“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. The 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.James and our friends Mark and Richard on the tandem came through quite early on.The passengers on this coach must have been surprised at being eye to eye with a cyclist!Then 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.It 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.Then 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.Poor 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.As 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!This pic shows some of the detail of Marge’s bike dressing, such a lot of work which was to be rewarded later…Although 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.After 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!You can see more of our pictures of Tweed Run 2015 online