The inaugural Manchester Tweed Run took place on Sunday 21 August: surprisingly bright for late August in the rainy city. Twelve or so valiant souls dusted off their hangovers and donned their Sunday best for a sedate potter around town, taking in some historic sites and a couple of landmark watering holes along the way.
The frontrunners met in Platt Fields then joined forces with the peloton outside Whitworth Art Gallery, lingering in the sun to chat chainrings and quaff fizz from a Thermos. The steeds were many and varied: from Pashleys to Dutch-style; vintage Raleigh roadsters to state-of-the-art folders. Some really were resplendent with fancy paint jobs and vintage panniers, others decked out with wicker baskets decorated with blooms. The Tweeds were equally diverse and there was a jolly good smattering of herringbone, Prince of Wales and dog’s tooth. The men cut a dash in flat caps, plus-fours, elbow patches, cravates and bepocketed silk handkerchiefs, while the ladies sported natty riding jackets, twinsets and pearls, fantail skirts, and, of course, handbags and lipstick.
After a quick pitstop for supplies, the debonair dozen pretty much freewheeled down to Castlefield for an impromptu picnic in the auspicious environs of the Roman remains. Smoked salmon sandwiches and hummus rolls were washed down with glugs from the abundance of hipflasks in evidence; a prerequisite for the stylish cyclist about town. After refuelling, the wheelers rolled on through Spinningfields, picking up more riders who’d searched Google only that morning – who says you can’t mix tweed with technology! We then rode through St Ann’s and across Deansgate to the Cathedral, then via the original Co-op campus to the Marble Arch for lashings of ginger ale and lady-like glasses of rose. From there some departed in their own direction and the remaining group took a quiet roads route back to Platt Fields via as many blue plaques as possible. A brilliant day out!
Sarah-Clare Conlon largely rides a flower-adorned Kona Africa Three called Hettie and blogs at: http://wordsandfixtures.blogspot.com/