Friday, 23 May 2014

May The Fourth Be With You

Photo: Tracy Kramer

Sometimes in life, one looks back upon an event or circumstance and thinks "How on earth can I top this?" This year's fourth edition of the Vintage Velo was one such moment.

Photo: Tracy Kramer
Assembling on the Downs on a glorious spring Sunday lunchtime, we knew from the first that it was going to be a good 'un. The usual mix of repeat attendees and fresh faces were assembled, before we headed off across the Downs into the delightful leafy suburbs of Sneyd Park.

 As with our last two editions, we kept the ride element of the day short and sweet. An expedition deep into the countryside is all well and good, until the realisation dawns that you have to cycle miles to rejoin civilisation, while wearing a floaty dress, riding an extremely heavy and overgeared bicycle, and having overdone the gin to boot.

Photo: Tracy Kramer

After a stop for ginger beer, the ride skirted the edges of Shirehampton before diving down a leafy lane to our destination, Kingsweston House. Originally built in 1719 for the diplomat Edward Southwell, the house served as a stately home, a military barracks, and finally a police training centre, then fell into disrepair around the turn of the millennium. Saved from demolition and recently purchased by new owners, the house was easily our grandest end destination yet.

Photo: Tracy Kramer

This year as well as games, food and drink, the entertainment on offer included some basic dancing lessons, which were to prove invaluable when cutting the rug to the Bruce-Ilett Six. There was also a thoroughly entertaining re-imagining of Cluedo, courtesy of Splash and Ripple.

The day ended, as is now traditional, with the award of the coveted Dapper Chap and Chapess prizes. It was very pleasing to see the winner of Best Chap become so over-excited that he jumped on his bike and started doing laps of an appreciative crowd. A veritable cornucopia of prizes were also given away courtesy of our lovely sponsors.

Photo: Amanda Edmondson
 Our thanks, as ever, go out to our team of volunteers for making this happen, Norman and the staff at Kingsweston House for making our event possible, the Bruce-Ilett Six and Swing Dance Bristol, our generous sponsors, and of course all our subscribers. Chapeau!

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