If you’re planning on being in Mission, Kensington, the Beltline or downtown on Monday, don’t be surprised if you see more than 100 people donning tweed and pedaling down the streets.
This Victoria Day marks the 3rd Annual Tweed Ride YYC, a social bike ride with a charitable goal.
What is the Tweed Ride?
Unfortunately, Calgary can’t take credit for the idea.
The very first Tweed Ride took place in London, England in 2009. It’s believed that the inspiration for the city’s first Tweed Ride was the Tweed Cycling Club, a club that has since disbanded. Several vintage attire-themed rides had been planned in the decade earlier as well. Even though it began as a British event, Tweed Rides now take place all over the world.
How did it start in Calgary?
Photo credit: Nicole Carberry. Image courtesy of Tweed Ride YYC.
Cycling enthusiasts had aimed to organize a Tweed Ride in Calgary for some time, but before 2012, all the attempts to get the event up and running failed. Finally, the concept gathered interest.
“Three years ago somebody was planning [a ride] for Victoria Day and it created some excitement,” explains Joshua Crough, the event’s organizer. “I went out and bought some tweed and offered to help plan a route. Then, about three weeks prior to event, the original organizer went silent, and rather than letting it die, I just put it on with short notice.”
The event has grown from 30 people showing up (and having a blast) in 2012 to an expected turn out of roughly 150 this year.
Where does the ride go?
While the exact route hasn’t been drawn out yet, this year, the ride will be roughly 10 kilometres, beginning at the Sunalta Community Centre, meandering through the Beltline, Mission and downtown, and finishing in Kensington at the Oak Tree Tavern.
And, true to its English heritage, most participants arrive before the ride is scheduled to begin to enjoy tea and snacks, and to chat.
Why Wear Tweed?
Photo credit: Scott Meyers. Image courtesy of Tweed Ride YYC.
Why wear tweed to ride a bike?
Well, why not? Crough explains that the participants in first ride back in 2009 wore traditional British cycling attire, but it also continues to appeal to the event’s participants. “I see it as a way to remember, in some ways, simpler times when life moved a bit slower and people weren’t in as big of a rush,” says Crough.
The Tweed Ride YYC isn’t just a fun afternoon of leisurely riding, tweed and tea. All the money raised supports Bicycles for Humanity, a charitable organization that sends used bikes to developing countries all over the world and supports grassroots projects that improve access to education, water, education, food and employment through sustainable transportation.
Last year was the first time the event was planned as a charitable fundraiser. For the 2013 Tweed Ride YYC, 130 people participated in the event and $1,950 was raised for Bicycles for Humanity.
The 3rd Annual Tweed Ride starts at the Sunalta Community Centre on Monday, May 19. Registration and tea begin at 2 p.m. and the ride begins at 3 p.m. $10 donation is recommended, which will gain participants entry to the post-ride gathering at the Oak Tree Tavern.
(Sunalta Community Centre, 1627 10 Ave. S.W., tweedrideyyc.com, @tweedrideyyc)