DC Sports Day

Tweed Ride Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

Tweed Riders

The social group Dandies & Quaintrelles will host its tenth annual Tweed Ride in Washington, D.C. on November 4, 2018.  The Tweed Ride is a retro-themed 10-mile leisurely bicycle ride, in which riders don period clothing and ride vintage or vintage-styled bicycles through the city.  The ride is free to those who register at the web site dctweedride.com, and the ride route is provided via email to registrants shortly before the event.  Following the ride there will be an after-party and dance held at Roofers Union, 2446 18th St NW, Washington, D.C.  The party will feature the Foggy Bottom Whomp-Stompers band, a prohibition-era jazz combo playing hits from the 1920s and ’30s.  Also performing will be the Fidgety Feet Dancers, D.C.’s Lindy hop dance troupe, who will provide lessons in vintage swing and jazz dance from the Art Deco era. Tickets ($20) are required for the after-party.

The tradition of donning vintage clothes and setting out as a group for a jaunty, whimsical and ever-so-stylish bike ride dates to January 2009, when the first “Tweed Run” was held in London.  The event struck a vintage nerve internationally, and soon major metropolitan areas around the globe were holding similar rides, where tweed replaced spandex, and heeled oxfords and brogues replaced purpose-built cycling shoes.  The 2009 Tweed Ride in Washington, D.C. was one of the first rides of its kind in the United States.

Tweed Riders 2While some tweed rides have sputtered out over the years, the D.C. ride remains strong, and one of the most fun events of the fall, according to many of the riders.  This year, many veteran tweed riders banded together to form an organizing committee to help relieve founder Eric Channing Brewer from the logistics that such a ride in the city requires.  This team spirit bodes well for the continuation of the Tweed Ride, and its sister ride in the summer, The Seersucker Social.

It has been theorized by many retro-cyclists that the popularity of the Tweed Ride endures because many aspects of the ride are antithetical to the stereotypical Washington, D.C. ethos.  That the riding group comprises all walks of life from the greater Washington, D.C. area is one facet which many riders enjoy.  But importantly, the typical discussions of the day generally do not include politics or one’s project deadline.  At the Tweed Ride, a cyclist is more apt to be asked where they found a marvelous pair of tweed breeks or a beautiful jewel-encrusted brooch, than what they do for a living, and this fact the participants find wonderfully appealing.