Looking Ahead to the Third Tweed Ride

It’s a good thing that people are already asking about the next tweed ride. Many people have told me that it’s a symbol of Spring that they are looking forward to. That makes me feel good about all the work involved.

I need to set a date & find locations for beginnings & endings. Hopefully Olde English will put up with our rowdy gang of ladies & gentlemen again. I need to beg Dave to make another brilliant poster for us. I expect to start doing all of this soon, but here’s the thing: I need your help.

This is really important. I want to use words like vital & critical. This ride cannot happen without some help.

Last year we had more than 40 riders. That’s a line of cyclists that stretches multiple city blocks, sometimes a quarter of a mile long, perhaps longer. It’s difficult to get all of those people through intersections safely. It’s impossible to communicate with the group. Without marshals keeping the group together & safe & happy, the ride won’t happen. Last year I was lucky enough to have three people agree to be marshals the morning of the ride. They were godsends. The ride would have been a nightmare without them. I need at least three marshals this year; five would be good; seven would be great.

Marshals need to be confident cycling in traffic. You should know how to cork an intersection. I’d like to plan & test ride the route with this group so that we’re all familiar with it. Please contact me if you’re interested.

That’s the hard part, the most important part. Here are some other things that would make the ride a better experience.

If you own or manage a local bike shop, or if you are a member of a bicycling or pedestrian advocacy group, please join us & spread the word.

If you have a band with an appropriate sound, it would be delightful to end at a location with your music. Please get in touch. (Or if you’re talented enough to play an instrument while we ride, that’s cool, too.)

It would be wonderful if someone followed us with a camera & made a little film, like Julia Evanczuk did for our first ride.

I’d like to have little 1-inch buttons made for our riders. A little financial help would be much appreciated.

&, of course, it’s never too late to start using #albanytweed. I will do my best to keep up with you.

Simplicity & Joy

From The Bicycle Book, by Bella Bathurst.

The feeling you have when you first get the hand of riding a bicycle never really goes. It doesn’t terribly matter how you learned – with your parents shouting encouragements out on the street, or by crashing your elder brother’s bike into the shrubbery, or privately, secretly, somewhere where no one could see you fall. However you learn, it always feels as if you’ve mastered the universe. You’re there, perfectly in control of your own motion, sliding through the landscape faster than you’ve ever gone before. Astride this perfectly balanced assembly of lines and curves, the world seems suddenly a place of infinite potential. There’s something about the rightness of bikes that your body always recognises whatever age you are. It recognises something that your mind may not: that bikes are really just about two things – simplicity and joy.

When I read that I thought yes, yes, yes! & then I turned the page, read this next bit, & burst out laughing.

And so, in one of those splendid perversions of which human nature is so often capable, someone went and invented racing.

Go through the traffic spreading love.

I’m currently reading The Bicycle Book, by Bella Bathurst, & just couldn’t wait to post this, from Patrick Field.

Go through the traffic spreading love. In a way that’s much crueller to the idiots as well – if they come up to you going, “beep beep blah blah”, and you start swearing at them, very quickly it’s all getting a bit out of control and unstable. But also you’re giving them exactly what they wanted – to export a bit of their disappointment about the way their life turned out. Whereas if you go, “Are you having a bad day?” (in a caring voice) and you just pitch it at exactly the right point where they can’t tell whether you’re being sympathetic or taking the piss so they don’t know how to respond, you actually give them a chance to grow. Which is a bonus.