The Tweed Run, start of the Jollies season. It is often said that everyone should ride the Tweed Run at least once for some people that is enough, for others they just seem to keep going back.
The 2015 Tweed Run was different in several ways over previous events, Tweed was of course the order of the day, with good humour and charged hip flasks de-rigour.
This was however the largest Tweed Run event ever run, rumoured to be around 700 riders plus sponsors and guests, this was also the first year where, due to a change in licensing the marshals would not be allowed to hold the traffic at junctions. Anarchy and the rout of civilisation were foreseen.
This year the rendezvous was at Spring Gardens, although in reality it was really Trafalgar Square. It has been said on more than one occasion that organising cyclists is akin to herding cats and it would appear that even Mr Young-Ing blanched a little at the thought of setting 700+ riders forth into the city from the middle of a roundabout.
Mass photograph taken on the steps at Trafalgar and back over the road to Spring Gardens with the intention in setting off in our assigned groups. Needless to say The Mall was brought to a stand still as a pride of 700 cats took to their bikes.
We shall be honest here, the ride along Horse Guards took the best part of a quarter of an hour and the ride was very stop start until the tea break at Red Lion square. The halt proffered an opportunity for a refreshing cup of tea provided by Tea Vintage and the opportunity to catch up with a few old friends.
As we were not moving as a single mass through the metropolis the ride became fragmented as people finished their tea before heading off split into smaller groups by a set of traffic lights. It was here the marshals came into their own each group magically gaining a handful of guides to lead us through the streets offering reassurance to riders not so confident in the city. It does however have to be said Camden High Street on a Saturday afternoon, is a special kind of insane that the Tweed Run not only gets away with but turns it into a charm offensive.
The lunch stop this year was at St Pancreas Gardens where we dined with the lovely folks from Velo Vintage we would like to add at the juncture we dined with you as you are all thoroughly good company and friends, not because you had the best spread in the park along with popping champagne corks, it is here and in print, that was purely coincidental.
As is usual with most events attended by the GA we were some of the last to leave the park, having taken the mind-set we would finish in our own good time and make our own way to the Bloomsbury Ballroom. Yet again a tip of the hat has to be proffered to the marshals, as long as we faffed and packed they waited until we were ready. Now resolutely at the tail end of the ride we picked up a marshal at every stop and turn until we reached Bloomsbury Square where a rag tag group of Tweed Run cyclist were escorted in, three to a man.
The evening entertainment at the Bloomsbury Ballroom was some of the best in many a year, a venue large enough to hold one and all, entertaining acts to keep the masses enthralled, is was somewhat of a shame when we had to leave, although to be fair we were of course the last people in the building.
Another year over, another entertaining Tweed Run. Events change and mature over time. The Tweed Run is nearly three times the size it was back in 2012. The reassuring thing is you can still tell it’s the Tweed Run, bigger, higher profile but still idiosyncratic, still entertaining.
Thanks must go to Mr Young-Ing for organising the event, but the real heroes this year are the marshals, they work hard every year but this year in particular with its’ new format they held the event together with grace and humour.
Cheers Chaps and Ladies
A few Kodak moments from the day.