Cycling chic from a bygone age is set to return to London’s streets on Saturday 10 April with the second edition of the Tweed Run. Last year’s inaugural event saw 250 rather dapper cyclists take to the capital’s roads in cycling attire from the 1920s and 30s, and organisers are hoping for even more participants this year.
Starting at midday, the 14-mile, leisurely ride will take in landmarks such as Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral, and will be accompanied by a programme of events including afternoon tea and a party afterwards. Members of Southwark Cyclists will provide marshalling duties for the event.
The success of the 2009 event inspired similar rides as far afield as Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington DC, and organisers say that people signing up for the London event “can expect a day of leisurely riding in the company of fellow ladies and gentlemen dressed in plus-fours, Harris tweed jackets, merino wool team jerseys, silk cravats and jaunty flat caps, of course.”
Registration for the ride will be open at www.tweedrun.com from 27 February, and cyclists wanting to take part are asked to register early, with the 400-rider limit expected to be filled quickly.
Once registered, participants can collect a musette from a number of locations in London, or ask for it to be posted to them, which will contain a route map, a booklet with dress and ride etiquette tips, a commerative pin, and race-style numbers.
According to co-organiser Jacqui Shannon, “The goal of the day is to have a bit of fun riding through London and show it’s possible to cycle whilst looking stylish. Dapper gents and elegant ladies will be dressed with panache as prizes will be up for grabs including awards for most dapper chap, best moustache and most gentlemanly behavior on the day.”
Those prizes will be given out at the after-ride party in Bishopsgate, where there will also be a swing band playing to help reinforce the period feel.
There’s a serious side to the ride as well though, since it aims to raise funds for the charity Bikes4Africa, which donates refurbished bikes to secondary schools throughout Africa, which it says “makes an enormous difference” to students who often have to walk 10 miles or more in extreme heat to get to school, as well as benefiting their communties.
Fellow organiser Ted Young-Ing added: “I am very pleased to announce the second edition of the London Tweed Run. This ride is a truly unique experience, and we’re pleased to bring it back to the street of London again this year. As in 2009, the Tweed Run will benefit Bikes4Africa and closer to the date, we are excited to be launching a number of limited edition products, in collaboration with some major brands.”
There’s no word on what those products are yet, although a glance at the list of sponsors and supporters of the Tweed Run may give some hint, including as it does names such as Rapha, Brooks Saddles, Pashley Cycles, Hendrick’s Gin, H Huntsman & Sons, Geo F. Trumpers and The Chap Magazine.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.