Hello friends! Just reminding y’all that the 2016 Portland Tweed Run is tomorrow, Sunday April 17! Are you excited? Are you ready? Here’s some things to consider:
Be punctual! We’ll be meeting at Lownsdale Square at 2 pm, and depart at 3. While it’s perfectly fine to get there at 2:55 pm, especially if you’ve spent the whole morning fretting about your outfit, we implore you to get downtown as early as you can. Otherwise you’ll be missing one of the best things about Tweed Runs: The chance to check out the people and their bikes before the ride, plus the chance to socialize.
Look your best! While you don’t necessarily have to swathe yourself head-to-toe in Harris Tweed, it’s still recommended to dress in the spirit of the earlier parts of the twentieth century (or the later part of the nineteenth, if you can pull it off.) I know that it’s supposed to be HOT tomorrow with a high forecast of 83F/28C. But while it might be…tempting to wear board shorts and flip-flops, we’d encourage you to not. 😉 And if you are still looking for last minute clothing ideas, there’s plenty of vintage shops, resale shops, and thrift stores to choose from.
Don’t forget about your bike! Of course you also need a bicycle! While there is no specific requirement for what bike you bring, the spirit of the Tweed Run leans towards simpler and vintage. We realize that not everyone has a fleet of bikes to choose from, so bring what you got. But if you have the choice between a modern carbon fibre race bike and a vintage 1968 Raleigh Superbe three speed, we’d go for the Superbe. And don’t forget to dress up your bike as well!
Bring a cup! There will be two points where we’ll be enjoying coffee or tea. And alas, we are not providing cups for (most likely) several hundred attendants. So remember a cup or two for a hot beverage, or otherwise you’ll be looking forlornly at all the other folks enjoying tea.
Be aware! We realize that there’s a certain “lowering of guard” when being on a big group ride. And the eleven mile route we selected minimizes problem areas while giving a good sightseeing tour of the Rose City. But there will be a few choke-points, and there will be several track crossings. We’ll do our best to call these out to you, but please pay attention to what’s going on. We don’t want you to crash!
Be civilised. We’re expecting a big ride due to the weather. Any time there’s a big ride, there’s more chances of conflict with other road users. Please do your best to minimize that chance of conflict, and if a conflict does arise, it’s always best to take the high road. (Especially if you are on a high wheeler!)
By the midpoint of the last decade of the 19th century the ‘safety’ bicycle had brought both men and women to the wheel (as it was called) in huge numbers.
Sunday wheeling was a delight that most could enjoy – special trains took pleasure-seekers from the cities further into the country where riding the lanes (with no real car traffic, just occasional horse carts) was fun and wholesome. Added benefit – it got many a couple together as biking was one activity old-lady chaperones rarely participated in.
Too bad – the fresh air was a needed tonic to all city dwellers.
But…what to wear?
That was definitely the question, and easier for men to answer than for women. While quite a few boys and men on bikes were already members of a club (which dictated a practical and generally tweedy uniform) women were still constricted by society and too many pounds of underwear.
What a wheeling woman could do was keep it simple – dark clothing, nothing too daring (at first) with simple tailoring and a hat – perhaps a feather for that jaunty feeling? Lace-up boots or perhaps English walking shoes were the footwear. Many women still wore their corsets, especially at mid-century. It simply felt too scandalous not to, and doctors were still deciding whether they felt the bicycle craze was overall good or might lead to (horrors!) something they called bicycle face. As the decade of the 90s progressed past its midpoint the corset got mercifully dropped for many, and tweed made its appearance. You can see (Picture #4) Tillie Anderson, the fastest female racing cyclist of her era, dressed in a fine tweed suit, no obvious corset, and a skirt short enough to be practical for the fast frame and no-skirt-guard racing bike she was riding. Nearing the end of the decade (Picture #5), bloomer pants became more common, but not universal.
And menswear was always a good choice – a starched white shirt with a black tie never went out of style. Mutton sleeves also made it through most of the decade.
But tweed indeed was the popular and most enduring textile for a biking ensemble. And though there were fabulously tailored suits (Picture #6), women also made do with what they had in the closet. As long as a hat covered their head, decency had gotten its nod (Picture #7). (That cigarette was not acceptable, however.)
To hear more about Tillie Anderson’s effect on women’s bike racing and her fabulous record, this week’s Bicycle Story: http://www.thebicyclestory.com/
Yes, friends, it is just one week away until Portland’s Tweed Ride for 2016 will occur! Are you excited yet? Mark your calendar for Sunday April 17!
Don your finest tweed, ladies and gents, shine up your beautiful classic bicycles, pack up a picnic, and join us! We will be meeting at historic Chapman and Lownsdale Squares for a tea social. We’ll depart at 3 pm, riding a leisurely route of 10ish miles (with a stop or two in the middle for picnicing) before ending at Old Portland Hardware for the afterparty. There will be prizes and fun!
Hello folks. Just a friendly reminder that the Tweed Swap is tomorrow, Monday April 11 at 7 pm!
We’ll be holding it at Velo Cult, 1969 NE 42nd Avenue.
This will be an opportunity for you to bring tweed appropriate goods to swap, trade, or give away. The Tweed Ride organizers will also have a selection of goods for sale. And of course enjoy some tasty beers while you are there!
And don’t forget, the actual Tweed Ride is on Sunday April 17!