Toronto’s first Tweed Run looking good
They were called “scorchers,” and they were the terror of the countryside and the cynosure of all eyes. When the bicycle first appeared on the scene in the late 19th century, cycling aficionados — women as well as men — were seen as daring, stylish, sexy adventurers whose athletic joie de vivre has no contemporary equal. It was, among other things, the defining movement that freed women from corsets and long skirts. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the bicycle, the subsequent history of women’s fashion as we know it — from flappers to miniskirts to meat dresses — might never have happened.
Tweed was their lycra. It was the same sturdy material, woven in the Hebrides and cut in Savile Row, that served as the fabric of choice for the great adventurers of the time — not merely the moor hikers and grouse shooters, but also the Everest climbers and African explorers of the day.
It was, therefore, perhaps in the spirit of recalling past glories that British cyclist Ted Young-Ing organized the world’s first “Tweed Run,” in London, England, in January 2009.
The event its organizers call “a metropolitan bicycle ride with a bit of style” has since grown into a worldwide movement of fashion-conscious ladies and gents mounting their wheels for a leisurely spin to show off their sartorial savvy and raise money for a charity. Tweed Runs or Rides have been attended by hundreds of vintage-clad cyclists in such cities as Boston (naturally), San Francisco, Sydney, Paris, Philadelphia, Florence, Chicago, Sydney and Tokyo. (Photo: Courtesy Bikes Without Borders)