I found myself in London for the third annual Tweed Run at the weekend. On arrival, I was greeted not only by the gratifying sight of English leather saddles at every turn, but also by the sound of sweet piano music, emanating from a piano, of course. But extraordinarily, this piano was built into and around a bicycle frame, its rider/player accompanying the group down Blackfriars as we set off.
Once again I also found myself pondering a favourite, and still unsolved question. What is the correct collective noun for “gentlemen”?
A Dapperness? A Doffing? For the time being I have settled on “A Consummacy”, but am yet to find it in any dictionary. Perhaps we can make my search the goal of our next competition. But here’s a quick one for today: who is the celebrity pictured in the above group?
At any rate, if you were anywhere near St Paul’s Cathedral last Saturday and musing on possible answers, you’d have had plenty of visual inspiration. St. Paul’s was meeting point for the start of this year’s ride, and as such was host to perhaps the most thoughtfully dressed, impeccably mannered gathering of people ever assembled to ride bikes together.
We took in Birdcage Walk, Savile Row and the Clerkenwell Road along our path to the finish at Bethnal Green, as well as all the sightseeing that pertains to such a cycling route around the English capital.
I was delighted along the way to bump into some good customers of ours. The Cooper Family, Michael and Charlie of Mini fame were there on a pair of their Cooper Bikes.
Dorothea and Fabian from Two Wheels Good in Hamburg, Germany had also made the trip. You may recall that they were the first hosts of our English Cycle Style Show.
In honour of the event, the independent tea producers Lahloo Tea had prepared a specially blended “Tweed Run” potion, so we stopped for a delicious cup of it at Lincoln’s Inn Field, while three immaculately turned out ladies drew bows, plucked strings and chased air through wood for our amusement.
Of course, they were in good company. Brooks has been an enthusiastic sponsor of the ride since it started in 2009 and it was a delight to see so many ladies this year making sure that it wasn’t just Moustache Cultivators having all the fun.
The well known film actor and apparent Brooks fan Ewan McGregor was also there. Just like everybody else, Ewan had sat patiently by his computer a couple of weeks ago when the “first-come, first-served” online registration opened, and filled its 600 spots in six minutes. He was marvellously dressed astride a Pashley Guv’nor, and I spoke to him for a while, complimenting him on his obviously fine taste in saddles, leather tool bags and carrier baskets.
Disappointingly, however, a wonderful day of consummate gentlemanliness was soured by the very ungentlemanly (or unladylike) behaviour of an anonymous person who made off with my Brompton while it was parked outside the finishing venue. It transpired later that two other gentlemen had also had their Bromptons snatched. Not a euphemism, sadly.
And all three with a Brooks on top!
Last, but not least, you might be interested in this vintage video documenting the 2010 Tweed Run.