I’ll be the first to admit that the purchase of my beautiful Pashley Princess Sovereign Hybrid was completely fuelled by dreams of sunny afternoons spent wafting around London’s coffee shops and inspired by my good friend Lady Velos jaunts on the Tweed Run. I fully intend to exercise my right to be a purely fairweather cyclist, our temperamental British weather dictating that this is likely to be less often than I might prefer; a shiny toy for poncing around on first and foremost, rather than the more serious exertions accomplished by proper cycling types. I applied for the Tweed Run as much as a goal to spur me on and get myself started as for the chance to dress up and prance around in vintage outfits. As it was, the thoroughly British Springtime had not been able to lure me out more than a couple of times with it’s threats of rain ready to trick and slip me up, my pretty bike remaining sat in her corner of the kitchen almost exclusively since her homecoming.
I appeared to somehow miss my confirmation email, so the first Tweed Run mailing met me with a mixture of, at first confusion, then excitement and trepidation; I was going to have to get myself back in the saddle, and quick. The day before the run, I managed to cobble together an outfit (I’ll never be as glamorous and stylish as Lady Velo, so I went for my trusted frock and cardi combo, for a sort of take on land girl/charming scruffy urchin). On the morning of the ride, an early rise awarded me plenty of time to indulge in the sort of girlyness I usually shirk in favour of laziness; a luxuriously hot soak in a bath laced indulgently with Penhaligon’s bluebell oils followed by a delicious Workshop Rwandan filter coffee is a fitting start to the day. Once dressed, and the bright red lipstick, that I had intended to wear every day at some point early last year but gave up because it was such a pain to maintain, has been applied I grab my girl and off we hop to London.
Only it’s not quite as simple as that is it?! As much as I love her, glamourous and elegant beauty that she is, let’s be fair, like her owner she could really do with losing a few pounds. And a simple trip isn’t that simple when you’ve got three flights of stairs at either end of your journey, yes I know many of you told me this, but……she’s SO PRETTY. So, yes, I ignored all advice but luckily the boy loves this sort of thing (no really….) and has been very helpful hauling her ampleness up and down stairs upon request.
Logistical woes over I arrive promptly, pick up my registration pack, number myself up and settle back to veiw the incredible outfits as they arrive; I have to say I’m suitably impressed with the turn out, every one of the 500 or so attendies is impeccably attired with a stunning array of bicycles, both new and vintage, some accessorised to the hilt, there’s also a pleasing number of VERY cute dogs, many dressed up. Sadly the weather doesn’t wish to play nice, although at least managing to hold off drowning us, it’s super chilly and innevitably my Raynauds kicks in and I end up sticking my fingers IN a cup of tea to try and revive them. After a group photo we set off and not even the weather can dampen these spirits as we whiz off through Hyde park, wending our way through West London, our marshalls for the day performing a sterling job, keeping us safe and clearing a path through Londons busy streets. Speeding around Picadilly Circus is an exhilerating high point for this new rider, whilst practising cycling at practically zero speed in some patches within a crowd, a lesson in control and balance itself.
At a half way point we stop for a civilized spot of tea at the Imperial War Museum, cupcakes and bags of Tyrrells crisps are washed down with great urns of the nations favourite brew (yes, this is my rather tenuous link to food). Returning to the saddle, our route takes us through the back streets just south of the river, then back over Tower Bridge and up to our final destination; The Blacksmith and Toffeemaker, where we’re greeted with a welcome glass of Auchentoshan whisky that slips down like the finest of restoritive nectars. The sensible side of me somehow kicks in and I manage to stick to just a single glass of red, conscious of my journey home; those that know me may well be surprised, impressed, proud even that I arrived back at home safe and sound, completely unscathed with not so much as a spot of dirt on my CREAM frock. Here I have to give a massive thanks to @Grobelaar who is the consummate gentleman and escorts me all the way back from the pub to Victoria station, I know it sounds silly but I’m still absolutely petrified of the cars not playing nice (and in fact one bus proved his nasty bastard status, running me off the road).
Big thanks too, to the organisers of the Tweed Run for planning an absolutely smashing day out, a super route filled with jolly banter, natty outfits, bells and horns. I can’t think of a better way to christen my beautiful new Pashley.
Incidently I still haven’t chosen a name for my beauty; due to her attractive green hue I can’t help thinking along the lines of the green fairy, Absinthe. Do let me know if you have any good ideas!