Monday, 11 April 2011

Tweed Run 2011: Tweedspotting

The Tweed Run 2011

Dr Doug was off in Swansea, telling NCR 4 where to go in the only language it understands (literary criticism), and Jon eschewed the shenanigans, so it was up to me to represent Trois V at the third London Tweed Run ride.

The Tweed Run is a rather complicated event, if only for no other reason than the fact that a lot of people you recognise from the forum, and therefore have to remember their real name and their forum name, and indeed who exactly they are, and then this is all compounded by the fact they are in the relative disguise of tweed, moustache, and assorted pipes, etc. Shifting signifiers, and all that. Where was Doug when you needed him?

I also had another task to concentrate on: and that was taking photographs for the good people at Lime Pie advisory services. Not only would I have to wrangle a Brompton, manage my tweed disguise, remember who anyone was, and try not to get overheated in the unseasonal heat, but snaps, nay, photographs, would have to be taken. I packed some cucumber sandwiches for support, and headed to the start to sign on as press by 11 a.m.

1. Signing On: Paternoster Square

Oddly enough, I had been there a couple of times recently, scoping out the place for 'friend of the Trois Vs''s architecture tours, so I didn't need directions; I wasn't, though, prepared for the scene. Penny Farthings. Pedersons. More people than I could imagine in tweedy outfits; and this was only the 'press' and 'guests'.

I quickly began snapping, which was pretty darn tricky with a blazing sun, and light being thrown around like a bull in a paintshop. I managed to get one poor lady to trip up, sullying her stockings on her chain. I offered my handkerchief, but I had given her enough grief for one morning. If you're reading this; apologies, apologies, apologies.

Pressing on, I snapped, chatted, and found out a lot about a 1907 (I think) Pedersen bike. I also took a shot of a chap with his daughter and a tweed-caped teddy bear.

2. St Paul's

Only now did I realise the enormity of the event. Over 500 people in tweed, often as not moustachioed, or foxy (I think that is the word) dames, massed on the steps of St Paul's. Roxy and Farid did a great job of crowd control for the mass shot, and I got turned down by a deacon (I wanted him to pose with a Penny Farthing: he shot me a terrified look and said the Dean forbade it).

The tourists loved it. And then they (we?) were off. I got a tourist to hold the Brompton, and snapped like a madman. The teddy man appeared again:

Then I jumped on my Brompton, and joined the ride.

3. The Ride

Really, this is what it is all about. A great deal of grinning as you ride along with hundreds of others through the streets of London, while the brave marshals in tweed armbands, and often trackstanding, sanctioned by TFL temporarily blocked traffic.

"Pip Pips".
Happy policemen.
Mostly happy taxi drivers.
All the sights, including this chap on the left:

4. Tea

The fine people at Aubin and Wills hosted some tea for us in Lincoln's Inn fields.


We then amused the tourists outside John Soane House with a mass start, and some suitable music blaring out from the portable gramophone.

5. Bethnal Green Working Men's Club.

Where General Lucifer, star of the Gentleman's Time Trial, lay in wait for stars of films such as Big Fish.

I also liked the write-up on the Whopee blog. And lots of images at


Trois V!

(your correspondent whizzes by at c. 3'30)

1 comment:

  1. How delightfully nerdy. Might I suggest the anachronistic, but nonetheless "in the mood" Glenn Miller?