Putting on the Tweed: London’s 2nd Annual Tweed Ride!

Part bike festival, part historical reenactment, tweed rides draw people attracted to bikes, history, costumes, and neighborhood celebrations. Tweed rides take us back to a time when bicycles ruled the road. If they’re at all activist in orientation, it’s in the sense of being a reminder that you can ride a bike for transportation in everyday clothes, and that given room on the road, it’s a perfectly safe normal activity. They’re also very silly and a lot of fun.

London’s 2nd annual Tweed Ride was Saturday, May 9th. London’s first Tweed Ride back in October had just 70 participants but there were more than 200 at the one this weekend.

Lots of lovely sepia photos here. More colour pics here.

Photo by the London Photography Group,


We ride at a leisurely pace. You can see me at about 11 seconds in during the video below, police and penny farthings at 1:46

I love the penny farthings and all of the other old fashioned bikes. I also love the stylish historical costumes. I didn’t wear tweed this time–it was nearly 30 Celsius when we set out–but I did wear a dress. I always feel a bit out of sorts since I wear helmet even though most riders don’t. I put bike shorts on under my dress, as much for modesty as anything else, but it’s also what I’m used to. And my sandals have SPD cleats on the bottom.

I do have the advantage of having visible tattoos. My friend Rob who I did the ride with (in the bowtie below) jokes it should be called the Tweed and Tattoos ride. Lots of young men and women with pretty coloured arms and legs. That bit wasn’t exactly historically accurate. Also all of the children riding had helmets on. Historically accurate or not, it was a fun celebration of cycling as a lifestyle, not a sport, and a reminder that the roads weren’t built for cars.