Victoria Tweed Ride, 2012

by Raymond Parker on May 14, 2012

in Cycling, Events, History, Photography

“The bicycle will accomplish more for women’s sensible dress than all the reform movements that have ever been waged.” ~ Author Unknown, Demerarest’s Family Magazine, 1895

All the Tweed Riders (Click to enlarge)

Based on the London Tweed Run, established in 2009, tweed rides—featuring vintage velos and period costumes—have caught on around the world.

The Victoria Tweed Ride joined the fun in 2011, attracting an enthusiastic crowd. Last Saturday, May 12, more than 300 people (infants to elders) turned out for the 16.4 km leisurely bicycle ride, passing through Chinatown, stopping along the way for a spot of tea, a visit to stately Craigdarroch Castle, and, ultimately, a civilized pint of ale at the Bard & Banker public house.

In spiffing attire, ladies and gentlemen gathered at 10:45am precisely on the lawns of Victoria’s swank Empress Hotel.

Cyclists Gather at Start of Victoria Tweed Ride (Click to enlarge)

Bicycles ranged from penny farthings, lovingly-preserved classics and restored vintage machines, through modern replicas, to contemporary cycles. The only prerequisite to joining the ride is a request to wear at least one piece of appropriate garb. But veterans take seriously both their sartorial selection and their bicycle brands. Popular marques included Pashley, Electra and Raleigh. In the woven world, Harris and Donegal had the fashion parade sewn up.

Speaking of parades, as riders prepared to depart, a pipe band marched by on Government Street, decked out in colourful tartan. Master of ceremonies Simon Sobolewski lifted his brass megaphone and invited the dashing crowd to mount their machines.

Escorted by Victoria Police this year (and a mandatory helmet rule), the gleeful pageant departed under sunny skies.

What a topping affair!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add your spin! }

Lynn Hirshman May 14, 2012 at 7:24 am

And no photo of you? You didn’t even once get on the other side of a camera? I would love to see you in Victorian dress….

Looks like great fun, however.

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Raymond Parker May 14, 2012 at 9:51 am

Next year for sure. Trouble is, working on these kinds of photos demands a great deal of attention. Next time I’ll hire an assistant 🙂

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Conor Ahern May 14, 2012 at 10:48 am

Looks like the “Handlebar” moustache crowd were out in force. Hopefully a good day was had by all. I must dig some of the old family photos from the 1930’s and 40’s with the bikes and the plus fours.

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Raymond Parker May 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

It was indeed a fun day. Whiskers did abound amongst the gentlemen and, as you can see, the ladies paraded their finery!

Digital photography is great. I have little desire to go back to the darkroom. But revisiting vintage prints, like vintage bicycles, can teach us a lot about process. Easy makes us lazy, so it is good to study (or recall) what made hands-on techniques so compelling.

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Felicity May 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Lovely photos, Ray!

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Raymond Parker May 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Thanks, Felicity. Lots of work but worth the effort. I’m happy with the new lightbox effect, as well. Better navigation and cleaner look, I think, especially with single pic use.

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Angela May 14, 2012 at 11:21 pm

This is awesome! Where are you situated in the photo?

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Raymond Parker May 15, 2012 at 7:08 am

Thanks, Angela. I’m the guy behind the camera. 🙂

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Tom Hocking May 18, 2012 at 10:01 am

What a splendid idea the Tweed Ride is! And what better place than Victoria? I could have put in an appearance on my old Raleigh had the good wife not turned the basket into a planter 😮 |

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Raymond Parker May 18, 2012 at 10:26 am

I was looking at some baskets yesterday, for a restoration I’m working on (cursing a finicky headset at the mo). Very nice–hand woven by milkmaids in the Ozarks, or sumthin’–but pricey at $50.

There were some lovely baskets at the Tweed Ride … not sure about milkmaids.

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