In a narrow, winding street just off Clerkenwell Green, lined with shuttered shops and old warehouses converted into modern office space, all was quiet. Except for me and a man out walking his dog it was completely deserted. There was no indication that anything was going to happen to make this particular Saturday afternoon any different from every other Saturday afternoon in this part of town.
And then from around the corner a lone cyclist appeared, dressed in head-to-toe tweed and riding a vintage bicycle. A few seconds passed and a handful more similarly attired cyclists rounded the corner, and then a few more.
Before long, the street was filled with a cavalcade of colour, style and bicycles. With riders sporting a dazzling array of tweed, floral dresses and other retro styles, and riding a variety of steeds – from penny farthings to tricycles and gleaming steel frames – it was clear this was no ordinary bike ride.
As his dog yapped excitedly at the bikes going past, the man turned to me. “Bloody hell,” he said. “What’s all this about?”
The Tweed Run, now in its sixth year, is a metropolitan bike ride with a bit of style. Every year, around 500 cyclists don their best tweed attire and pootle around the streets of London for a day for no other reason than the pure pleasure of doing so.
After catching last year’s ride I had vowed, along with my friend Mark, that we would take part this year. But Mark had a wedding to go to and I wasn’t able to get onto a computer in time to score one of the coveted ride tickets – they sold out in about 90 seconds – so I had to settle for being a spectator again.
Ah well, there’s always next year. In the meantime, here’s a selection of photos I took of this year’s ride.