Ladies, Gentlemen. We’ve announced the date for the third annual London Tweed Run. The event will be on Saturday 9 April 2011, with registration opening at noon on Saturday 26 February 2011 from our website,www.tweedrun.com . We’re proud to welcome Brooks as a sponsor again this year. I’ll take this opportunity to repost the lovely Stacey Cotter’s article about last year’s Tweed Run, from the upcoming issue of the Brooks Bugle:
Imagine an armada of 400 tweed-clad dandies cycling around London…
Described by bloggers as “the most dapper bicycle ride in the world”, the Tweed Run began in 2009 and is the brainchild of Ted Young-Ing. After stumbling across a couple of pairs of amazing tweed plus fours in a vintage shop in Edinburgh, he needed an excuse to wear them. “I thought it would be fun to get a group of friends together and dress up for a ride, but then it suddenly grew to an even bigger idea and became The Tweed Run,” Ted says.
Brooks England, Pashley Bicycles, Rapha and Hendrick’s Gin came on board as official sponsors of the event, which is in aid of the charity, Bikes4Africa. This year’s Tweed Run saw dapper chaps and elegant dames ride from as far afield as Paris,Washington, and Tokyo descend on London for the event, which set off from the Chelsea College of Art and Design on the north bank of the River Thames.
As we gathered for a pre-race natter and a quick cup of tea, it was as though we’d stepped back in time, pulling up next to penny-farthings, tandems and vintage racers, some of which were over 100 years old. This day was about beautiful Harris Tweed jackets and vintage capes; knotted silk cravats and jaunty flat caps. Before setting off, we huddled together for a quick group photo in front of the Tate Britain as chaps smoked on ivory pipes and old-school cigars, throwing their flat caps into the air in anticipation of the great day ahead.
As the tweed flag was waved, signalling the start of the ride, we pedalled towards Buckingham Palace en route via the House of Parliament and Big Ben. Fob watches peeped out of horseshoe waistcoats, ladies with victory rolls perched on bicycles w ith flowered wicker baskets, and handlebar moustaches came leisurely around every corner. In fact, chaps with the most admirable of facial hair stopped to compete for the title of ‘Best Moustache’ sponsored appropriately by gentlemen’s barber, Geo F. Trumper’s.
The set rode on jovially to Kensington Gardens, for a very civilised lunch of English tea and cucumber sandwiches. After this leisurely stop accompanied by a three-piece string band, the route took us on a sartorial detour through Mayfair and along Savile Row, where the Huntsman tailors inspected the Tweeders from head to hem for the ‘best-dressed’ competition.
As the gracious group of Tweed Marshals rode on ahead halting traffic, even London’s notoriously ill-tempered motorists were surprisingly hospitable. Passers-by doffed their caps and tourists looked on baffled at what seemed a typically good-humoured English pastime.
As the vintage safety car followed behind, enticing the stragglers with G&Ts, we saw St.Paul’s Cathedral up ahead signalling the final home stretch. The event drew to a close with swing dancing and gin-and-tonics all round in the Bathhouse in Bishopsgate; a fitting end to the most pleasurable day I’ve ever had on a bicycle.
With official Tweed Runs organised in Tokyo and New York later in 2011, as well as the many imitations the event has spawned globally, there is, as Ted Young-Ing would say, “just enough time for you to contact your local tailors.”