Saturday 13 April 2013

The Fifth Tweed Run on a Brompton

Today was the fifth Tweed Run to be held in London and I was one of the few hundred lucky enough to gain a place on it. I had been looking forward to this event for ages and was so happy when the email pinged through to say that I was in!

Heading out this morning, the sun made a welcome appearance and matched my mood. Rain was forecast but I didn't care. The tweed I was wearing brought thoughts of Bertie Wooster singing something like, 'Sunny Disposish.' In fact as I cycled along, I started humming the tune and at certain moments burst in to mild song:

It really doesn't pay to be a gloomy pill
It's absolutely most ridic, positively sil,
The rain may pitter patter
It really doesn't matter
For life can be delish
With a sunny disposish!

I really don't know what bystanders, already viewing me with some suspicion, made of it all?

The start location was shrouded in secrecy and only known to those who had won places via the lottery. (Like many great events the Tweed Run is massively oversubscribed). I headed to The University of London Quadrant and as I cycled along and got closer and closer to this location, I started to see people dressed in tweed. Surely they were going where I was going?

The University of London Quadrant

Luckily they were. I arrived in good time and spotted a few acquaintances. Taking photos, viewing all the fabulous outfits and bikes and chewing the fat made the waiting for the Tweed Run to start go very quickly. As I gazed around, I recall a certain young undergraduate running around this very quadrant at 3 in the a.m. reenacting that scene from 'Chariots of Fire.'

Pretty in Pink

The Tweed Run just makes you happy

At bang on 11:00 we were off. As we exited the meeting area a lone musician strummed away on his banjolele and soon we were off on to the open road.

A rather fine looking vintage car followed our progress throughout the entire ride and recorded our progress. I would image they have some wonderful footage.

This chap, like me has a thing with colour coordination 

I cannot begin to explain the feeling of cycling en masse, dressed in tweed and commanding the roads. It was quite intoxicating. One common feature for participants and spectators alike was that everyone seemed to be smiling. We were happy to doing this and it brought a mile to the faces of those looking on.

The number of different bikes was staggering. There were:

  • Original vintage bikes
  • Retro modern
  • Brompton's (quite a few actually).
  • Moulton's
  • Bickerton's
  • Race bikes
  • Fixies
  • Penny farthings 
  • Tandems 
  • Dutch cargo bikes

The list just goes on...

Most of the cycling events I go to tend to be male dominated and where Lycra and the most ultra modern clothing is worn, with no regard to what it looks like on the wearer. The Tweed Run is great as it is not male dominated at all.

The ladies who attended the Tweed Run certainly cut a dash and I thought they all looked incredibly elegant. It was also clear to see that a great deal of effort had been put into what to wear.

These two ladies did nothing but smile the whole ride

Heading down Regents Street we go some serious attention by the many shoppers and tourists. Many onlookers stared for a while in disbelief before reaching for a camera or phone to get a picture or video clip to show the people at home.

This lady had an incredible 1920's look and enhanced by an excellent geometric bob

It's that smile again

At the Duke of York steps near the Mall we stopped for a group photo. Quite a few were taken and I will look to see if I can see myself in any that are posted.

Kate and Peter who I met on the Tweed Run

Riding along the Mall towards Buckingham Palace we were again the focus of attention for many of those who had come with the intention of seeing the sights. As we past by, their reactions betrayed their interest in the sight of 300 cyclists in tweed gliding by.

St Stephen's Tower

Parliament Square and the statue of Churchill in the background

Luncheon was at Lincoln Inn Fields - the largest public square in England. In typically British fashion we waited in line for refreshment. When it came the tea was excellent. Not a tea bag in sight. The tea was poured from a pot, required a strainer, into a china cup. Perfection. Cakes in small parcels also awaited us and were divine.

Throughout the entire ride the high end crisp manufacturer 'Tyrrells' allowed us to sample their wares. I have to say that their crisps were pretty fine and I made a mental note to buy some at the next opportunity.

The rest stop was going to be 90 minutes an unfortunately I had to make my way home for another engagement.

I have to say that the Tweed Run was brilliant. It is one of the most enjoyable cycling events I have attended. It was really well organised and credit to the people responsible for putting this event on! Thank you!

The organisers also had a team of Marshals who made sure that our path across junctions was safe. They did an excellent job and were well trained.

Would I like to do this next year? Of course! I had looked forward to it for ages and the realities of taking part in it more than lived up to my expectations. I have work on Monday and on my commute my attire just might include some tweed!

Below, please find the link to the ride data and maps recorded on the Garmin 810 on loan from Garmin UK.

Tweed Run Ride Data and Maps


  1. Looks like a grand time! Some of the pictures didn't load up...not sure if that's on my end or yours.

    Nice to see some Bickertons still rolling around!

    1. Many thanks Fernando it was a good day out. Photos all good this end.


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