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Feed the need for tweed

Cyclists are gathering for the second Blackwell & Sons National Tweed Ride in Greytown on Easter Saturday.

“We’re really celebrating a lifestyle that’s quite prevalent here in Greytown of casual cycling, cycling up to the cafes, picking up pure vegetables from the village market, Blackwell & Sons founder Adam Blackwell said.

“Unashamedly, it’s about tourism to bring people to Greytown, but it’s also to celebrate a slow-style of bicycle event that doesn’t involve putting on Lycra and racing to get across the finish line first.

“It’s really about slow cycling and enjoying it, and that’s really what tweed riding is all about.”

 

Blackwell said the Tweed Ride is only part of the event.

“People like to dress up in something they don’t usually wear,” he said.

“They also love the fact we’ve got an after-ride party, which is called a ‘knees-up’.”

“They get a gin martini at the end of their ride as a reward and a little high tea.”

“It’s very much a country jaunt, English afternoon tea, Downton Abbey-style of event that people don’t get the chance to do very often, but we do it here in Greytown once a year.”

Last year’s event attracted people from across New Zealand, from teenagers to octogenarians.

The less-than 10km ride is taken at a leisurely pace, so tweed-lovers need not need worry about breaking a sweat.

The company worked with Hills Hats in Petone to develop tweed helmet covers for Saturday’s tweedsters.

Greytown residents, John Argue and Ruth O’Brien, are airing their tweed and oiling their chains for the event.

O’Brien said Greytown was an ideal venue.

“It’s easy, it’s picturesque; it takes you down to the old railway station, which is still being used and follows an old line,” she said.

“I just think it’s perfect.”

Blackwell & Sons is the only shop in the southern hemisphere selling traditional English hand-built Pashley Bicycles.

It also restores old bikes.

“A lot of people are finding bikes in their garages that they haven’t ridden for 20, 30, 40 years or might have belonged to a parent or grandparent,” Blackwell said.

Prizes will be given on the day for best dressed, best-decorated bicycle, best facial hair, and most unique bicycles.

Due to covid-19 capacity limits, tickets have already sold out; but who’s to stop passers-by from ogling on roadsides with their Box Brownies, grandpa’s binoculars, or swish monocles.

The 2022 route trundles around the west side of Greytown from 1pm on Saturday, with a spectator’s map available on Blackwell & Sons website.

 

public interest journalism

Ellie Franco
Ellie Franco
Ellie Franco is Wairarapa’s Local Focus video journalist. She regularly covers in-depth stories on arts, culture, people, health, and the occasional pup.

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