Photos by Matthew Sparkes
The Cult of Transportation remains an ongoing theme here at Label Networks as eco-friendly solutions and new forms of transportation especially the “fixie” scene takes over more urban areas around the world. Like the Midnight Rides in downtown LA and New York and other cycling events taking over the roads from cars London’s Tweed Run has become a popular event.
As Matthew Sparkes proclaims in an article in Guardian the Tweed Run is a “genteel gathering of riders decked out in tweed leather wool and copious facial hair.”
Hundreds of people participated and went to great lengths in terms of bikes and fashion. Retro style cycles were fixed up and ridden in the Run while many took months to grow handle-bar moustaches and make their own retro outfits from vintage tweedsleather and floral designs. It was a sartorial event of fashion and cycling unparalleled anywhere else.
Scenes from the Tweed Run.
As blogger Mark from iBikeLondon explained hundreds of riders from all ages and abilities came out in their finest. Proceeds from the event go to Bikes4Africa which takes second-hand bikes to Africa so there’s also a non-profit twist to the eco-friendly fashionable nature of the event as well.
In a way the Tweed Run reminds us of the sartorial movement of the LeSape or sapeurs of Central Africa in that it’s also a way of celebrating local style and trends. For example LeSape celebrates a full dandy-esque scene with bright colorful attitudinal styles worn by today’s modern fashion players in Central Africa. SAPE which stands for Society of Ambianceurs and Persons of Elegance originally started both as part of the hangover of the wealthy French in Central Africa and the desire of the Congolese to look fine as well as a backlash movement in the ’50’s when President Mobuto banned the wearing of western suits (as a protest to stop so-called drug-selling “sapeurs”).
Part of the fashion and facial hair of the event.
The Tweed Run celebrates much of what was popular locally in London back in the day. For example competitions also took place such as best dressed rider finest moustache most gentlemanly conduct and best vintage bike. As one rider explained “”I’ve brought a rather foolish choice of bicycle; it’s a mini Penny Farthing the Smart Car of the urban Penny Farthing world! No brakes very easy to ride up hill but very difficult to ride down hill; if one’s feet come off the pedals they basically turn into rotating blades: I’m already looking forward to a pint if I make it to the end of today.”
Many people spent a great deal of time creating their outfits for the Tweed Run.
Fashionable outfits included woolen knickers tweed caps bike capes silk ties blower hats sweater vests and bowties.
The Tweed Run taps into many things going on in our culture today from the new fascination of riding bikes to retro styles of another era -and getting together for a good cause that’s fun and unique during a time when people looked to London as the center of trends.
Key accessories included tweed and wool caps silk scarves pipes facial hair and bike capes.