Up and out bright and early I headed for the start point, Northampton Road in Clerkenwell. Cycling to/from the Tweed Run is in my opinion part of the fun as bemused members of the public speculate as to whether you are eccentric, part of a cult, an extra in a period drama or someone who is making good their escape from some sort of institution.
Consulting a map before heading out from near High Street Kensington I was rather proud to see the 'Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings' fall into view which meant I had made it the start point without a wrong turn.
With a good few minutes to spare before the big off I decided to take lots of photos. As always the outfits were wonderful. I cannot imagine participating in one of the lengthy night rides to the coast in anything other than lycra-type material but I must stay everyone looked so much more elegant in their tweed!
|Always happy at the Tweed Run|
|People in their finest outfits|
The Tweed Run in case you are unaware is a metropolitan bicycle ride through London (although by popular demand they do similar events in different locations now) at a sedate pace and where participants where as much tweed as they can. Anything old fashioned is popular and I suspect many participants raided the wardrobes of their grandparents, searched the local charity shops or simply went out and bought something traditional.
There did seem to be loads of Brompton bicycles on this Tweed Run but of course there were some pretty fine classic brands and vintage bicycles on show.
The one thing that has been the same for all of the Tweed Run events I have been on is that there seems to be an even split of men and women. This is great as cycling events tend to be male dominated affairs. It was also lovely to see lots of children (many in great outfits) out with their parents.
|Air kissing was the order of the day|
There was definitely a buzz of anticipation in the air the closer we got to 11 a.m. which marked the start of the event. I spotted the familiar face of Bob - who looked very well - and we chewed the fat briefly. He was a Marshall so would be at the rear making sure everyone got through junctions safely - and knowing Bob, quickly!
At just after 11 a.m. I heard the booming voice of Bob telling everyone that we were off. The off was slow. Anyone thinking it would be quick was going to be disappointed. Getting about 1,000 cyclists through narrow streets is no mean feat. Everyone was in good spirits and chatted away to each other.
Lots of bells were dinged and horns were hooted as we made our way patiently to the open road. Periodically there was the sound of cheers in the distance and even bugles sounding out.
The Tweed Run rolls along at a sedate pace and I always think that this is best as it provides onlookers the chance to get out their phones and take photos / videos of all these cyclist going by.
While I stopped by the side of the road to take some photos and video I spotted some familiar faces who were taking the star of the Tweed Run, 'Gwyn' for a lovely day out. I heard Gwyn barking excitedly and saw that she was running alongside the bike.
Two gentlemen leaned out of their window as we stopped to regroup and could not quite take in what they were seeing.
|"If I can make it in Londinium...I can make it anywhere!"|
We stopped for tea at Saint Pancras Gardens. Somewhere in the gardens is a bench where in 1968, 'The Beetles' sat down during their 'Mad Day Out.' I could not find it however.
|Tea for two?|
I decided to take my Brompton today mainly as I knew it would be better in confined spaces and more manoeuvrable in traffic. I had fitted the new rear roller wheels a couple of days ago but have to report that they are coming off as soon as practically possible and Ezy Wheels going back on. The inside of both left and right cycle shoes caught these wheels and were ripped. Not impressed!
After about 30 minutes we exited the gardens and proceeded with out journey; almost through time.
As always the route on the Tweed Run was carefully thought out and took us on mainly quiet roads. When we did go on busier ones, there were so many of us together causing a visual commotion / spectacle, other road users just slowed down and joined in with taking photos and wishing us well.
"What are you doing?" was the question that was asked most.
Many who replied were taken aback and couldn't respond with more than, "just cycling for the fun of it."
As we cycled along embankment I saw the London Eye and decided to take a side shot photo. I didn't really have much hope that it would be any good but it seems I had a shot in a million as the photo below is the one that came off the SD card. It was framed pretty well and quite level.
There were huge crowds on Westminster Bridge and people lined up to take photos or cheer us on. A group of cyclists coming the opposite way could do no more than smile confused at what they saw.
One chap who was obviously a press photographer was a little like Boudica on a chariot. Like many Iceni before him he negotiated the streets of Londinium quite skilfully.
We stopped at the Imperial War Museum for luncheon but knowing that I needed to make my way home I headed back. More strange looks and the grabbing of phones to take photos dominated my cycle home.
The Tweed Run is a wonderful event and I loved it. There is a huge mix of people attending. Some are not really cyclists and this event may represent their only foray into cycling. Others are hardcore and cycle every day. Some just like the idea of dressing up in period costume. Some like the attention it brings. Most, like me, enjoy the fact that they can cycle in a huge group, see London in all its glory and participate in an event that it totally unique.
Many thanks to the organisers and those who volunteered to be a Marshall and keep us safe and moving. If I am able to get a ticket next year I will be there and I am going to sort out a much better outfit just in case.