Don’t panic Mario still has four wheels firmly on the ground but last Saturday James took to two wheels for the first time since he was old enough to have an engine under him!
The event was the 2014 running of the Tweed Run – a metropolitan bike ride with a bit of style. James was given a entry for his ‘big’ birthday and I went along in capacity of team photographer. The event is now in it’s sixth year and involves 500 people dressed in period tweed, cycling around ten miles or so round the capital on vintage bicycles with various stop offs for tea and picnics. All jolly good fun, the route is a closely guarded secret and although now an official London Event with sponsors and lots of press coverage, it is still run in a slightly ‘guerrilla’ style with groups of suitably clad marshals riding ahead of the pack blocking the traffic, temporarily ‘closing’ the roads to allow the run to pass through.
This years route started at Somerset House although I have no pictures from there as I was still trying to park the car, a total nightmare with city roads empty and loads of spaces but none with the right combination of time allowed and cost. Having turfed out James and his bike earlier so he could make the start time and finally finding a suitable space I then had to download an App and register so I could pay!
I finally caught up with them at St Paul’s Cathedral where a bride came out onto the balcony to watch the run come past. A quick dash round the corner to the Guild Hall for the first stop of the day and my first chance to catch up with friends Mark and Marge Elliott and Richard Sherwood all looking fabulous and tweedy with their trusty steads. Marge (aka Tweed Queen) had dressed her bike beautifully complete with one of her Tweedidermy Trophy Heads. The assembled crowd all looked wonderful although with maybe a little less heavy tweed than usual given the mid 70ºs temperature. There was still of course many excellent displays of sculptured facial hair. Marge’s bike was of course fully equipped with a cocktail bar so it wasn’t long before the Martini’s were served.
As the participants headed off towards London Bridge and Borough Market before crossing the Thames again at Westminster, I hopped on the tube and waited for them in Parliament Square. As they entered the square another modern cycle ride was leaving Whitehall for Westminster Bridge, the cheering was deafening with the Tweed Runners cries of Tally Ho and the ringing of bicycle bells competing with the hooting traffic as the area was pretty grid locked.
Bikes of all shapes and sizes from Penny Farthings to delivery bikes, tandems and regular vintage bikes with a selection of baskets, flowers, dogs and tweed covering as accessories streamed into the square to the delight of the watching crowds. Many had children along, either on their own bikes or riding various contraptions attached to their parents transport.
The route then proceeded up the Mall past the Palace via Burlington arcade to Saville Row the London home of tweed. Unfortunately public transport on a busy Saturday is much slower than a bike so I only caught up with them again at Russell Square where the infamous Tweed Run picnic was taking place. A welcome glass of bubbly and a ‘cheesy moustache’ was most welcome, my charging around following the route appeared to be fair more exhausting than a gentle cycle ride through the city streets.
A jolly spiffing event and one which I’m sure we will try to do again, although I feel that Mario may just have to acquire a two wheeled ‘female’ sibling!
See more photos of the day here