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THE SECOND LIVERPOLITAN TWEED RUN
Sunday 17th July 2011
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! Once again it is time to wipe down your saddle, buff-up your bottom bracket and wax your handlebar to join in the Second Liverpolitan Tweed Run!
The purpose of the Tweed Run is of course to restore style and panache to the pursuit of bicycling which has in recent years fallen prey to an unpleasant, plastic-helmeted, sweat-stained vulgarity, so much so that many bicycles manufactured nowadays have dispensed with mudguards; the intention is one of making the rider look as dirty and ridiculous as possible. Garish Lycra, knobbly knees and bilious-coloured "mountain bikes" complete the humiliation.
Naturally the spirit of the event is 'Tweed' (as popularised by The Chap magazine in 1999) though in July the actual cycling outfit might well be light wool or linen should sun and warm zephyrs be in evidence. The watchwords are elegance and dignity though of course conviviality and jollity ought to play a big part in the proceedings.
All effort is made to devise a route to avoid collar-wrinkling perspiration, undignified gasping and heart-imperilling exertion!
The basic route is a circular run starting and finishing at the Pier Head and covering nine-to-ten miles without distressing effort, mostly level with some thrilling downhill stretches in town. It involves river views, splendid parks, an opportunity for a picnic, calls at places of refreshment, tea and buns &c.
The aim is an enjoyable jaunt awheel and participants are encouraged to bring such vital equipment as hip flasks, parasols and sal volatile! Some hard-boiled eggs and a pork pie tied up in a red spotted handkerchief are always a good idea as is a pocket filled with ginger biscuits as per Richard Hannay in The Thirty-Nine Steps.
The outing starts at the Pier Head at 11am on Sunday 17th July. Simply turn up with your machine, suitably dashing attire and a jaunty disposition. Your bicycle need not necessarily be a rarefied antique or a pricy status symbol as long as the spirit of the day is observed. Needless to say, hats will be doffed appropriately.
Should you happen to live some distance away from town, remember that bicycles are carried free of charge on Merseyrail trains. Go for James Street or Moorfields stations (or Lime Street Station if you live on the 'city line)'. The lower-level lifts to the platforms in the underground stations are tiny so take your machine on the escalators, point it straight into the direction of travel and hold those brakes on tight!
Obviously we cannot control the weather but on the first Liverpolitan Tweed Run in May, ten indefatigable heroes (comprising five gentlemen, four ladies and a boy of six years) turned out despite the wind and rain for a diverting day out in what were rather unpleasant conditions that had deterred so many others. These ten doughty coves are now justly celebrated in song and story.
Notes on the Route.
1. There is a drawbridge at the entrance to the marina in Brunswick Dock that opens to admit sailing vessels. We might have to wait if this is the case when we arrive there.
At some point along the route prizes will be awarded for 'Best Gentleman', 'Best Lady' and 'Best Bicycle'
This is not the first Liverpolitan tweed run, if you are interested in seeing the webular site pertaining to that jaunt it is here: https://sites.google.com/site/liverpolitantweed/ There you shall find further links to relevant webular sites of a Tweed nature.
The original Tweed Run took place in London in 2009 and since then the runs have taken place in over fifty cities around the world. Rather than wait for someone else to organise one in our city, we decided to grasp the nettle and do it ourselves before such a good idea was hi-jacked by snobbish sprocket spods with poor diction, stubbled faces and dirty fingernails.
We were already infused with the spirit of the Tweed Cycling Club's motto: “Style not speed. Elegance not exertion.”
Tweed Cycling Club: http://www.tweed.cc/
Inspiring Cycling Outfits:- http://www.oldbike.eu/museum/?page_id=1105
In the face of pouring rain and violent wind that had deterred so many others, ten dreadnought bicyclists met at the Pier Head, including Laird Ian Dunning who had travelled all the way from Manchester to ride his 103 year-old Metropole shaft-driven bicycle.
The detour to visit Delifonseca Dockside was (at great length after cycling into a very wet headwind) ultimately foiled by a locked gate that was usually open!
The party pressed on along the riverbank to Otterspool where shelter from the increasing rain was sought in The Britannia Inn where jackets went on radiators and refreshment were eagerly quaffed. As conditions outside worsened the company agreed to cut short the run by riding along Riverside Drive and cutting through the old Garden Festival site, emerging from the woods at the bottom of Southwood Road. The party bicycled along Lark Lane and through Sefton Park towards the Palm House.
At the picnic in Sefton Park's Palm House they were joined by wheelman and chorister Mr. Keith Patterson. The medals were awarded; for Best Lady, Best Gentleman and Best Bicycle.
For Daguerreotypes, see here…
...and Professor Mycroft Milverton's Memoirs here:-
Despite his experiences on the day, Laird Dunning (along with his fellow wheelman Jonathan Fingland) is organising a Tweed Run in Manchester provisionally dated Sunday 21st August!
Third Liverpolitan Tweed Run is to take place on Sunday 2nd October 2011