Tweedy splendour

I just bought Cordarounds and am liking them very much, thank you. Their collection of gingham shorts fails to fully engage my enthusiasm, though they’ve got a seersucker short that tempts.

These cords should go nicely with my Tweed Ride outfit, first deployed last Thursday for an East Bay jaunt.

Tweed rides began in London, where a bunch of cyclists donned tweed and had a nice time riding around the city. Some San Franciscans picked up the idea and have now done two rides. A week ago, a bunch of us from the East Bay met up with veterans of the SF rides and explored the tweedy side of Oakland.

i-26c1cb3ff3522157e62c446592c75a29-arthrotweed.jpgAlas, my camera stayed home, but I’ll borrow liberally from the great photos on Flickr from users mejarc, bspoketailors, and bicigirl. The ride started near Chez TfK, at Mosswood Park (home of many hours of Obama phonebanking last year). From there, we headed over and met up with the SF crew at a nearby BART stop, and headed off. Back past the park, under a freeway, up the lovely commercial district on Piedmont Avenue, and finally at the secluded and surprising Oakland Rose Garden. We met up with One Man Banjo, who delivered on his name with music that, while not utterly tweedy, did fit the old-time mood of a ride featuring pennyfarthings and tweed jackets, spats, panniers, and arthropod appendages.

From the Rose Garden, a gem that many of the riders including professional photographers and nature buffs had never visited before, we zoomed past Lake Merritt and on to The Trappist in Downtown Oakland.

i-78118667fe94881cd60ae622fdb5b8af-tweeddrink.jpgAs you can see, the core of a tweed ride is not the textile choice, but about attitude. Jody, to my right above, is not actually wearing any tweed. Tweed is about a certain rumpled elegance. An outdoorsy attitude that doesn’t incline to rules or hurry, and that seizes the best parts of life, like fine Belgian beer and pleasant rides through fine cities or lush gardens.

In the first picture, above, you see jD, who crafted first two, then four appendages from used tweed jackets. He says that he’s yet to name the resulting eight-legged species, as his research efforts are currently directed elsewhere. I was pleased to learn that he’s a fan of NCSE’s, and we chatted about the fine English naturalist tradition of insect collecting. In particular, we speculated that Darwin surely wore tweed while collecting, but that Haldane may not have.

Tweed rides like this are sweeping the globe, with Chicago, Australia, Canada, and a host of other biters elegantly sweeping into the peloton. I look forward to seeing you all at the next ride. Keep an eye out here, or at San Francisco Tweed for future updates.

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