By the time I reached Hyde Park Corner a lone Brompton rider enquired whether I was attending the 'Brompton Urban Challenge.' I said that I was going to the Tweed Run but that I was sure he would have great fun. It is a pity Brompton were not aware or didn't care that their event clashed with the Tweed Run.
A few of use decided to meet at a coffee shop called 'Briki' on Exmouth Market not too far from the start of the Tweed Run. Soon David, Anne, Ben and Adrian arrived and after chewing the fat for a while and having a coffee we made our way to the start.
The starting area was heaving. Penny farthings, vintage bikes, modern bikes and more that a few Brompton bicycles mingled with just about every conceivable type imaginable. Added to this were people dressed in their finest tweed. All ages were represented and the numbers of men and women seemed about even to me - one of the great features of the Tweed Run.
Bob - who had the job of Marshal - popped by briefly to say hello but as he had duties to perform did not stay long.
As always the Tweed Run allows one to abandon the usual lycra in favour of something with a little more élan. Again, for me the ladies stole the day with some quite stunning outfits.
|This lady was using the mirror on her bicycle to check her make-up
|Yes, it looked okay
|Are you looking at me?
Vintage seemed to be the order of the day. Lots of dresses you see in period dramas - Agatha Christie and the like - were very popular.
|Two ladies having a great time
As I cycled along I did spot quite a few familiar faces I had seen on previous Tweed Run events. For some this is the highlight of their cycling year and they certainly made an effort on all fronts.
Onlookers didn't really know what to make of lots of people ambling along in tweed and in an orderly and lets face it quaint fashion. The standard reaction seemed to be wave, smile, shout out hello, started taking pictures or videos via a smartphone or a combination of all of these things.
Some of the bicycles on show were stunners. I didn't really have a particular favourite but glancing sideways at a few riders and it was as if you had been transported back in time.
For me the Tweed Run is very often a show stolen by the ladies participating. Universally they looked stunning and I wonder whether tweed features in their outfits during the week?
The marshals did a great job of stopping the traffic so that we could pass. There were a few impatient drivers but on the whole everyone took things in good spirits.
After about an hour in the saddle we stopped for tea. With huge queues and not wanting to leave our Brompton bicycles, we all decided to people watch instead.
One lady dressed in a retro army uniform was seen checking her makeup on the screen of her smartphone. How times have changed.
|A lady very much enjoying her tea
|Retro bicycles and accessories at every turn
With tea over we were off again. Wearing tweed in hot conditions would be slightly uncomfortable but the weather was near perfect. It was hot enough to be pleasant when wearing tweed and and a gentle breeze cooled us down when things got a little hotter.
|David enjoying the ride
|Now that it a bag!
As we neared South Kensington that could only mean lunch. Again onlookers were often mystified by what they were seeing. This area was my old stomping ground and memories of me cycling along the pavement as a child on a Raleigh Chopper came flooding back.
The sight of hundreds of bicycles parked up was most unusual. David had brought a lock with him and he was able to lock up his, Anne's and mine. Adrian locked his to David's lock and I tried to get out of my mind that I was leaving my beloved Brompton all alone!
We choose a very good spot right in front of the 'Cordings' - one of the Tweed Run sponsors - tent where lots of activities had been set up.
|For the front cover of 'Country Life?'
With another engagement later in the afternoon at almost 15:00 I called it a day on the Tweed Run. Yet again it was a lovely way to spend a few hours. There are now events like this in different parts of the world but there is something very special about the London event.
Many thanks to the organisers for another lovely event and to David, Anne, Adrian and Ben for the company.
In all for the Tweed Run I cycled 6.63 miles over a four hour period. My cycle to the event was 8.02 miles which took 36 minutes and my journey home was just under 4 miles in well under 20 minutes. The Tweed Run is about taking ones time and enjoying the atmosphere. The journey home as as eventful as being on the Tweed Run. Never have I been waved at or smiled at more!
Would I go next year? If I could get a ticket, definitely. I have been on a few of these now and even though it doesn't involve cycling far, up hills or at a pace I still thoroughly enjoy it.
Map and ride data