Last Saturday, four of the Vintage Mafia girls and I had the absolute honour to be invited along as VIP guests at a very special edition of the Tweed Run. Regular readers will know that I’ve been on the two previous ones, in April ’10 and April ’11, and had an unbelievably awesome time on both. This time was a little different, because this autumn instalment of the annual ride was sponsored by a big brand. A very big brand.
The Ralph Lauren Rugby Tweed Run was, as its name suggests, designed to create some serious buzz around the RL Rugby brand. They’ve just opened a shop in Covent Garden, one of the only two outside the US. The brand itself is a seriously premium one – full of lovely tailored and definitely vintage-inspired garments, at aspirational price tags. The shop itself is lovely, and full of very gorgeous assistants, so worth a visit if you’re in the area, at least. I will confess to being slightly worried about whether the corporate sponsorship would take some of the fun out of the fun and philanthropic Tweed Run. It’s not just a fun jaunt on bicycles in vintage clobber – it actually raises money for a very worthy cause – World Bicycle Relief, which donates bikes to children and adults in developing countries, enabling them to get to school and work.
Anyway, I needn’t have worried. Aside from all the extra journalists and photographers, celebrities both major and minor (Erin O’Connor and some Made in Chelsea people), and a slightly more touristy route that meant a bit more stopping-and-starting, the day was as much fun as any previous Runs. Rather smashingly, the girls and I got gifted a RL Rugby jacket each, to form the basis of our outfits. And even better than that, the kind folks at Pashley Bicycles sorted out three splendid steeds for Gemma, Jeni and Naomi to borrow, ensuring we all matched and looked (hopefully), rather spectacular together. Thanks you so much, chaps.
The ride itself was lovely, taking us through Trafalgar Square, down Whitehall (or should have, if we hadn’t taken a wrong turn down the Mall and had to cut through Horseguards), through Hyde Park, stopping in Chelsea for tea. Then back over the bridges before ending at Hyde Park Corner for a party at the rather fancy Caledonian Club! Here’s a map of the route (and ride home to Bethnal Green), if anyone’s interested! It was relatively easy for me and for Bethan, as both of us cycle regularly. Bethan did twenty miles including the journey there and back… but the other girls did suffer from mildly bruised posteriors. My solution to this: more cycling, ladies!
Here we are with our steeds.
Aside from my black velvet RL jacket, I’m in some Tarantula Clothing capris, blouse from H&M,tights from John Lewis, and a hat which has attracted many gasps of admiration, but which I am sorry to say I can’t provide much info on, other than it was made by a lady called Cindy, who sells at 1940s reenactment events! You’ll just have to go to them all and try to track her down! 😉
If you’d like to see more photos, there are some great ones over on Susie Bubble’s Style Bubble (she and Steve Salter were lovely, and I must apologise for telling a toilet-humour based joke in their presence), and Preposity.com, who has done separate posts on the gentlemen and the ladies of the Tweed Run.
Here are some phone snaps from the day…
And if you’d like to see a bit more of the Run in video form and featuring us several times, then check this rather awesome video out. The song is going to be in my head all day now!
Thanks a million to the ladies and gents of Pencil Agency who invited us along, Rugby Ralph Lauren for having us, the Tweed Run organisers for making it such a brilliant day, the Traditional Cycle Shop for providing the girls Pashleys for the day, and all the many great people we met for just being so dashed well-dressed.
Can’t wait for April!