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Spetses gets spiffed up for first Tweed Run in Greece

By George Georgakopoulos

A Tweed Run in Greece? “On yer bike,” I thought. “No, it’s true,” my friend from Spetses insisted, trying to curb her own enthusiasm.

She was right. This most “elegant” bike ride, synonymous with the style and finesse of a bygone era, had its first incarnation six years ago in London and, having already swept Tokyo, New York and Toronto, is coming to Greece this weekend (November 1-2), more specifically on picturesque Spetses, the car-free island steeped in history at the entrance of the Argolic Gulf.

“We had been looking for ideas that bring fun and visitors to the island, while doing justice to the character of the hotel,” Poseidonion Grand Hotel manager Antonis Vordonis told Kathimerini. Celebrating its centenary this year, the iconic hotel is the organizer of the event. But why choose a Tweed Run, of all things?

“Because it is a bike ride like no other, different from the kind of cycling events we are used to. The participants dress up in their finest clothes, take it slowly and enjoy the ride, competing with each other for the best vintage outfit, relaxing with aromatic teas and basking in the beauty of the countryside with authentic picnics,” Vordonis said.

With tweed fabrics in the spotlight, vintage plus fours, suits, woolen jerseys, coats, cycling skirts and perhaps a sporty cycling cape for the ladies, along with accessories such as bow ties, scarves, cravats and tweed caps are all encouraged, as at the end of the ride the Best Dressed Man and Best Dressed Woman will be awarded.

Furthermore, the “vintage lovers” will have the chance to claim the “Best Vintage Bicycle” Award. Those who do not own a vintage bicycle can still jazz up their wheels and enter the “Best Decorated Bicycle” competition.

“People have been looking for bikes to transform in time for the Tweed Run. There’s been a flurry of activity on Spetses in the last few weeks,” added Vordonis. He must be right, as my friend, Marikaty, told me she had lent out two of her old bikes for the event. “I’ve also seen local men growing mustaches to blend in, too!” reported Vordonis, which Marikaty also confirmed. It appears that the island has gone Tweed mad!

Vordonis stressed that the Tweed Run helps to revive the values of yesteryear, such as respect for and enjoyment of nature, a refined taste in clothing, virtue and proper manners, and in doing so deals a blow – no matter how temporary – to the haste and sloppiness so prevalent today.

And after the FILPA antique car rally took place on Spetses in spring, it seems Vordonis has something of a theme taking form. Already springing “surprises” that tap niche markets and thematic tourism (and promising more), with the island filling with visitors on otherwise quiet weekends, the hotel is promoting its renovated image after undergoing a facelift a few years ago, and locals as well as visitors enjoy rare events that would have otherwise appeared too remote to take part in.

Participants in the Tweed Run are currently seen exceeding 70 or 80, “and could run up to 100,” Vordonis said. At least a couple of people are expected from Britain, being the link with the original event in London. “We really don’t know how many people we can expect as the publicity has really been taking off in recent days,” he explained.

Will he be joining in? “Oh, yes, I’ll get a bike sorted to take part, for sure!” [Kathimerini English Edition]

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