Stories and helpful tips about bikes and biking - including bicycle tours, bicycle camping, bicycle repairs among others.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Having checked the forecast in the morning and discovered that the weather was predicted to be clear, I was surprised to find myself riding in the rain on my way over to the "Quad" at the university to join in the Tweed ride.
Following the vague directions that I had been given earlier I arrived at the Quad to discover that I was the only cyclist in attendance. I rode the perimeter of the quadrangle and still seeing no other bikes, decided to lean my bike against a handy Teepee and seek shelter from the rain under its canvas skin. While admiring all the mold growing on the canvas walls, I began to doubt that I had the correct day. This wouldn't be the first time when juggling a lot of balls that I have shown up to an event bright-eyed and bushy-tailed only to be embarrassed to discover I was at the event a week early or a few days late.
In spite of being under cover, a shower of rain still fell in an ever widening circle inside the teepee and I was glad when Brett, one of the bike co-op's board members arrived and showed me how to close the rain flaps at the top of the tent. We only had to stand around making small talk and smelling of wet wool for a short time before the sun came out and made a beautiful rainbow. It was then that all the other participants made their fashionable entrance.
I thought I had figured out my tweed outfit quite well until most the men pulled out pipes and some of the ladies pulled cigars from their many layers of clothing. I was further chagrined when a large number of flasks were brought out from their hiding places beneath skirts and from within vest pockets. I soon discovered that a tweed ride is mostly a social event and I had to ask the mutton - chopped rider next to me if we were actually going to ride anywhere. He assured me that a route was just being planned and that we would be on our way shortly as he took a long pull on his Cohiba.
Not far into the ride we could see crowd of Lycra-Spandex riders approaching our wool clad conga line. A clash of cultures if you will. Both groups stopped to talk and it was amusing to hear the fellow next to me and his imaginary conversation (with an upper crust English accent) "I say, people of the future - what is that strange material you are wearing? Your bicycles appear to be made from a substance we have never seen. And those hard caps you have donned on your heads - what on earth are they for?"
With the sun shining on the golden aspen leaves and the temperature rising, we had an easy ride downhill to the new bridge where there was quite a debate about the symbolic design of the structure. Most of us were happy just to peer into the clear waters of the river and some speculated that the large sandbar south of the bridge would make an excellent beach for sunbathing.