothing. After a few minutes the organisers joined us, as they walked around and greeted everyone welcome, they handed out a sticker as a souvenir to each rider. In the end we turned out to be about 50 tweed riders that joined up on the square for Winter Tweed Run Helsinki’s tenth year anniversary .


Arriving tweed participants


Bicycles and tweed


All sorts of bicycles in among the riders

After a while it was announced that it was time for the group photo. We climbed the stairs to Helsinki Cathedral with our bicycles and got in position. While standing on the stairs I noticed a photographer I recognised taking photos of us. I dashed down the stairs and asked if he could use my camera to take some photos of the group. He was happy to help out, sadly I never got his name. If he reads this, thank you very much for the help and all the great photos.


About 50 riders joined on Senaatintori

After having our photos taken and shouting the ceremonial thee cheers (in Finnish), we got some news about the ride. We would take the same route as last time. But not stopping by at Cafe Regatta this year. Instead we would have our break at cafe and museum Villa Hagasund, located in the heart of Helsinki. That would mark the end of the first part of the event. Later on the ride would continue to a new place where there would be tea and dance in the evening.

Also, it was important when riding our bicycles to keep the distance between the riders close. If we were crossing streets and the traffic lights would turn red. We should keep going. Since we are an parade, or unit, we have the law on our side, also a tight formation is a good thing if anything happens. Things like a bicycle breaking down or someone having an accident.


Time to line up for the start


Checking bicycles

We formed a line on the square and the familiar honking from the old ball horn gave us the signal that we were on our way. Along the streets where both tourists and local Helsinki residents were looking baffled and amazed by the odd sight of us riding our vintage bicycles while dressed in tweed. Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020 had officially started.

Sadly just after the start one of the two tandem crews that had a flat tire. One of the organisers had a cargo bicycle with tools and spare parts with him. But I think that the tandem bicycle had a special dimension of the tires so they had to visit a bicycle shop for some emergency service. They later joined us further down the route.

The ride went along the seafront towards Kompassitori in south of Helsinki. The sun was shining when we stopped for a small break where we waited for, as I understood it, another bicycle that had a flat tire earlier. After having a chat with the other riders for a short while, it was time to get on our way again.


On our way…


…along the seaside


At Kompassitori


Two girls on their tandem bicycle at the shore of Lapinlahti

We were riding along the streets and bicycle paths of Helsinki, dodging trams and pedestrians before arriving at Villa Hagasund. There they had set up a drink station with hot juice and cider along with gingerbread. It was a really nice treat for us, something sweet and tasty after the ride. The organiser stepped up on some stairs and thanked us for visiting their event. After the speech there was gentleman dressed in tweed with impressive handlebar moustache that held a long speech. Sadly I had no idea what he was saying. But we listened to him and cheered again at the end of his speech.


Speeches and cheers at Villa Hagasund


Lovely dress


The service bicycle


It was a really nice day in Helsinki

After the break, some riders said goodbye and went home. While the remaining riders started the last stretch of the ride towards the tea and dance party later that evening. We went down to the main railway station in centre of Helsinki and headed east, towards where the old Arabia porcelain factory once were located and our final destination, Kaffila Bokvillan.

At the finish line we parked our bicycles and went in for the party. Of course there was the traditional pea soup with bread and a drink waiting for us. I really like pea soup, but this soup is something special. Amazing!

After the dinner a dance teacher learned us swing dance, a skill that was needed later when the magnificent Maestro Ruscello and his group Gruppo Velocitá, entertained us with their lovely music. Now, it was time to relax and enjoy the tea and dance party until very late in the evening.


The finish line at Kaffila Bokvillan


Promotion for the event and the sticker we got as a souvenir


Maestro Ruscello e Gruppo Velocitá


Tea and dance party kept on the whole night!

Every participant I talked with, said the same thing. Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020, the tenth year anniversary was a warm, fun and happy event. It was a wonderful event in every way!

I even dare to say, if everything goes well, we’ll meet next year again… and I will ride my bicycle onboard the cruise ship, never carrying it again.

Lady blue

I just realized that I have never presented the bicycle I call Lady blue. Perhaps now is a good time as any.

Some years ago I was asked about an old bicycle, it was standing unused in a basement for many years. The owners said that they wound never ride a bicycle again, so it was time to pass it on. Since they knew that I was looking for a vintage bicycle, they thought that it best to ask me. I was told that the bicycle was given to the present owners from a friend of theirs. The original owner, a elderly lady from south of Sweden, had received the bicycle as a birthday gift when she was 8 years old back in mid 1930’s.


Hella, made in Kalmar in about 1935 as I got it

It was a nice story behind the bicycle, I headed home and started to think how I would restore it in the best way. Restore it to how it once looked, adding accessories from the period. The bicycle it self had a headbadge with the name “Hella” and the text “made in Kalmar” written on it. The rear wheel Torpedo hub was stamped with 31, so it was made around those years. That was completely in line with the story about the young girl receiving the bicycle as a present around 1935.

Since it was my first vintage bicycle restoring after I had sold my old grey Panther, I felt like doing a good job, or at least as good as I could. All with the knowledge, tools and parts I had in my possession to renovate and restore the bicycle. The first thing I did was to completely disassembly the entire bicycle in to small parts. All bearings, screws, and parts were inspected and cleaned. Some parts were in very good condition, but others like the handlebars and wooden grips were in a really bad shape and needed replacement.


New tires and tubes to be mounted on the newly cleaned rims


The frame is clean from parts, I have just mounted brackets and wheels to see how it looks

It was during the cleaning I found the serial number on the frame. Of the number I learned that the frame was made in the town of Gävle, far from Kalmar.

Back then Gefle Velocipedfabrik manufactured bicycle frames and sold them to local bicycle shops that created their own style of bicycles from parts and named them after their own shop. There are may examples of that practice around Sweden in from the start up to about the 1950’s. There are numerous small branded bicycles, many are built with parts from one of the few large bicycle parts manufactures at the time. But they have all sorts of brands, often the name comes from the shop owners own name, a Greek god, perhaps a town and so on.


Torpedo stamped with 31, the hub is made in 1931.

I found new old handlebars on an auction site, there I found an old bicycle bell, chain guard and other parts that I needed. After cleaning all parts, polishing the chrome, the fun of mounting everything together started. This time I took my time to get the bicycle done. I did not want to rush the process, it was my therapy and I wanted to show the old lady the result.

During the restoration I tried to keep the parts I got as replacements in a 1930s range. The vintage crochet skirt guard, 30’s style Swedish made ASEA headlight and dynamo. The saddle turned out to be a bit difficult, vintage 1930’s cushioned saddles are rare to find after all usage during the years. Instead I used an old vintage Brooks saddle as a substitute.

One day it was finished, and it looked really great. In fact I used it as a prop when doing a photo shoot.


1930’s ASEA bicycle lamp…


… withan ASEA brass dynamo.

A few years later, I took a look at my first rebuilding project. I quickly realized that I never completed the job, the wheels were missing spokes, the saddle were still the worn Brooks and the tires were a bit to wide to fit the mudguards. It was at that moment after learning new information about old bicycles that the bicycle was remade in the early 1950’s.

Since the bicycle was made in mid 1930’s it was supposed to be painted with a special kind of finish and pin striping. As it looks now it is clearly an late 1940’s, early 1950’s style. The chain wheel is changed, the reflector and other parts where changed. Back then it was common to take your old bicycle to your local bicycle shop, turn it in for a complete overhaul. The shop would change the bad parts, repaint and refurbish the entire bicycle. It was cheaper, you got a new bicycle for less money of the price for a brand new one. Back then bicycles were expensive and when you had a bicycle it was supposed to be taken care of, and used for a long time. It was an investment.


The chain guard and chromed crank. Clearly changed at some time during the years


Brook saddle and some vintage tools and a repair kit


It turned out really great, I only need a better saddle

It is not original 1931, but it looks really great. The circle became complete when I sent a photo of the bicycle to the owners I got the bicycle from, they showed the photo of the bicycle to the old lady. She was very happy to see that her old bicycle still were going and having a new life. Sadly the old lady passed away some months after that. But I did manage to fix her old bicycle so she could see it, it felt great.

If I fix the small issues, Lady blue has many years left of riding along the roads on sunny summer days. Or why not attend a tweed event?


Lady blue

Tweed Run Norway, 2019

On Saturday august 31st it was time for Tweed Run Norway 2019. We were so pleased by the event last year that we decided to join the event again. As last time my friend decided to go by car so he could bring his bicycle, he also transported my old Hermes bicycle for me while I was taking a plane. To be honest, I would love to travel by train with my bicycle, but the reality is that it is more or less totally impossible to bring your bicycle on a inter city train in Sweden.

There is only few local train companies that allows bicycles onboard their trains, all of them are only local trains. I could use my bicycle bag while travelling from Stockholm to Fredrikstad in Norway. But the thought of carrying an 1950’s bicycle as luggage one more time is just impossible. My back still hurts when I am thinking of my idiotic Helsinki adventure.


We are going to the meet up at Quality Hotel Fredrikstad after getting our bicycles out of the car boot

On the morning of the event we headed to the start, located at Quality Hotel Fredrikstad. We were one of the first ones tweed riders on location, but soon more riders joined us. It was nice to see more and more tweedians arrive, some on vintage bicycles, many dressed in impressive tweed outfits. A bit later the organizers arrived and set up an table where we would register and receive our participant numbers, just outside the hotel entrance. We were hearty welcomed by all the organizers when we registered and received our armbands and number signs for our bicycles.


The always dashing Mona @badhairgoodshoes


“but first, let´s take a selfie” the three girls had a fun photo session, even I helped out


The organizers and Mr B the gentleman rhymer standing at the registration desk

Soon the hotel opened up the doors for the riders that had pre-booked the hotel brunch that was offered us participants in the tweed event. We tasted all the fresh and tasty foods that were served, while there was a small jazz trio featuring drums, guitar and a fellow on double bass that also sang. They played old jazz tunes, a perfect match for the tweed event.

When it was about 30 minutes until the start, we left the restaurant and headed out to the small street outside. By now the former empty street had transformed to an crowded street filled with bicycles and tweedians of all ages, families trying to get the registrations armbands to fasten on their arms, couples having tea, others having drinks. It was an mix of happiness and everyone was looking forward for an great day riding around Fredrikstad. Even the weather, that was supposed to be grey and rainy, turned in to be sunny and warm, one of the last real summer days of the year.


More and more riders and fellow tweedians of all ages joined

At one a´clock the ride started. We all headed down the streets, towards a bridge that leads over to the island of Kråkeröy for a ride along the sea shore. It was on that route where I noticed a strange sound from the bicycle in front of me. It was a lady riding an bicycle where something was rubbing against the mudguard. She must heard it to, because she was starting to look down on the bicycle, trying to locate the source of the strange sound. After looking at her bicycle and tires for a few seconds I noticed that there was something seriously wrong with her front tire. I asked her to stop and went down to take a look at the front tire.

It turned out that the steel cord that makes the tire stay on the rim had of some reason climbed over the rim and the inflated tube was poking out in the gap. It was merely seconds from a complete blowout that most likely had stopped the front wheel shut. The lady said that she always could walk to the finish line since the tire was damaged.

I quickly got an idea, why not empty the tube of all air, push the tire back on the rim and inflate the tube again, but this time with less air pressure. I asked her if I was allowed to try that idea, of course, she replied. Removing the valve, I felt a large push of air, almost so hard that the valve flew out of my hand I guess it was over inflated. After the tube was deflated I put back the valve and started to inflate the tube again.

I told the lady that I would not fill the tire so much, because it was best to be careful with the tire. At that moment, the repair man came along, I explained the situation to him and after he started to work on the bicycle I headed along to join the other riders.


The shore line of Kråkeröy with Fredrikstad in the distance

After riding along on Kråkeröy we headed back to Fredrikstad for some more riding in the town, towards the park where we had an tea break last year. This year there was an new band playing jazzy music. It was local musicians,who invited us to visit the Kammerfest in Ostfold later on, an local music happening in the area. It was really great music played by very talented musicians at the tea break. Music while having a cup of Earl Grey, an perfect setting to have a chat with other tweedians, admire bicycles and talk tweed.


It´s tea time at the park in Fredrikstad


An old Norwegian made Diamant bicycle from Oslo…


…with an impressive luggage bag


The group photo was take at the tea break.


Time to get moving, riders get ready

The ride continued along the Glomma river, we were riding in the forest along the shore line on gravel paths to reach the ferry over to the small village of Sellebakk on the other side of Glomma. At the ferry station, the Kammerfest i Ostfoldband was playing music again. We were all standing by our bicycles waiting for our turn to board the small ferry, while we were waiting many of us took out refreshments from our baskets and hip flasks. It is impotent to stay hydrated when being active.

Suddenly I heard the band playing music by one my favourite artists, the Swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson. That was really a surprise for me, standing there listening to fantastic music, feeling the breeze from the waters and the sun heating my tweed suite. It was a great day!


The Fredrikstads bridge over Glomma


At the ferry crossing I had the opportunity to have a toast with Pennyheartbleed


Live music during the our waiting for the ferry


We were about 200 riders waiting to cross the river on the ferry…


…we all were in a good mood and was having a great time


Look at those details on those Norwegian vintage bicycles, simply amazing


The small ferry across the river Glomma

Across the river we all joined up again and headed up to the old village Sellebakk, where we could buy refreshments, warm locally fish cakes and locally made soda. That was really thoughtful and a wonderful idea of the organizers to have an small refreshment station along the route. After all, the tweed event is not an speed event. We are supposed to ride for a while, talk, socialize and have a great time! Standing with a soda an warm fish cake talking bicycles, that is what I call socialize.


Locally made tasty soft drink, great refreshment for us sun-baked, tweed wearing riders…


…served in genuine fish (shrimp?) cooling boxes filled with ice


Streets of Sellbakk, only a few details tells us it is an modern photo and not a photo from the 30´s

After the break we were on out way again. Going south, in to the forests leading towards Gammelbyn and the finish line. It was on that stretch of the route, next bicycle incident happened for me. I was riding behind a rider that had a small trailer behind his bicycle.

At this event there were many riders that had small trailers hooked up behind their bicycles where small children were seated. Suddenly the rider in front of me took a narrow turn over the curb, the left wheel on the trailer was lifted up, the trailer toppled over and was dragged along the gravel. Because I was right behind the trailer, I saw the trailer topple over.

I noticed things was falling out of the trailer, just in front of me. I quickly pedalled backwards to apply the break while tried to avoid hitting anything that fallen out. Quickly I dismounted my bicycle to see if anyone was hurt. Luckily there was only luggage in the trailer, no children. It scared me quite a bit. But in the end all went fine, that is the important thing. After helping the rider with his trailer, we all got up on our bicycles and headed along.


The blue trailer that scared the living daylight out of me


Now that is one way you can use the luggage rack


Soon arriving at Fredrikstads museum and the finish line

After a nice ride around Gammelbyn we arrived at Fredrikstad museum and were able to park our bicycles and join the party. As always it was a lovely party with an bar filled with beer, wine, hot dogs, crisps and gin and tonic (of course).

The organizers had put up two large tents with tables and benches for the people who did not want to sit on picnic blankets in the grass. As last year, Mr B the gentleman rhymer entertained us with his ukulele and witty songs, he recived huge aplauds, laughs and sing-a-longs.

Later in the evening, prices was handed out to some lucky winners. One of the winners was Mona, @badhairgoodshoes she received an price for being the best spokes person for Tweed Run Norway in the Instagram community. Well deserved! Congratulations to all winners!


The peaceful after party in an beautiful garden


We had entertainment by Mr B the gentleman rhymer, chap-hop. I say!


That is one cool bicycle


Other parked bicycles just outside the garden


My old Hermes managed to stay in one piece this time, no broken pedals. The only sad thing during the day was that I lost my bicycle number card, that I use to keep as an souvenir. Oh, well. Never mind.


Tweed Run Norway, truly an bicycle event for the entire family


Vintage bicycles in the sunset

The evening came. It had been an fun and lovely day in every way, we thanked the organizers and said good bye to old and new friends. It was time to head back to the hotel! We were asked to join next year again. It is tempting, perhaps the trains would allow the passengers to bring their bicycles by then? We can only hope.

Thank you all for a wonderful event.


Back at the garage to stow our bicycles into the car

The last project

This is my final project. Of course, if I win the lottery and buy a large workshop somewhere that is filled with plenty of tools and storages for bicycles and different other odd projects. Then there will me more projects. But as for now, this is my final project.

The story behind this bicycle story is interesting. A while back I got an offer to buy an old rusty Crescent. It was while I needed some parts for my own black bicycle project. I declined the offer for two reasons. First the bicycle was complete, it would be a shame to take only parts from it. Secondly, the parts I needed was way to rusty to fit the frame I had.

Instead of me buying it, my tweedian friend bought the bicycle a few years later on. He got it sent to him across Sweden, changed the seat and used it as a commuter bicycle in the city. Some time later we meet and had a talk about it all our different bicycle projects that we had laying around in parts. I mentioned in a earlier topic that I needed to focus on some bicycles and get rid of some others. Indeed an sad decision, but storage space is a bit of an issue. My nostalgia and future visions had to be ignored for a moments, while the voice of reason was in command instead.

During that conversation with my tweedian friend, he said that he also had to many projects and needed to focus on finishing building some bicycle. The question of selling the old rusty Crescent came up. That was the moment when a strange thought was born. What if we made a trade? After all, I had three bicycles that he could sell to finance his projects. What if we traded my three unfinished bicycles for the rusty Crescent?

After some consideration he accepted the trade. So one cold day in February I rode one bicycle to his work shop and later that evening walked with the other two other bicycles. We did the trade and shook hands. Now I was the owner to the bicycle I was offered a few years back.

It is an Crescent made about 1927 in Stockholm by Velocipedaktiebolaget August Lindblad. The interesting thing is that my other black bicycle that needed the parts is of the same brand and maker being made somewhere 1929-1931, a bit younger in other words.


Walking with two bicycles in the cold February night


Walking home with an bicycle from 1927

The bicycles have serial numbers stamped on the frame. When dealing with serial numbers from a factory that existed over 90 years ago, an factory that once burned down to the ground and later was sold, moved and incorporated in a different giant bicycle company. All registers of serial numbers are since then long gone. But with help of internet I found some logic with those early serial numbers and could make a qualified guess.

Both wheels had once been changed, the wheels currently mounted on the bicycle was made in 1936. But the original rear wheel is still around and it got a Torpedo hub that was made in 1925. The year on the hub together with the serial number make the guess of manufacturing year 1927 as good as any.

While I was walking home. I realized that the old rusty bicycle was in a bit of bad shape. The hubs and crank set had almost sized solid by what I suspected was grease and grime since 90 years of use that had transformed itself into a nasty glue.


I tried out some old parts I had laying around. Touring 1930’s style.

When I later took the bicycle apart, I found that my guess about the grease was correct. It had been there since 1930’s had become something very close to glue. The only thing to do was to tear down the entire bicycle as well as I could. Some nuts and bolts had rusted solid, I had to improvise. The wheels and hubs were no match at all, after all they were quite modern. Only 80 years old. Lucky for me the rear wheel had the old reliable Torpedo hub. That is a simple and great hub to work with.


Front wheel bearings and nuts


Rear hub, F&S marked parts found as usual in a Torpedo hub along with grease-glue from 1936


Cleaning and degreasing everything

The crank was an adventure to clean. To remove the cranks with design by Fauber you need to remove the pedals and then slide the crank out the bottom bracket holder after removing the bottom bracket and bearings, washers and lock nuts. But since the pedals had been mounted since 1929, they was rusted solid. They would not budge at all! Without the right tools it is impossible to remove pedals in an safe manner. I decided to “cheat” instead, I loosened the washers and nut that holds the crank in place, gently slide out the crank so I could clean it with rags and tools. After that I could applied new grease and mount the crank back in its place. After cleaning the frame from spiderweb, rust and dust, change tires to more vintage looking black ones, clean and lubricate all the bearings with new grease. The result was better, but not good. I found out that many of the bearings all over the bicycle was very worn had a bit of play in them.


First test ride, it was a long tome since I had an drop down handlebars. It was a strange feeling


Details


Crescent made by Velocipedaktiebolaget August Lindblad in Stockholm


The chain is not stretched after the test ride


Details

But after my small overhaul, the wheels turns again, the cranks turns (with some play in them sideways). Time to mount a new chain and give the old rusty bicycle a try. The first thing would happen that I knew was that the rear chain wheel was really worn, so the chain makes all those scary noises. Creaking and snapping when peddling.

I can not change the rear chain wheel by my self due to the lack of tools. But one day I will take the Crescent to a bicycle shop for a rear chain wheel change. The bicycle is 92 years old, I guess a few more weeks waiting is not the end of the world.

Meanwhile it is quite a great looking bicycle where it stands.

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!