“Join the esteemed bicyclers of the fair city of San Diego for a jaunt through town whilst wearing your Sunday’s finest. An antiquarian aesthetic is a must: tweed, gabardine, flannel, houndstooth, hats, dresses, and well-groomed moustaches are welcome. Poorly-groomed mustaches will be tolerated. Ride your roadster, randonneuse, recumbent, retro-racer, Rotterdam rig, Rivendell, rigid 29er, rad fixed gear, or whatever you have. Throw it all together with zest and pastiche like the stylish clutter of your curio case. Leave the lycra at home for your recovery ride the next day.”
On Saturday, December 12, San Diego will have its first Tweed Ride, starting at Velo Cult in South Park and ending (likely) back in South Park at The Station for libations and conversation. Read more on SDbikecommuter.com.
Tweed Rides, happening around the world, constitute a celebration of the spirit of early bicyclers who rode in fashionable clothes for leisure, work, and transportation. Now, back then people dressed relatively formally everyday, so it makes sense that they wore more than a t-shirt and jeans while on bicycles. In our nostalgia-driven culture and recyclista aesthetic of DIY bicyclers (and there are many), the Tweed Ride is a fun way to reflect on the grace of cycling and have fun. Most important, I believe that the Tweed Ride movement sends a message to riders and potential riders that its OK and even fun to bike for normal, everyday, even formal events. Cycling is not just for kids and racers, of course, and the news coverage that Tweed Rides garner helps spread the message that cycling is for everyday, for every errand, and every joy ride.
Admittedly, we do not have the cold climate that necessitates wool. But I am often colder here that I was living in New England during graduate school for that reason – I’m usually underdressed when the temps move lower than 65 with a biting Pacific wind. Quit rolling your eyes, snow-belters. Been there. I was never cold in Western Massachusetts because I always had gloves, hat, scarf, wool, topcoat, etc. Here, I’m often caught unawares by “cold” in a t-shirt, jeans, and a light windbreaker. Brrrr. This is not Florida. Its coooold. We’re talking low 50s in winter.
Now, I am an academic, so I have not shortage of tweed and wool. Seems natural that my Harris Tweed hunting jacket (with leather buttons, but, regrettably, no leather elbow-patches) will get the nod. Its always been a size big for me (its a 44R – I’m a 42R), but that works rather well on a bike, where reach is important. Wool cap, shirt and tie, vest, etc. I can always roll up some pants, and borrow my wife’s knee-high argyle (and stretch them out so they’re mine forever). Or I can be a proper gentleman and buy some proper knee socks. That sounds funny. But this whole thing is fun.
So, are you coming?