Just over a week ago on May 6th I took part in the London Tweed Run.
For those not in the know, the Tweed Run is an annual event that involves gathering together a large group of vintage bike enthusiasts and people who enjoy a good opportunity to dress up and going on a 15 mile bike ride around some of the more central parts of London.
|We gathered in front of the Albert Memorial for a group photograph before setting off and then discovered that the other half of the gorup were doing the same thing on the other side of the Albert Hall...|
At the moment though, I do not own a bike. A plan was hatched to borrow my mothers 1980s ladies road bike, which she has recently had retrofitted with an electic motor. It is not a thing of beauty, but it is reliable. For someone as unfit as I am the battery was also welcome back up plan for the ride home. The route was a closely guarded secret so we had no idea how far from home we would all end up.
For an event as style conscious as the Tweed Run, something had to be done about the bike. So we decorated it. Luckily the Jubillee celebrations are almost upon us and there is a proliferation of Union Jack paraphenalia in Poundland. We wrapped the bike frame in some blush coloured lace found in mum's attic and attached fake flowers to it using cable ties. Union Jack cushion covers were attached to the rack at the back, to which we also added my Fortnum & Mason hamper, which was filled with an anorak in case of rain, a blanket, a large can of hairspray and a few other useful bits and pieces.
|The bike mid-decoration|
|The bike in action - picture via the Tweed Run Facebook page|
Then through the back streets of Bermondsey and back over the river via Tower Bridge, past St Pauls and the bells rang out (a really special moment for most of us I think) and then up to Clerkenwell for whisky and gingers at the very friendly but slightly overwhelmed The Blacksmith and Toffeemaker pub.
Along the way we were joined by Graham Coxon, who carried a toy pig in his bicycle basket - as you do - and then presented the awards for best dressed man and woman (dapper dame) at the pub.
|The line up for dapper dame|
|Graham Coxon presents the award to Pandora, a truly dseserving winner whose outfit was entirely homemade!|
|Receiving my prize! Image via the Tweed Run Facebook page|
As we cycled up the mall - a 400 strong flotilla of English eccentrics, vintage enthusiasts and bike nerds - I realised I'd never seen so many people in London look so happy. The tourists looked like Christmas had come early, and it did actually feel a little like that. Bus and taxi drivers suspended their default grumpiness and a few of them actually laughed, despite having to wait for us to pass. It probably helped that a lot of the men doffed their hats as the cycled past to say thank you.
I can honestly say that I haven't done something that joyful in a long time - and certainly never had so much fun on a bike. And I also used the run as a chance to raise some money for my charity of choice - Safe Haven Childrens Trust. You can still donate via my JustGiving page if you would like to help.
I didn't take many photos on the acual ride - I was too busy enjoying myself - but here's a few I snapped on the old iPhone at the initial gatheirng point just off Exhibition Road.
|The chap on the left won the best dressed male category|
My outfit (on the left):
Tweed jacket by Armani (found at Kilburn car boot sale)
Waxed cotton circle skirt by River Island
Vintage silk shirt (found at Traid in Kilburn)
Vintage fox fur stole found at Wills Moody Jumble Sale)
Vintage Cacharel diamante brooch (via eBay)
Hair bow (found at Wills Moody Jumble Sale)
Brogues by Office (found at Kilburn car boot sale)
All bike decorations found at Poundland and Harlesden and Kilburn car boot sales
p.s. If you spot any pictures of me in full get up during your web browsing, please let me know!