If you missed yesterday's Tweed Ride, you missed a good time.
First of all, the weather was nothing short of spectacular. If anything, it was too warm for a Tweed Ride, but I didn't hear anyone complaining.
The turn out was impressive. Several hundred, I would guess, for a last minute ride, that's never been held before in DC. And people took it seriously. Penny farthing bikes (yes, plural), aviator helmets, jaunty hats, parasols; people took it seriously. I talked to one guy who bought his whole outfit (except his shoes) for the ride. The Post has a nice write-up on the fashion and what the ride means - if it means anything.
The tweed riders in the alley are here because they value style, art, history and/or cycling, and because they find more inspiration by looking back than looking around. Danny Harris, 30, wears a wool tie and vest he bought in England, Vietnamese motorcycle goggles on his head and khaki shorts. On the other side of his taxicab-colored fixie is Kristin Hershberger, 27, who wears a 1970s high-waisted denim skirt and a new velvet vest trimmed with fur, yet still manages to look like she's from the Jazz Age. They talk about how going out used to mean orchestras and fine clothing, and how being macho meant knowing how to dance.
"I think our generation is lacking in a certain respect," Hershberger says.
A generation, in an alley, in search of a social identity.
Perhaps this is too much thought for a Sunday afternoon.
I will add that it was a good-looking group of people, despite my pulling the average down.
The ride itself was nice too. It being mid-day and great weather, people were out on the streets, which gave the ride an audience that most riders reveled in. Men called out "good day" to ladies as they tipped their hats. Shouts of hip hip hooray were started. At one point I overheard a woman on the sidewalk say "there must be some sort of event going on." As though there was a chance that 200 cyclists riding around in wool and lace was just a normal occurrence.
"What are you riding for?" people shouted.
"Tweed" many called back. Though fun was another reason and Arts for the Aging, a Bethesda nonprofit, the charity.
"What are you doing?" others shouted.
"What are YOU doing?" one rider replied. The riders were not above existential questions.
There was red light running (despite the stated goal to obey all traffic laws) to keep the group together, but with friendly waves and calls of "thank you" that most drivers - with windows down - heard. One rider high-fived mostly smiling, but stalled, drivers as she rode past. The only conflict point really was Dupont Circle, where two laps around caused gridlock serious enough to give Mark Seagraves the vapors. There was honking, and unlike the rest I'd heard, it was not of the friendly, supporting kind. Perhaps one lap would have been sufficient. There was also some over-exuberant use of the roadway, and room for more politeness - it will be interesting to see if drivers write in to the Post to complain.
WABA provided parking at Marvin (where I had just eaten on Friday night - bad planning on my part. That didn't stop me from ordering waffles and fried chicken again) and the bar quickly transformed from a sleepy brunch crowd to a rowdy, but polite, crowd of good looking people well-dressed and ready for gin.