My favourite cycling event of the year swung around again last Saturday: the sixth annual London Tweed Run! Although VCG was there in spirit last year, I was counting down the days to taking part in the ride this time. With the temperature hitting 23 degrees, organiser Ted Young-Ing couldn’t have chosen a better day for the event… which also led to a last moment change of my planned outfit for the day. I doff my cap to those who preserved in full tweed, but I suspect I would have baked in Central London with the suit I had in mind!
To be perfectly honest, my cyclestyle for the day faded into the background compared to the most striking accessory I’ve ever had on a Tweed Run - the beautiful Series 1 Milk Bike I rode for the day. I seem to have developed a habit of riding bicycles I fall in love with at Bespoked, as I first saw the bike at this years event. Milk Bikes founder and friend of VCG, Mark Meadows launched the Series 1 range with the "Barra" model in April… and it really was bike lust at first sight. A small production run of just twelve, all of the bikes are designed and handmade in the UK. With the brilliant cycling artist Rebecca J Kaye designing the colours and graphics, each one is named after the Scottish Island which also inspired their colour scheme. Being so limited and extremely unique, it was an honour to take Barra on her maiden voyage on London’s most sartorial ride - a bicycle very much in keeping with the Britishness of the Tweed Run.
Of course I wasn't going to be cycling solo - my ultimate riding partner and VCG photographer Ian James (The Boy) was by my side, with my lovely Colourbolt Ratty as his steed of choice
I must give an honourable mention to his get-up for the day, as he was certainly cutting a handsome dash! A massive thank you also goes to our friend James Greig for lending Ian the plus-fours, braces and shooting stockings for the day.
Full of frivolity as we cycled & laughed in the early morning sunshine, we headed toward the starting point Sommerset House, via Tower Gateway to meet up with good friends Jim and John Loughton, who came to London with Pippa & Neil. It's become a wonderful tradition to ride with them every year and it's always a pleasure to see them.
Arriving at Sommerset House, we were greeted with tweed and bicycles for what seemed like as far as the eye could see. The atmosphere at the starting point was that of excitement and happiness, combined with onlookers enjoying the stylish spectacle of 500 riders taking over the streets of London. While assembling for the group photo, I had a chance to catch up with friends and admire all the different outfits and bikes on show...
Official group photo courtesy of Tweed Run
All done, it was time to hop back on the Series 1 (which I was itching to get back on again) and take our tweed army into town! Our 11 mile jaunt through the city took in iconic sights around London, and drew many spectators who came to cheer us on...
It's not a Tweed Run without a very British tea stop, and this year the purveyors of the fine brew were Good and Proper Tea... and if you recall my blog post on them recently, you'll know this made VCG very happy indeed!
Suitably tea'd up, it was once again time to saddle up, take in some more of the glorious sunshine and see more of the beautiful city... and head to Russell Square for a much needed picnic stop! It was also wonderful that en-route we crossed over with the #BigRide organised by the London Cycling Campaign, the chosen charity of the Tweed Run this year
A short ride after, we arrived at the end of the Tweed Run in Clerkenwell for a champagne reception. Courtesy of Pol Roger, we celebrated the end of a perfect day in style - and on such a hot summers day, those fizzy bubbles never tasted so good...
Every Tweed Run I have been on has been huge amounts of fun, but this one has to rank as the best one I've ever been on. A huge thank you to the Marshals who got us all safely across London and special thanks to Ian for all the VCG photography, Mark Meadows of Milk Bikes for the beautiful Barra Bike for the day (a dedicated review coming soon) and thanks to Ted Young-Ing for inviting me and The Boy to take part and for laying on a truly amazing day.
Hopefully we'll see you in 2015 for the next Tweed Run... can't wait!
View Ian's photos from the Tweed Run on his Flickr Stream
View VCG's iphone photos on Instagram / Flickr
View VCG's videos of the day on YouTube