If you watch the video above, you'll have a rough idea of what this year's Ralph Lauren Rugby Tweed Run was all about – 2 parts tweed (where Ralph Lauren Rugby partially figures in), 2 parts cycling, 1 part nostalgia, 1 part silliness and a half a part tea break.  Seeing the video might answer a few questions as to why I took part in this year's Tweed Run, which is in its third year of encouraging the capital to cycle around the capital in jaunty tweeds, bathed in old time nostalgia and bellowing "Tally Ho!" or "Good Day" or doffing their caps to passers by.  The idea of me RUNNING in anything that isn't the privacy of my quiet block is ludicrous.  The idea of me CYCLING for all of public to see is even more far fetched, given that I haven't actually been on an actual bicycle since I was thirteen and fell down a mini-ravine whilst mountain biking.  It isn't really out of trauma that I've not been on a bike.  In reality, I never justified the cost of buying a decent one to handle the traffic of London and even now with the introduction of Boris bikes, I just haven't bothered to get on one.  

Therefore, the opportunity to combine a half-decent outfit with cycling around London was something I couldn't resist…

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I would have been content with people watching alone as Tweed Runners gathered at the beautiful Ralph Lauren Rugby store (I've said it once and I'll say it again – Ralph Lauren's store interiors make me want to try my hand at visual merchandising…) for breakfast and registration.  I wasn't the only avid photographer as a swarm of London-based streetstyle photographers also turned up to capture the abundance of tweed-infused and vintage looks.  London is not short on retrogazers who really live the lifestyle of decades gone by with enthusiasm and gusto.  Yesterday, somebody remarked "It takes all sorts to put on an event like this and London has em'."  It's not something that I personally partake in, but it's evident that events such as Tweed Run gives people the opportunity to visually express their nostalgic preferences.  There's a "peacock" element to Tweed Run, that meant swarms of men (I have to say that the men's outfits did trump the women's on the day…) and women dressed in their tweedy finest, fully accessorised with hats, caps, hankerchiefs and all the historically-right apparatus felt like a congretation of a secret society that you rarely encounter on a day to day basis in London.     

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The three ladies here from The Vintage Mafia aren't so secretive and bill themselves as a group of impeccably dressed women who can host your event, give talks, tours and make-overs.  There was almost a photograph frenzy whenever they posed together as tourists and Londoners looked at them with curiosity.   

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The thing that I loved about Tweed Run (and I can't compare to previous editions seeing as this was my first one) was the effort that people put in to dress up.  It's a similar sentiment to what I expressed about Vintage at Goodwood.  There's no need to poo poo people's efforts for not being 100% authentic but the fact that they gave tweed their own spin (many went down the charity shop or vintage route when picking out their tweedy ensemble) and incorporated their own style was what was interesting.  For the women, tweed often didn't figure into it at all and instead, it was a chance to dress up in their vintage finest and have a rollocking day out… 

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Like I said though, it was the men that were superbly turned out given the number of tailoring options available to them… 

Steve was snapping away like a crazy person and I also got into the mindset of noticing a particular cuff, bowtie or hankerchief detail on their outfits…

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The amount of Ralph Lauren Rugby tweed gear wasn't rampant despite being the primary sponsor and of course there were a special list of guests who were completely kitted out in Rugby gear which blended in seamlessly with the vintage stuff.  I gather there were many of the Made in Chelsea cast there but my knowledge of the show is pretty scant so I was a doofus when it came to recognising them… 

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After a MAHUSSIVE group shot in front of the store where 500 or so Tweed Runners posed for a photograph and shouted "TWEED", we all set off.  It isn't a race as such but more like a leisurely group bike ride with traffic marshalls and St John Ambulance people to guide you around the city.  This was the sort of hand holding, which reassured me that getting on a bike after over a decade wasn't a total mistake. 

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Wayne Tippets caught me setting off in Covent Garden and struggling slightly to get used to the Pashley bike that was kindly lent to me.  I've been told that whilst Pashley bikes are immensely lovely to look at (no, I didn't specifically request this pretty pale blue shade…), they're not the easiest ride in the world.  I put the fact that I kept on losing balance, down to my lack of riding experience, rather than the bike itself.  My only complaint about the bike was that mine didn't come with a bell so I couldn't indicate when I was coming through.  Sorry to the group of French students at Hyde Park Corner, who I nearly crashed into.  I totally heard you muttering "Poutain…" by the way…

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Imran of Business of Fashion was going to cab it along the route (some of the photographers took this "cheaters" method to capture people at different stages of Tweed Run) but found a bike and joined in on the fun.  I vaguely remember chit-chatting with him about err…. new e-commerce start-ups in total BoF fashion… along the way.  FASHION BUSINESS doesn't stop even if you're trussed up in tweed and jaunting about town on Pashley bikes.    

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The ride itself was everything I thought it would be – an attention grabbing occurence that whizzed its way through central London with lots of cyclists ringing their bells, doffing their caps and shouting "Tally Ho!" to passers-by.  Most drivers (save for one very angry taxi driver) and people traffic were quite happy to let us pass by thanks to the ceremoniously polite traffic marshalls, who rode along with us ensuring the route would be ready for 500 Tweeded up cyclists.  I wasn't quite ready to partake in the gentile etiquette of Tweed Running as I was personally trying to grapple with my wheels but by the end of it, I did start shouting "Why HellOOOOOOOOO there!" to random children on the street.  I hope they're not too traumatised by that.  

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Steve was in his riding element.  He hasn't been on a bike for ages either but he has had the experience of doing a paper round as a kid which meant he was constantly waiting for me to catch up… 

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I might look somewhat calm here but actually I had just had my mini scare of being led down Pall Mall by mistake, instead of following the main group down Whitehall, and then having to turn back and go down Whitehall and round Big Ben on my own, riding alongside scary big red buses.  The rest of the group at Hyde Park Corner had to wait for a few of us amateurs to catch up.  I could have just taken a shortcut but for some reason, I was obsessed with sticking to the planned route.  Year 9 orienteering clearly had a huge effect on me. 

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Let's talk OUTFIT given that sartorial excellence is supposedly the main component of this event and in my case, my cycling was never going to really be the star of the show.  See that on the tyres?  Horse manure…. a sign that graceful cycling is never going to be in my DNA.  I'll leave the cycling in heels, 70s YSL and jangly earrings and head scarves to Catherine Baba.  My bit of tweed comes courtesy of Ralph Lauren Rugby but the rest is a mish mash of what is a comfy riding outfit for me with the Harris Tweed Nikes completing the tweed equation.  I knew I was going to be up against literally stiff competition on the hair front with finger waves, Victory rolls and Gibson's rolls eluding my poker tong straight hair.  Thankfully Lucy Jay, a scarf designer I featured previously, sent me her long scarf made especially for Amnesty International.  I literally ripped open the package, saw the scarf and tied it up in my hair as I was rushing to leave the flat yesterday morning… 

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(Ralph Lauren Rugby tweed jacket, vintage cardigan, Opening Ceremony x Where the Wild Things Are skirt, Heikki Salonen trousers, J. Lindeberg scarf, Harris Tweed x Nike trainers, Lucy Jay scarf in hair, Miu Miu bag)

Tea break came as a welcome respite after seven miles of huffing and puffing through Hyde Park, through Knigtsbridge and down to Kings Road.  

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I couldn't stop snapping even during tea break and thankfully in totally UN-London fashion, people had their guard down and were perfectly relaxed with having people snapping away at them… 

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I also bent down a lot to take pictures of men's socks…. which sounds strange on paper until you see the socks in question.  With breeches and knee-length trousers come interesting socks… 

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It's still strictly speaking Movember so Murdock London were on hand to judge the array of moustaches on show.  My lame effort was of course not applauded… 

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A few of the ladies had knitted beards to make up for their inability to take part in Movember… 

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After tea break, we chugged our way down to Pimlico, over to Vauxhall and then back up over to Victoria/Belgravia where the ride ended and drinks and a tea dance was to take place at the very posh Caledonia Club (by that time I was ravenous and couldn't contemplate gin and tonic without huffing at least 1,000 calories first so we ducked out to Ducksoup – PLEASE GO if you haven't been yet…).  We had clocked in thirteen miles to which I guffawed.  Thirteen miles on a bike when I hadn't actually ridden a bike since I was thirteen was an achievement that I'll harp on about boorishly to friends for a while yet.  I am ocfouse paying for this exertion of physical activity today with some seriously sore limbs but I vaguely remember experiencing that sort of thing when I did take my bike out for hours and hours on end as a kid – a sign of chaste and unadulterated fun that I wouldn't mind enjoying more often.

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Comments (43)

  1. SACRAMENTO says:

    What a magic post Sissie, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  2. Thea says:

    Nice pics…such interesting people!
    http://yabooksreviews.blogspot.com/
    for real BOOKS LOVERS… :)

  3. Lea says:

    these pics are genial!!! ‘tweedrun’…what an idea!!!
    great looks, nice people…!
    FOLLOW!?
    http://stil-werk.blogspot.com/
    http://stil-werk.blogspot.com/
    http://stil-werk.blogspot.com/

  4. Wow! I have a whole new respect for tweed, amazing! an old time classic :)
    http://styleastronaut.blogspot.com/

  5. jeanne berre says:

    This parade is beautiful, there are many ideas of style, superb !!!!

  6. Shini says:

    Such funnnn, I promised not to miss it this year and yep went ahead and forgot like a dummy, looks like it was a blaaast!

  7. Krys says:

    Ah, I’ve never heard of this before, but it seems fantastic! I love the idea of riding around, dressed to the tweed-y nines, and just enjoying each others company/the nice weather. Thank you for sharing your experience and all of the photographs. Maybe you’ll do it again next year? (:

  8. Ella says:

    I’ve always loved that skirt!! One day, I shall get my hands on one, and finally unleash the many outfits I have stored up in waiting ;)
    Sounds like a fantastic thing to see, definitely going to cheer everyone on next year!

  9. Joy says:

    You look absolutely fabulous. I wish they actually biked around NYC when they had the Rugby run here! It’s too bad I had school too and I couldn’t go. Anyway glad you had such a great time and everything looks absolutely fab!

  10. Lloyd says:

    Susie – you’ve posted a picture on my friend Aggie and me! It was such a fantastic day.
    Aggie has also blogged about it – http://agsieb.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/the-tweed-run/
    x

  11. Susie – Yours is by far my fav write so far! Photos too!
    For any of your world wide readers who wish they could find a Tweed Ride or Tweed Run check out The Tweed Ride Report for a datebook listing of all upcoming Tweed Runs, Rides with links to the details. Over 150 past events are listed as well.
    2011 is pretty much winding down now, however 2012 should be fantastic!
    Shelly @RidingPretty
    http://ridingpretty.blogspot.com/

  12. KD says:

    Ohmygosh, this post made me SOOO HAPPY!!! Seriously. This looks like so much fun and so wholesome and adorable and super. I know that if I had been able to participate my face would’ve hurt by the end from smiling so much, let alone my legs from cycling! Seriously I would’ve grinned for 13 miles straight. This is such a great post.

  13. Hannah says:

    this is amazing!! so much tweed, i love it
    check out my blog!
    wtfwhatthefashion.blogspot.com/

  14. We had the Melbourne Tweed Ride running simultaneously in the Southern Hemisphere in what looks like slightly warmer weather! Seeing how they do it in England (aka “the motherland”) is great inspiration for our next ride! Hope you loved it as much as we did here! Some snaps from our ride: http://www.fashionising.com/events/b–Pedaling-back-in-time-Melbourne-Tweed-Ride-14185.html

  15. oh wow, this looks like so much fun! I want to go if they have one in New York, even though I haven’t biked in 10 years either! (and I don’t own any tweed…yet….) I love your skirt, and your boyfriend looks so dapper :)

  16. Suzi says:

    I had so much fun reading this post Susie! You looked like you had heaps of fun, riding through the streets of London, even though you hadn’t riden for such a long time. I myself haven’t ridden a bike in years, but at the very look at seeing so many people clad in tweed, looking rather dapper, enjoying themselves immensely, I would have partaken in a heartbeat!
    I am an Australian blogger, and new to the Blogosphere. I would really love it if you could visit me some day.
    Suzi x
    suzimaynard.blogspot.com

  17. Jimmykopelia says:

    Suzie! great fashion blog. I always read it. Take a look this website that has new designs in silver jewellry and hopefully you can make an article..
    http://www.incainspirations.co.uk/
    Cheers
    Jimmy
    http://jimmykopelia.blogspot.com/
    http://yaacovbenraphael.blogspot.com/
    http://fugahistorietas.blogspot.com/

  18. susie_bubble says:

    There was one in New York, also sponsored by Rugby in October… not sure how it went but the pics and vids look like a lot of fun!
    http://www.rugby.com/tweedrun/Default.aspx

  19. susie_bubble says:

    Those pictures are amazing!! Looks like you guys had an equally amazing time…. I reckon you did the ‘motherland’ (so politically incorrect, it’s untrue….) PROUD!!

  20. susie_bubble says:

    Thanks Shelly!! I’m new to all the Tweed Run/Ride proceedings so it’s good to find out more info from yourself….

  21. Omg Susie!
    I love it sooo much. My friend took part in that a few years ago! Good coverage you! xx
    http://www.marinalondon.com/blog/

  22. Olive says:

    ah susiee!you look superb!!

  23. bla bla bla says:

    Che spettacolo!! Soggetti e look veramente belli!!
    http://www.theblablabla.org

  24. Kristina says:

    This is amazing, they all look so good, I want to be there!

  25. Serdane says:

    I definitely love this event !! SO funny in the wearing old and so british clothes… LOVE
    http://www.younglington.wordpress.com

  26. jenna says:

    wow! looks unreal. as if you traveled years back in time :)

  27. Eloise Grey says:

    I’ve been planning to do this since it launched and this is definitely the best blog post I’ve read about it. Now to find some willing friends who are game. I am big on tweed but fear my bicycle is too modern.

  28. pearl says:

    OOOO YES! So much tweed!
    But alas, one does not know how to bike! Woe is me!

  29. Tara India says:

    Wow that looks awesome! Wish I had been able to take part – maybe next year.. And maybe a tweed look is in order tomorrow… xox
    http://myobsessiondujour.blogspot.com/

  30. j says:

    I love this!

  31. I love everything on everyone’s hair!

  32. Save Kate says:

    I love this post and love Tweed! That’s why I miss London so much.. Thank you!

  33. Teresa Stokes says:

    Yours is the best blog on the event I have seen so far, I love the excellent photos and I have spotted myself in the short video, shouting “Tweed!” (Me in the centre in green Harris tweed jacket and cap). The chap with the long curly pipe won the prize for best moustache sponsored by Murdock London (the luxury barbers and grooming brand for the Modern Gentleman). The next event is in April, watch out for it on http://www.tweedrun.com (or on Tweed Run Facebook page) – come back and write about us again!

  34. Teresa Stokes says:

    I was riding a modern bike as were half the people there, you don’t need to worry about that! It’s the clothes which are important. The problem is getting in as it is so oversubscribed. Try for the next one in April!

  35. Teresa Stokes says:

    I was aware of the Melbourne ride going on the same day, and I enjoyed reading your article to see how it compared to ours. You’re one up on us as we had no penny farthings on our ride and I can see one in yours! Another advantage which other tweed rides have over ours is that I suppose numbers are not so huge and so people can just turn up on the day. Here in London, the birthplace of the first tweed ride, it is now so popular that it is massively over-subscribed and numbers have to be limited to 500 and booked in advance – one has to be lucky to win a place.

  36. Teresa Stokes says:

    Small correction, Alistair won third best moustache, sorry, he says he hopes to do better next time!

  37. I must say that it was such a nice fashion. I am hoping that you are to share more fashion trends and style in the coming more years .

  38. leia says:

    Tu look esta fuera de lugar. Si vas a un evento de ste tipo debes ir con el tipo de ropa que corresponde y no disfrazada de moderna fuera de epoca

  39. Great images, thanks for sharing!
    For any gents wanting Tweed Run outfits, do check out our website : )

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