The fifth annual Tweed Run starts on Marylebone High Street at noon on Saturday and finishes at about 2pm on Trafalgar Square, having rolled past Savile Row and the Houses of Parliament.
The British Library holds a copy of Cyclists' Touring Club's Uniform rules & regulations, London, 1888. This small pamphlet offers a chance to see and touch what kind of all-wool tweed-heavy clothing members of the Cyclists' Touring Club rode in. Eminently sensibly, the pamphlet remarks that none of the official garb contained cotton. Modern outdoors people know that cotton absorbs and holds sweat, chilling the wearer.
However, the CTC's E.R. Shipton, club secretary and who wrote the uniform guide, described the act of perspiring and the advisability of use of wicking fabrics far more prosaically: "cotton [is a] material which is a fatal stumbling block to the proper discharge of the bodily functions when undergoing fatigue."
It's unlikely any of tomorrow's riders will be fatigued, the two-hour ride is slow, a cycle chic Critical Mass.
Sponsors of the ride give out prizes. Perfume house Penhaligon's awards to the best moustache and the best groomed man; country clothing retailer awards the most dashing chap and the most dashing dame; gourmet crisp company Tyrell's will have a tough job picking out the top "Exceptional English Eccentric Award"; Brooks has an easier task, awarding to the best vintage bicycle; and Pashley will recognise the best decorated bicycle.