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By David Rooney on

The Tweed Run

As I’ve mentioned before, back in the Victorian age, the ‘ordinary’ bicycle, or penny-farthing, was the state of the art in cycle technology – and the height of fashion for brave men and women:

Lady and gentleman riding 'ordinary' cycles, 1874 (Science Museum / Science & Society)

As with most fashions, this one seems to have come around again. Earlier this month, 400 cyclists dressed in Edwardian and Victorian garb converged on London to take part in the twelve-mile 2010 Tweed Run.

I couldn’t make it myself, but judging by the many pictures on the web, these YouTube videos, and this Guardian write-up, it looks like a super time was had!

Whilst some chose to go retro in outfit alone, others took part on vintage machines too, including quite a few ordinaries.

The Science Museum has a splendid collection of about 150 bicycles, from the earliest days to the present. As we wait for next year’s Tweed Run, I thought you might like to see a few more of our historic machines…

Bayliss-Thomas ordinary bicycle, 1879 (Science Museum / Science & Society)
Windsor 'ordinary' bicycle, 1878 (Science Museum / Science & Society)
Singer 'Xtraordinary' bicycle, c.1884 (Science Museum / Science & Society)

These cycles, along with most of the rest of the collection, are in our store in Wiltshire. You can write to my Wroughton colleagues for an appointment if you want to study any of them, or if you want to see early cycles in historic context, come to the Science Museum and see the highlights.

Now, where did I put my plus-fours

One comment on “The Tweed Run

  1. The Singer certainly does look extraordinary. I had never heard of that design before, it makes sense to keep the rider lower. I wonder how well the lever system worked.

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