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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This ride is just dandy


You may have heard the story Monday on NPR about Washington's first Tweed Ride, and it seems the trend is spreading across some of our largest cities.

In case you're not familiar with the idea of a Tweed Ride, the New York Times calls them "informal gatherings of spiffily dressed ladies and gents cycling leisurely through town and disdaining finish lines." The Times says Tweed Rides began in London earlier this year and have spread to Boston, San Francisco and Chicago.

The group Dandies and Quaintrelles, which organized the Washington ride, urged cyclists to leave their Lycra, fleece and outer shells at home. Instead, they were encouraged to wear tweed and other vintage clothing on old-style bikes.

"Style is our concern," the group says on its blog. "Purposeful amusement is our desire. We saw great style and imagined considerable amusement in the images of tweed rides in other major cities."

In another post, the group adds: "This ride is about the beautiful simplicity and enjoyment of cycling from one place to another in style and grace. This day is about the beauty of pleasure, good taste and interest in noble causes!"

The Washington Post used these words to describe the scene Sunday: "A thicket of tweed chokes the alley near Eighth and H streets NE. Men in newsboy caps and knickers crunch over shards of glass in their leather hunting boots, looking like they're on an urban fox hunt. Ladies twirl parasols and tug at their full-length silk slips, which are growing clingy in the insistent November sun."

Will the trend come to St. Louis? Only time will tell. But what I do know is that I'm in favor of anything that brings more people to the world of bicycling.

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