Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tweed Indeed

Today Nancy and I took part in our first ever Tweed Ride. I first heard about the tweed run back in 2008 or so and the concept grabbed me right away: A festive ride on vintage bikes in all manner of wool, linen, and leather. What could be better? Tweed rides are now a world-wide phenomenon and this include the second annual Herringbone Tweed Ride in lovely Burlington, Vermont.

The clouds were ominous as we drove up 89. This was going to be a fun event and we were not contemplating getting soaked simply for the pleasure of riding around in our chosen garb. Luck was with us and we arrived at Maglianero's under grey skies but no rain. We were on time and slowly others arrived, tellingly with wool sports coats, knickers, rolled up jeans with argyle socks, bow ties, etc.. There was also a distinct English air to the bikes that accumulated: Raleigh 3-speeds, Brooks saddles, black saddlebags, as well as the Raleigh Twenty we brought along.

Over coffee and scones we chatted with new acquaintances and in a while everyone gathered outside and we set off on what promised to be a leisurely ride with stops at points of historical interest, beautiful views and other intriguing possibilities.

The ride was rollicking and somewhat free form, almost like a critical mass ride, but with a couple of folks who knew where we were going. People on the street smiled and waved and wondered what was happening.  Our first stop was in City Hall park, where we were treated to a brief lecture from Luis Vinanco, professor of Cultural Anthropology at UVM. He described Burlington as a hub of cycling activity at the turn of the century and described early efforts to improve roads and encourage cycling.

We then pedaled on to Battery Park where we were again offered a enjoyable bit of Queen City cycling history. From there we moved on to a ride along the Lake Champlain waterfront on the bike path and enjoyed the easy camaraderie amongst riders as we traveled along. Various opportunities for photos  were taken advantage of along the way.

Our most dramatic stop was at the Ethan Allen stone tower in the hilly woods overlooking Lake Champlain from it's high perch. The organizers had a key and we were lucky enough to enjoy climbing the stairs and taking in a view of the lake from end-to-end, the high peaks of the central Green Mountains, and the surrounding city. Poetry, snacks and other friendly offerings were shared.

The ride continued on leaf covered paths through the woods that soon led to some longer stretches through the lowlands of the Winooski river floodplains. We rode on towards our penultimate destination at the Old Spokes Home where we were treated to cookies and cider, as well as an opportunity to view the amazing antique bike collection upstairs in the museum.

The ride ended when we arrived as a group at the Intervale where Local Motion was having their annual meeting and party with beer and pizza. The riders from our group provided a bit of entertainment with a humorous "Most Elegant Mount & Dismount" contest. Guess who won first prize? Yup, I won a cycling cap. As chance would have it an old friend from UMass days happened to be there and suggested basically a swing-the-leg-over-the-bars-frontwards mount and I managed to just do it, rather shakily, to much applause.

It crossed my mind in the midst of our ride that really this was just an excuse to get out and enjoy riding our bikes with a fun group of people. We had a great time.

More photos here.


Eric Hauser said...

Dave, it was great to meet you and Nancy on Sunday. Thanks for this write up and for posting the photos!

Dave said...

Hi Eric,
Great to meet you too. We had tons of fun and will be looking forward to next time.

greg said...

I love it Dave! Looks like a blast!

Dave said...

Thanks Greg. It was a fun playful way to go be out on bikes together. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

...where do I find clothes like yours. And I see you rode down my apt's st! (little eagle bay). Stop by for some libations next time, eh?

Dave Cain said...

Anonymous... The next Herringbone Tweed Ride is the 19th... Come join us!