Yay, The Seersucker Ride Is Here!

“What?” you ask.

“How could you have not heard me?” I answer, “It’s written right there in the title—THE SEERSUCKER RIDE IS HERE!”

At this point you’re already exasperated and a little tired of my shenanigans, but because curiosity burns in you like an eternal flame, you’ve mustered the patience to read on. I know what you really mean: you don’t know what seersucker is, you don’t know what the Seersucker Ride is, and you don’t know where this “here” is that I’m referring to (it’s certainly not the cafe you’re sitting in).

Do you remember November? Ignore the fact that that rhymed, do you specifically remember the Sunday before Thanksgiving? You may have seen hundreds of grinning cyclists who looked like they’d blown in from the early 20th century, decked out in all manner of tweed on vintage bicycles, riding in a pack that trailed a quarter mile from tip to tail through the streets of downtown and through the loop of lower park. That was the Tweed Ride. Perhaps you’re a dedicated reader of this fine publication and you recall our cover feature on said ride, wherein you gained insight about the history of such things, and the appeal of riding in tweed.

Or, perhaps you missed all that. Fear not, it isn’t complicated and I’ll explain it for you here very briefly: People like vintage bicycles. People like old-timey clothes. People like getting together to celebrate the simple pleasures in life while wearing old-timey clothes and riding vintage bikes, and people created events called Tweed Rides (ours, which is in its second year, was organized by Craig Almaguer, George Knox, and Dax Downey, and is made wonderful by many talented and creative members of our community—including the beautiful posters by Jake Early). In the autumn, tweed is the cozy woolen fabric of choice. This is the springtime version, so people wear breezy seersucker.

But what is seersucker? What should you wear to this thing, and where can you get it?

This is also very simple. Seersucker is a light, puckered cotton fabric (often checkered or striped) traditionally used to make summer suits. Think Great Gatsby garden party, but with pants cuffed below the knee to show off delightful socks and wingtips. If you’re a gent, you can go full-donkey and get yourself something like this at an upscale clothing shop like Formal Education, complete with the perfect accessories in all the right shades. Or you can just hit the thrift stores for an ill-fitting ensemble of light colored whatnots, throw on a pair of suspenders, some argyle socks and a jaunty cap of one kind or another, and call it done. (You do have a jaunty cap, don’t you? Try Tom Foolery; they have all sorts of hats and flasks and whatnot)

If you’re a lady, it’s even simpler. You’ll want a soft knee to calf-length dress, or a bike-compatible skirt and blouse (try a shop that specializes in vintage, like Bootleg or Funky Trunk). Add an old-fashioned hat, maybe some pearls, a pair of gloves, your best cycling-heels and some bright red lipstick—boom, you’re ready to ride.

Honestly, you can wear whatever you want: pick an era, pick a gender, pick a point of view, or go as you are. Your bike can be totally modern, your clothes can be a mish-mash of whatever’s in your closet, the real point is to get a little old school-fancy and have a good time.

Where and when is this wonderful thing going down?

It happens on Sunday, May 4th, and begins at the Downtown Plaza at 10am sharp (rain or shine). If you’re a child 12 and under—stop reading this paper right now! There are adult themes and foul language!—I should say, if you’re associated with a child 12 and under who you would like to bring to the ride, Chico VELO is sponsoring a coinciding bike decorating and Little Nipper Ride, starting at 9:30am.

If you miss the beginning—I don’t know, maybe you just couldn’t get your jaunty cap to look jaunty enough—the ride will wend its way through Bidwell Park, culminating in a leisurely respite at Five Mile, and for many will continue on to Sierra Nevada Brewery for a little post-ride refreshment. There will be picnicking, and pipe tobacco, and record players on bikes. For full details, more photos, and a route map, visit the Chico Tweed Ride facebook page.

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Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.