5 points to consider before joining a Tweed Run

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A tweed run is an idea almost childishly simple, something that I’m made acutely aware of whenever I mention to someone that we’re going on one this weekend. “We wear tweed and go cycling with a bunch of other similarly afflicted folks”. And indeed, that’s basically it. There is no strict demand that you even wear tweed, pretty much anything goes. Though it’s hard to avoid the bike. So if we’re to make a 5 point list to a successful tweed, what needs to be included?

First point: The bike

Let’s start with a bike. To be a true master you need a vintage penny-farthing. Just being able to get up on such a beast, let alone pedal along and not fall off, gains you massive respect from everyone that sees you. Granted, they also think you’re straight up nuts, but in a good way. You can also get modern penny-farthings, which are almost as cool, but are a little safer, more reliable and are almost as cool. Next, you have the more usual fayre, as in bikes with two wheels the same size. Given that there are at least 100 odd years of production to select from, the variety is astonishing and anything goes. If you’re riding a really modern bike though it does make it harder to create a cohesive bike and outfit combination. Unless you go for a modern retro bike, which again has the advantage of modern features and reliability combined with olden looks. The most important part? Make sure you have air in your tyres!

Second point: The outfit

Secondly, you need an outfit. The most dedicated will have spent weeks and months deliberating over the perfect combination of artfully selected and special tweeds, with shoes and accessories to match. This is the truly hardcore tweed runner. Right at the other end of the scale, you have the guy that woke up that morning, realised it was the day of the tweed run and in a total panic threw something together that might vaguely be classed as vintage or tweedy or vaguely resembling such. The thing is though, it doesn’t really matter, you’ll still have fun. That said though, this is a day when more people than usual will be paying attention to what you wear, so while most every other day of the year you’re the only person paying attention, this is a day when there is kudos to be garnered for the effort you put into it. The most important part? Be fun!

Three points: Food and beverage

Thirdly, cycling is hard work. More so when you’re cycling in the sun, wearing clothes that may be less than optimal, maybe even a little further than usual. So rather than gamble on finding something underway, it’s better to prepare. And given how much attention has already gone into it, why not make the effort to bring along a proper feast? Let’s not forget that cycling also allows a sensible consumption of alcoholic beverages, so some bubbly or appropriately sourced cider would hit the spot nicely. Keep in mind that while we are cycling, this is not a professional sporting event, so leave the bananas and energy bars and home and focus on choice meats, cheeses, pies and cake. The most important part? Prepare, don’t think it’ll be all right on the day!

Photo on loan from Twee Run Norway.

Photo on loan from Twee Run Norway.

Fourth point: The awkward social thing

Fourthly, while you may be the absolute prince of tweed, riding on your polished and oiled mechanical steed, bags full of camembert and craft beer, but if you’re No-mates Nick, you may find the event isn’t as much fun as it could be. So bring your spouse, a friend, your mother-in-law, kids, or failing that, work the starting area to find some kindred spirits. A tweed run might possibly even function as a Tweed Tinder, given how everyone that already has a fair amount in common. Not that I’m absolutely certain of the aphrodisiac effect of warm wool and creaky cycles, but you never know, right? In any case, there are ample opportunities to show an interest and strike up a little small talk. Maybe even bring along spare glasses to offer a taste of bubbly? The most important part? You’ve joined in!

My dear wife was featured in the local newspaper. Photo credit: Fredrikstad Blad.

Fifth point: Relax and enjoy yourself

Fifth, bring some patience and goodwill to all mankind. Unless you’re at the worlds smallest tweed run, there will be a jostle, a hustle and a bustle, when hundreds of cyclists set off on the same path. It’s not a leg of the Tour de France, there is no prize for coming first. In fact, the tempo is leisurely at best. While there will certainly be cyclists both fit and fast, many of the others will be both wobbly and quite wheezy when the first hill is encountered. So be a gentle soul and show consideration, make the day enjoyable for all, share a smile and a word of encouragement. And ring your bell and wave when you pass curious onlookers. And remember, a queue is not a traffic snarl or a hold-up, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a chat with whoever is lucky enough to be beside you. The most important part? Carpe diem, it’s a year till next time.

Happy tweed-runners at Tweed Run Norway in 2017. Photo on load from the organisers.

Happy tweed-runners at Tweed Run Norway in 2017. Photo on load from the organisers.

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1 Comment

  • WDW 01/09/2018 at 22:55

    I can add a point 6. Don’t forget the key to your bike lock… Thank you for the ride today!

    Reply

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