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001 - The First Liverpolitan Tweed Run, 15.5.11

The Inaugural Liverpolitan Tweed Run

A minimum-exertion, maximum-elegance bicycle outing for ladies and gentlemen who find plastic helmets, ‘mountain bikes’ and gaudy Lycra distasteful and intimidating.

      An informal ride with opportunities for tea and buns, beer and chips, etc., along the way as well as picnics and sea-bathing for the adventurous, participants are those whose dress is dignified and stylish, urbane rather than urban.Pipe-smokers are particularly welcome!

The Inevitable Fate of the Speed Merchant

Provisional Itinerary of the

Inaugural Liverpolitan Tweed Run

A Jaunt by Bicycle

Sunday 15th May 2011.

     In order to make the ride both scenic and relatively exertion-free for the chronically unfit, the immaculately-dressed and the hung-over, it starts in Britain’s oldest municipal park, Paxton’s picturesque Birkenhead Park, and it follows a level path with little or no motor traffic around the north east coast of the Wirral peninsula, with sea views, beaches, lighthouses and a fort.   Cavillers and curmudgeons who question this route for being on ‘the Dark Side’ ought to pause and consider that the starting point is nearer Liverpool Town Hall than the younger Sefton Park is.

     Liverpolitans can easily and quickly reach the route by train (9 minutes from Liverpool Central Station) or ferry (15 minutes from Pier Head) and the faint-hearted or prematurely-inebriated can take the train home from several locations without having to complete the full ride.Bicycles are carried free of charge on Merseyrail trains.
The Health & Safety Bit
1.  The recommended helmets are the deerstalker the pith and the Pickelhaube.
2.  The recommended caps are the flat cap, the smoking cap and the fez.
3.  Horrible injuries can occur to cyclists wearing denim, baseball caps and sportswear. Riders are advised only to wear natural fibres, preferably ones that have been fashioned into garments to delight the stylish eye!
4.  I do not envisage that machines shall be left unattended at any point but riders are always advised to have a lock aboard at all times!

5. This is a friendly, informal jaunt and participants join it at their own risk. For example, should your expensive new trilby be whipped off your head and into the river by a freak gust of wind it is your own responsibility! (Either wear a well-fitting older one or bring a light scarf or an extra tie to strap down your headgear. Alternatively follow the example of Miles Malleson playing the tricycling bishop in The Hound of the Baskervilles; he kept his topper in the basket on his handlebars whilst under way!)

Happily this is all highly unlikely as fortunately, in the mornings the air is generally quite still.

An indecently-dressed rider attracts the opprobrium of spectators
     Rendezvous One, the Capuccinos café in The Pavilion in Birkenhead Park opens at 9am for bacon rolls, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, fry-ups, etc. with lots of outside tables.There are pristine lavatories, splendid flowerbeds and an exhibition area should we have to wait for stragglers.
The pavilion is only a five-minute saunter from Birkenhead Park Station which is a 9-minute journey from Liverpool Central Station.
Suitable trains from Liverpool Central depart at 0920, 0935, 0950, 1005, 1020, and 1035.
The Pavilion, Birkenhead Park
     Depart from The Pavilion for slow, easy cycle to Seacombe Ferry Terminal, which is Rendezvous Two.

The ride between the Park and Seacombe is the only part that involves bicycling on open roads but these are relatively quiet off-peak midweek and should be quieter on a Sunday morning.

     On Vittoria Street, riders should bid good morning to Homer the parrot in the cage outside The Vittoria Vaults on the left.Right turn onto Corporation Road towards Tower Road.   The only slightly hairy bit for novices is Tower Road which involves crossing two bascule road bridges over water at East Float and three roundabouts, the third having a right turn, but this is not a race and the wobbly can dismount and cross the road as pedestrians, no shame is attached!    After all, only knaves and ruffians ride bicycles on the pavements!
In any case photographers might care to dismount here even if there are no ships about because the light here often creates delightful effects upon the water.
At Alfred Pier Head we join a footpath and cyclepath along the riverbank to Seacombe Ferry.
11.10Rendezvous Two – Seacombe Ferry.Those who chose to take the ferry from Liverpool will arrive here aboard ferryboats casting off from the Pier Head at 0915 and 1000.      Please note that these times are different from those published before 30.4.11 - please disregard older information.
Seacombe ferry terminal was used as a location in the 1979 John Schlesinger film Yanks, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Gere. There is a café here, amusements including radio-controlled model boats and starting here involves no riding on open motor roads with traffic.
Seacombe Ferry
(an artistic study with converging verticals)
      After here the ride is a case of simply following the promenade to New Brighton and beyond.This is not a race or a distance-covering exercise of interest only to the sort of deviants who are morbidly enthusiastic about sweating, so riders can stop as often as they like to admire the views or take photographs. As the jaunting company will include women, children and senior citizens there will be plenty of opportunities to visit lavatories for the adjustment of tie-knots, the straightening of stocking seams and the the waxing of windswept moustaches (in case anyone is worried on that score).
      Our progress is to be dignified, elegant and convivial. Hats are to be doffed, even to onrushing, stony-faced yahoos in plastic helmets as they barrel along the pedestrian pavements and tear through red traffic lights.
      To give some kind of purpose however, the suggestion is that the first stop is at the capacious beer-garden of The Queen’s Royal Hotel on Marine Parade in New Brighton.
After quaffing a refreshing draught we resume the journey along the seafront to a picnic site known locally as The Gun Battery, there to eat our sandwiches, smoke our pipes and tell ripping yarns, unless popular feeling is that we press on further to the picnic area at Leasowe Lighthouse, The lighthouse will be open as a museum from noon until 4pm, but it must be borne in mind however that riding to the lighthouse will involve crossing sand dunes that have encroached upon the path which will make it a tiring and very slippery business for those who insist upon continuing. Those who do not can employ their time with paddling, sea-bathing, kite-flying, beach cricket, etc.
The return journey is to be executed at the same pace and we might permit ourselves to visit that venerable old hostelry up Pengwern Terrace from the Magazines Promenade, The Magazine!

Obviously other inns and cafés are available and these are only suggestions.    Weather conditions on the day will dictate exactly how we proceed upon – or indeed perhaps (in extreme circumstances) even cancel – the jaunt.With any luck it will be a superb day and interest in sea bathing or just good old British paddling from the beach near the Gun Battery has already been expressed. The lifeguards have been consulted and the best bathing spot identified. Refreshments and lavatories will be at hand but riders might wish to take along a light rug or cape to keep the sand out of their bottom brackets. High tide is at 0953BST, low at 1652BST.

From the Pavilion in Birkenhead Park to the Gun Battery is 7.6 miles, and with the return journey Tweed velorutionists can boast of having ridden over fifteen miles, but without perspiration or indignity! The ride back need not retrace the outward path exactly, perhaps to take in Woodside Ferry, beautiful Hamilton Square or some charming old hostelry, but the ride will terminate at the Pavilion in Birkenhead Park which closes at 4.30pm. (The Capuccinos café closes at 4.00pm.)
The bicycling craze strikes Tilling! Watch from 5 minutes into this videokinematograph http://youtu.be/pFwbYMyDByY

Face-Book Page:- https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164849990240516

The Flâneur:-http://www.theflaneur.co.uk/

The Tweed Cycling Club:-http://www.tweed.cc/

The Tweed Run:-http://tweedrun.com/

Liverpool Confidential - http://www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/Culture/The-Inaugural-Liverpolitan-Tweed-Run

The New Sheridan Club:- http://www.newsheridanclub.co.uk/index.html

The Chap Magazine:- http://www.thechap.net/

There was an excellent turnout in terms of quality if not quantity, with excellent people who had travelled some distance despite the grey skies, wind and rain and not actually knowing any of the maniacs they would encounter! To them I raise my glass in a toast.
To the arch-dandies who failed to turn up – Black Mark!
The farthermost end of the ride was truncated owing to the lack of progress riding into the teeth of a gale blasting the drizzle off the Irish Sea and because under the meteorological conditions the notion of sea-bathing and a picnic on the beach lost its appeal.
Laura, Rhoda, Simon and Alex are to be mentioned in despatches, along with young Master Oliver who despite all managed to hang on to his Panama!
Three cheers to all those who took part! Hip hip!

For photographs of the day, click on here:

Second Liverpolitan Tweed Run is to take place on Sunday 17th July 2011!
The original eight starters who heeded the call to join the first Liverpolitan Tweed Run at Birkenhead Park
We were soon joined by Messrs. King and King...
...who quite literally embraced the spirit of the event.