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

Two wheels not four…

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!

1394728353423DSC00569The 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.

The starters at Somerset House (thanks to the Tweed Run)

The starters at Somerset House (thanks to the Tweed Run)

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!

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First sighting of Mark and Richard on the Tandem

First sighting of Mark and Richard on the Tandem

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A wave from Marge

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The fabulous Fleur De Guerre

The fabulous Fleur De Guerre

DSC00615 DSC00622I 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.

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Maybe Mario could be a support vehicle?

DSC00643DSC00638 DSC00648 DSC00691DSC00679 DSC00697 DSC00704 DSC00729 DSC00737 DSC00743As 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.

DSC00769 DSC00773 DSC00784DSC00808Bikes 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.

DSC00929DSC00883DSC00906DSC00908The 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.

The Marshals blocking the road

The Marshals blocking the road

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Andrea Woelke, who won the prize for best moustache

DSC00958 DSC00993The final section was a gentle run to Clerkenwell Green where the event finished in the grounds of the church and the celebrations carried on into the evening at the Three Kings.

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