The Chico Tweed Ride

Tally ho, dashing chaps and lasses! As you may or may not know, the turn of the 20th century was a high point in the history of the bicycle. Europeans embraced these newly improved machines as an ideal mode of transportation for both urban and rural areas. For the ladies, it was an excellent way to make a quick getaway into town, a catalyst for independence and mobility.

Rubber tires, pedal-driven drive trains, hand brakes and comfortable spring saddles made bicycles very functional and integral to a modern lifestyle. In America, the automobile eventually took over as the primary mode of transport, and by the 1930s bicycles were mainly built to be children’s toys. It was during the first decades of the 20th century that bicycling enjoyed its first true renaissance. The elegant, sophisticated style of the era accompanied the lifestyle of the bicyclist perfectly; the civilized couture, the knicker trousers, the leather accessories were a perfect fit in both fashion and function. 

Ask yourself, my fine classy friends, when was the last time you took a break on a leisurely bike ride to enjoy a smoke of the pipe, a picnic lunch, or a nip of the old whiskey? If that sounds like an inviting change of pace, then you need to come out and enjoy the Chico Tweed Ride on November 18th!

The spirit of the ride recalls a time in history when dapper fashion and bicycling went hand in hand. The event is free, open to all, and makes a stop at 5-mile recreation area in Bidwell Park, where riders can enjoy a “bring your own” picnic lunch, smoke a pipe, or just socialize and relive a more civilized and genteel time and place. Participants are encouraged to wear “period-accurate” attire, and vintage bicycles are encouraged, but not required. And gentlemen, let’s be sure to leave our Lycra at home, shall we? Kids are also welcome to participate, although they need to be safe riders, must be supervised appropriately and preferably wearing sailor suits while eating large lollipops. 

Craig Almaguer is organizing this first edition of the Tweed Ride for Chico, and hopes to turn it into an annual tradition. The event is not-for-profit, but the organizers would love people to contribute items like tea, coffee and snacks at the park or any other creative ideas they may have. Any period-appropriate musicians are highly encouraged to contact the group about performing. If you want more information, or just want to check out some great vintage styles and bikes, go and “like” the Facebook page. Search for “Chico Tweed Ride” and feel free to message or post any questions you have there.

The ride will begin at the downtown plaza at 11a.m. and will roll leisurely to the 5-mile recreation area for the mid-ride picnic break. The conclusion is an optional finishing route to the Sierra Nevada Brewery, and anyone planning to get their mustache wet with a pint or a bite to eat should plan to bring a lock for their bike. This is guaranteed to be a truly smashing lark! And a great way to start Chico’s Christmas Preview Sunday full of nostalgia, great photo opportunities, and splendid good times. Pip, pip, cheerio!

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