Tweed Run report

Tweed Run ladies

“I want an atmosphere, I love a party with a happy atmosphere” – “Atmosphere” Russ Abbot

A mix of bemused tourists and contenders for the Sherlock Holmes look-alike competition gathered outside the RL Rugby store in Covent Garden for last Saturday’s Tweed Run.

Tweed Run, November - Covent Garden

The order of the day was a 13 mile jaunt around London’s sights with 300 other elegantly dressed cyclists stopping for tea and cakes in Knightsbridge. It turns out that wearing tweed is more a state of mind than a garment. Politeness, cap doffing and courteous behaviour were in abundance. A great video can be seen at I Bike London

I didn’t know anyone, but the event was cordial with everyone keen to talk bikes. In fact I was able to identify a few people through their bikes including blogger Lady Velo and chap behind Classic Lightweights.

Classic Pugeot tandem

The event was great for bike spotting. I saw some fantastic examples Peitersen, Motobecane, Paris, an early 50’s Gillot, a Bates Flying Gate, a bright yellow French postbike and a small wheel tandem (a forerunner of the Helios I featured before) were all present. I was hoping to meet another Allin owner, but the closest I found was an Alan. I was secretly pleased to be the only one there.

Dress was fairly formulaic; tweed, brogues, plus fours, garters and moustache. Bow ties, hats, pipes and hip flasks were common accessories. Being “Movember” there were moustaches for the men and seamed stockings were in vogue for the ladies. Ralph Lauren took advantage of the opportunity to throw in plenty of models wearing their kit riding on Pashleys.

Tweed turned out to be a good option for late November. I’d roasted on the train in, but the wind had picked up and I was grateful for the extra warmth. I was also grateful that the recent house moves hadn’t sent my Grandad’s double breasted naval jacket to the charity shop; it’s not tweed, but it didn’t look too out of place.

The end of the ride was a bit of an anti-climax for me after the fun of the start. I didn’t stay for the after-party at the Caledonian Club but I understand that there was dancing to gramophone records and general louche behaviour.

It was a shame it only happens a few times a year. I’ll certainly be looking out for the next run, but how’s this going to branch out? Look for other fabrics? Velvet Velo, Corduroy Cycling Club?

The high points

  • great atmosphere at beginning and during the ride
  • promoted politeness and considerate cycling behaviour
  • friendly people all keen to talk bikes and style
  • British eccentricity at its best
  • people removing their hats as they rode past the Cenotaph
  • well marshalled
  • free

 Not so good

  • start-stop riding
  • being sworn at by pedestrians in Trafalgar Sq.
  • finish location was a damp squib; not everyone was able to go to the club
  • people riding who hadn’t got much experience of riding bikes in close proximity
  • cyclists disregarding red lights

    French postmans bike

Me with the Allin
Laid-back cruiser bike
Amazing “wooden” concept bike
  1. Excellent. Why (in the picture of you) is that bloke throwing a bike over the hedge though?

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