Style and the City… The Tweed Run 2015

2015slider1“The Tweed Run is a metropolitan bicycle ride with a bit of style. We take to the streets in our well-pressed best, and cycle through the city’s iconic landmarks. Along the way, we stop for a tea break and a picnic stop, and we usually end with a bit of a jolly knees-up”.

Regular readers will know that James was given an entry to the 2014 Tweed Run and this great event got us into cycling (on the flat, at the seaside!) and then led to us getting and restoring Cynthia an early 80’s Italian Cicli Cinzia bicycle.

So earlier this year we applied of tickets for the 2015 Tweed Run, Unfortunately the event is always very oversubscribed and we didn’t get lucky but then our friends in Derbyshire came up trumps with a spare ticket so we decided that, as last year, James would ride and I would be the roving photographer.

We set off for the ‘Big City’ about 8am last Saturday morning and made really good time with no hold ups. Yet again, we were pleasantly surprised, finding free parking in Westminster – all day on a Saturday – and we were early enough to have a fab breakfast in the famous Art Deco style, Regency Cafe, which opened in 1946 and has appeared on TV and the movies. A short cycle for James and a stroll through the beautiful St James’ Park, for me, got us to the start in Spring Gardens beside Admiralty Arch. It was a glorious spring morning and there was a great buzz of activity as the 700 entrants parked their assortment of bikes, everything from Penny Farthings to ‘Boris’ hire bikes’, and wandered over to Trafalgar Square for the official photo. There were some fantastic tweedy and vintage outfits, extraordinary facial hair and lots of flower decked bikes. I took this opportunity to hop on a bus down to Westminster Bridge to get a good spot for the classic ‘Genevieve’ photo.IMG_0847DSC00467 DSC00475 Tweed RunTR-mapThe official photo took longer than expected and waiting on a very busy Westminster Bridge, I was concerned that I had missed them but then out of the traffic the first contingent of marshals arrived. In previous years the marshals have stopped the traffic at junctions to allow the ride to go through on mass but this year the riders had been told they had to obey the traffic signals and so the event became much more spread out. It didn’t look as impressive and personally I thought it caused more disruption then just letting them through together.DSC00505DSC00510DSC00512DSC00513DSC00516James and our friends Mark and Richard on the tandem came through quite early on.DSC00522DSC00523DSC00525DSC00535DSC00540DSC00544DSC00549The passengers on this coach must have been surprised at being eye to eye with a cyclist!DSC00552Then I spotted my friend Marge The Tweed Queen who makes wonderful tweed goodies in Derbyshire. She looked absolutely fabulous in her hand made tweed outfit with her bike uniquely decorated with tweed, matching panniers, a lovely vintage box on the rack and a basket woven with tweed strips and decorated with crochet flowers in strong black, white, green and orange.DSC00557DSC00561DSC00587DSC00598DSC00600It was then a quick dash by tube for me, over to Holborn for the tea stop in Red Lion Square. It wasn’t long before the tea was ignored and the Cocktails made an appearance and we all enjoyed the magnificent Cheesey Moustaches made by Marge. The tandem had some improvements this year to help with transporting the supplies, with Mark constructing panniers out of vintage metal file boxes.DSC00607DSC00612DSC00620DSC00622DSC00639Then it was off across London again to Hyde Park, a quick dash to the tube ensured I arrived first, to get a place along the Serpentine, although in retrospect I wish I gone to the end of the Mall and got another iconic London Shot with Buckingham Palace in the background – although the park was beautiful it didn’t really give the photos a recognisable destination. The ride was bunched up before they came through the park and I’m sure they gave a few ‘normal’ cyclists and roller skaters a bit of a surprise.DSC00654DSC00660DSC00662DSC00665DSC00673DSC00678DSC00687DSC00694DSC00698DSC00702DSC00711DSC00713DSC00721Poor Marge who had a major operation just a couple of months ago and probably shouldn’t have been cycling at all, was finding it a bit of a struggle and so we walked over to Park Lane and flagged down a lovely taxi driver who quickly agreed to take ‘two ladies and a bicycle’ over to the picnic stop at Saint Pancras Gardens. We only got there as the ride was arriving, having been round the edge of Regents Park, so it goes to prove that it is quicker to cycle in London. The Gardens and Old Church were very picturesque and everybody had soon spread their blankets out and were busy picnicking on the grass.DSC00763DSC00770DSC00776As always Richard had laid out a wonderful spread with smoked duck, salami’s, salad, cheese and a selection of delicious Granny Mary’s potted meats from their local Derbyshire. Another of Mark’s innovations came into play with a copper tap on the bottom of one of the panniers dispensing red wine!DSC00778DSC00784DSC00791DSC00798DSC00806This pic shows some of the detail of Marge’s bike dressing, such a lot of work which was to be rewarded later…DSC00821DSC00823Although lovely and sunny there was a very chilling wind and after a leisurely break everybody was quite keen to get back on their trusty steads for the short ride down to the finish in Bloomsbury Square, the more sheltered square was much warmer and a perfect location for a celebratory finishing glass of bubbly. The prize giving and end of ride party was held in the adjoining art deco Bloomsbury Ballroom, where they made a rather fine cocktail or two. We were all delighted to find out that Marge’s endeavours had been rewarded and she had won the ‘Best Dressed’ bike award and she was given a really cute leather bike bag from sponsors Pashley.DSC00849DSC00845DSC00866DSC00875After some suitable celebrating we retired to have supper and discuss a great day. I really must get into ‘training’ and do longer rides and gain some confidence in cycling in traffic, so Cynthia and I can hopefully take part next year. The problem is that Cynthia’s best accessory is a little large… although we did suggest that Mario with Cynthia on a roof rack would make a perfect course car!DSC04325You can see more of our pictures of Tweed Run 2015 online

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Under the weather…

Bit delayed in writing this – sorry.

Easter is often recognised as the start of the Classic Car season and our regular outing on Good Friday is to Wheels Day, organised by the Surrey Street Rodders. This show which started for Hod Rods and Custom Cars 41 years ago, now encompasses classics from all areas. After last years show which moved to Dunsfold, where they had problems with huge numbers and traffic jams, leading to totally unacceptable online bullying and insults to the organisers, it looked like it might not happen again. However with a bit of time to reflect on things, SSRs decided to move back to Rushmoor near Aldershot and limit the numbers, so this year you had to apply and the organisers selected 500 or so to be able to buy a pass. Mario was one of the lucky ones.

DSC00213Unfortunately Good Friday was rather wet and horrible but we set off anyway and had quite a good run over, although Mario still seemed a little under the weather and the power was dropping off the longer we were running. There was no queue at all at Rushmoor Arena and we were swiftly into the show field which was less than half-full. We sat in Mario while the heavy rain went over but then it brightened up and we were able to have a good look round. We subsequently found out that only half of the pre-entered cars had turned up due to the inclement weather. There were a few interesting vehicles there (and some hideous ones!), we met up with some friends and James was able to buy lots of workshop stock from the traders.DSC00214DSC00212DSC00216DSC00215 DSC00217 DSC00220 DSC00222 DSC00223 DSC00224 DSC00225 DSC00226 DSC00227 DSC00231 DSC00233 DSC00235 DSC00239 DSC00241 DSC00243 DSC00247I loved this single person picnic set, thought it would be perfect for lunch at the Revival, however it seemed quite pricey and had been left out in the rain but I’ll keep a look out for one.DSC00244 We bought Mario a present – some little extra driving lamps, we have a real problem driving Mario at night as the lights are so poor, we tried these and thought they looked quite good, so for the Revival this year we’ll be able to see where we’re going!DSC00248 DSC00249 DSC00250 DSC00251 DSC00252 DSC00253 DSC00257 DSC00258 DSC00259 DSC00260 DSC00264 DSC00268 DSC00269Didn’t really want to take a photo of this as it might be thought of as  encouragement but it really was the most ugly thing I’ve ever seen. It’s owner obviously loved it though and was busy polishing it, so each to his own!DSC00266We left in the early afternoon as it was rather damp, Mario was still rather sluggish on the way home, he really hasn’t been right since last years Revival.

The rest of the Easter Weekend turned out rather better – well certainly sunnier. We were going to try a new monthly meet on Sunday afternoon at Alton but as it was James’ birthday we went on a trip round the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstock instead, very enjoyable and interesting plus delicious cocktails.

Easter Monday is the Goodwood Road Race Club sprint, so we thought a nice sunny drive over the downs in Mario would be a pleasant way to spend a bank holiday. However Mario had other ideas and less than a mile from the workshop was behaving very badly, we noticed water around the head and so took him immediately home. We swopped to a modern car, a shame as it was such a beautiful day and Goodwood Circuit looked absolutely fabulous, the Daffodills looked even better than they had been for the Members Meeting. We had a wander round the paddock and watched some of the timed runs.DSC00343 DSC00350 DSC00352 DSC00353 DSC00355 DSC00363 We saw the Catterham spin as it came out of the chicane and go sideways into the barrier quite hard. After it had been recovered there was an almost perfect impression of the car!DSC00366 DSC00376 DSC00381 DSC00382 So what about poor Mario – well the ‘Doctor’ has examined him and there is low compression on the 4th cylinder, caused we think by the seeping head gasket. The Water pump also isn’t too clever which has probably caused the engine to run too hot and hence the damage to the head gasket, hopefully not too serious. The next thing is to source the replacement parts and James will have the head off and check the valve seating as well so hopefully Mario will be back fighting fit before too long.IMG_0829DSC00338