I often find that preparing for a ride is almost as much of a joy as the ride itself. The slightly ceremonial laying-out of bibshorts, jersey, bidon and snacks the night before helps to mentally prepare for the task ahead. The selected attire acclimatises the brain to the likelihood of inclement weather, whilst the amount of food and water required conditions the mind to the degree of hardship ahead. When the laying out includes plus-fours, woollen tie, pipe and hip-flask though, you know it must be time for the many pleasures of The Tweed Run.
This coming Saturday (May 17th) Central London will be turned into a pedaller’s paradise as two big events take over the streets of the capital for a few precious hours. The London Cycling Campaign’s Space For Cycling Big Ride hopes to attract 10,000 cyclists of all ages and backgrounds to Hyde Park from 11am for a short, closed-road spin through Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus culminating with a massed rally on the Embankment around 2pm. Billed as a ‘fun ride with a serious message’ the Big Ride event aims to highlight the need for greater awareness of urban cyclists and promote campaigns for better road layouts and separation for them.
Nearby, the 6th annual Tweed Run – “A metropolitan bicycle ride with a bit of style” – will be taking 500 sartorially-conscious velocipedists, all bedecked in their best breeches and finest frocks, on a circuitous route through the West-End, City, South Bank, St James’s and Bloomsbury. Stopping traffic and tourists in equal numbers they will cruise past on their Penny-Farthings, Pashleys and other makes of venerable push-bikes enroute to a very classy picnic in Russell Square. With prizes being for a number of categories including Best Vintage Bicycle and Best Moustache it is a truly glorious sight to behold.
The Space For Cycling campaign has gained a lot of attention recently following a spate of cyclists death in London in 2013. Their similar “Love London – Go Dutch” ride of last summer has morphed into something much more focussed on the need for immediate changes in attitudes and infrastructure for the capitals growing cycling population.
Initially started as a fun ride by a small group of friends on a London cycling forum, the Tweed Run now has linked events being run as far afield as Tokyo, St Petersburg and Seoul and is well on its way to becoming a global institution. It is a uniquely pleasant day out, especially if the weather is favourable. Be warned though – numbers are strictly limited and if you don’t have a ticket already you won’t be able to join in, so if you are looking to take part on your bike next weekend, best head for the Big Ride instead.
The two events cross each other around Parliament Square and the prime place to see both will probably be Whitehall around 1pm. Giving out a shout of “Space For Cycling” to the LCC’s riders and a “Tally-Ho” to the Tweeders will get you the best response – most probably a wave from the former and possibly a doffed deerstalker from the latter.
If you are in London on Saturday do get your self along and support the events if you can. The LCC needs all the two-wheeled support they can get whilst the Tweed Run loves nothing more than having loads of people on the pavements to parade in front of.
A map and more information on the Space For Cycling Big Ride can be found below and I’m acting of one of marshall’s on the Tweed Run again this year so I’ll be writing more about how that event went afterwards.
Fingers crossed for good weather. Tally Ho!
In the capital this week, whilst the Met advised commuting bike riders to wear extra bright clothing in case ‘drivers weren’t wearing their glasses‘, a prominent London cyclist carried out a number of erratic moves during an LBC radio interview, which threaten to put his professional life at serious risk of harm. Bare-headed, dressed in a non-reflective dark suit and clearly wearing headphones throughout, he remained oblivious to the heavyweight issues thundering around him whilst he made his risky manoeuvres. He didn’t stop even though there was a red light clearly shining in the recording studio at all times.
I know there isn’t a quick fix to the problem of the many dangers which London’s cyclists face everytime they take to the road.
I know it’s more complex than just a rush-hour HGV ban, or segregated lanes on the cycle super highways.
I know that self-interest and self-preservation are enormously important aspects of urban road-use and that vulnerable road-users need to play their part in reducing the risks presented to themselves.
I also know that repeatedly reducing the debate to one about what the potential victims are wearing is about as big a blunder that the man in charge of realising the potential solutions could make. Frankly, I’m appalled.