Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wednesday 10th May: The London Tweed Run 2017

Many moons ago I remember walking thru Smithfields Market and a swarm of cyclists streamed past like a fox hunt on penny-farthings and tandem vintage bicycles.  It totally swept me off my feet and fascinated me at the same time.  Since then Ive had more annual sightings of the "Tweed Run" whilst out and about on my own two-wheel errands around the city.  This year I finally took part and traded in my retro Peugeot road bike for a beautiful Pashley.  They are the UK's longest-established manufacturer of hand-built bikes and the perfect upright position from which to experience the scenic route thru London's historic streets.  Now in its ninth year the ride has expanded to international destinations from Norway to Japan!   But for this very British affair I borrowed Tweed from friends and family to attempt authentic assimilation into the discerning and dapper crowd.  Dressing up for the day is a serious art-form with a prize ceremony for the best outfit, beard and bike.  Beginning and ending at Bourne & Hollingsworth HQ in Clerkenwell, the wrap-party took place at the Cycle Revolution Festival in the Spa Fields park just infront.  Pims and flutes of bubbly took over from tea whilst antique frames were dismounted for dancing the Lindy Hop. 
Highlights included meeting soft, soft, soft Alpacas who had travelled from Dorset as furry ambassador's for Wyvern Tweed Tailoring.  I am now longing to one day possibly have my own woolly pets to hug as they seemed to be the warmest, friendliest furry beasts ever.  Their little ears just need adorning with some pom-poms and I can create my own Peruvian menagerie............... I digress.  The other highlights included high-tea in the gardens of St. Pancras Old Church and a pick-nick lunch in the grounds of the Imperial War Museum.  Baskets and hampers were unpacked with Fortnum & Mason spreads whilst cocktails were mixed from optics on handlebar mini-bars!  Before there was time to get totally Tonto, the whistle was blown and dogs had to strapped back into their side-cars.   
I have taken part in many bike rides in and out of London in the past but this was the most hilarious and memorable for sure.  I cannot wait for next year and it's 10th year anniversary!

All photos by me, check Part 2 for more by Mitchell McGillvary

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