On April 29th, 2012, we set off on the 1st Stuttgart Tweed Run, not entirely sure what to expect from the day's activities. After weeks and months of long planning sessions, fueled by wine and our own patience for listening to each others best ideas, it all came down to this: Would the weather be with us? And would anyone actually come?
To the great relief of all involved, Tweed Run Sunday arrived shining brightly, and an early crowd was already gathering at the Marktplatz. Registrations signed, donations made, handkerchiefs tied on, and toasts of sekt made, we set off to summit the hills of Stuttgart and make our way to the majestic Schloss Solitude. Off through the tree-lined avenues of Stuttgart West we rode, and up to our first waypoint: the "Schwarzmarkt" of the Nikolauspflege. Here we enjoyed a first round of refreshments, coffee, homemade cakes, and pastries, before setting off again through the forest toward our goal.
On we pedaled, taking in the fresh air, the warm sun on our backs, until finally coming out upon the picturesque grounds of Solitude. Here, to the delight of all, we were welcomed by oyters and sparkling wine, cool beer and more warm sunshine. The next hours passed, like so many summer afternoons, with pleasant conversations among friends old and new, respite on the palace lawns, and a parting photo opportunity of the assembled riders, before we all turned back toward the valley for the evening.
Arriving back at the Marktplatz, thirsts were quenched with one or a few tonics & gin, while the organizers mulled over their decisions: Who was the handsomest gent? The fairest lady? Whose bicycle was finest? And who would take away the Tweed Run Monacle for the most complete embodiment of the day's spirit? If memory serves, there was even an honorable mention for the best team showing...
Awards presented and charity auction concluded, many of the participants joined us for the grand finale, a Gala 3-Course Dinner under the open sky that had been our companion since the morning. Already, the murmurings of next year's ride were starting to spread.
The last brave souls of the day, neither exhausted from the excursion nor deterred by the clock's hand, regaled themselves with the overwhelming success of the Tweed Run into the late hours...indeed, if it only had not had to end!
Conclusion: Thanks to our riders and sponsors, we were able to raise over €3000 for charity!