OK, it’s Saturday morning, the sun is shining. How about a bike ride?
By DONALD BRADLEY
The Kansas City Star
Put on your wool slacks, tweed jacket and bow tie. More plaid the better. Don’t forget the top hat or derby. Turn up that handlebar mustache — ma’am, you’re fine. Now we just need a guy playing an accordion to — ah, there it is.
What? Not your cup of chain degreaser? Well, say what you will about Kansas City’s annual Tweed Ride — bicyclists in turn-of-the-20th-century clothing riding mostly vintage bikes for five miles along Cliff Drive and Gladstone Boulevard — they are a lucky bunch.
Friday morning, warm and a little muggy. Saturday morning, low 50s.
The wool felt good to Mark Rainey. He had on enough to warm anyone close, including a Harris Tweed jacket made of 100 percent pure Scottish wool.
He founded the event three years ago to draw attention to the golden age of cycling.
“Bicycles had just been invented, and the Sunday afternoon ride became part of American culture,” he said.
He thinks Tweed Rides began in London a few years ago. Now they are held in many cities. Saturday’s in Kansas City, to benefit BikeWalkKC, drew about 75 riders of all ages and not a lick of spandex.
This was all wool, tweed, argyle and derby hats.
Bryan Stalder, who rode with his wife and four kids, upped the ante with a bicycle built for two and a wooden bow tie.
“Oak, I think — guess they are pretty unusual,” he said in his purple wool blazer and tweed vest.
Tika Wrisner, at her first Tweed Ride, looked at the crowd as the accordion played and said, “It’s like a dream.”
Most riders, especially the first-timers, probably found their outfits at thrift stores, said Rachel Krause, communications coordinator for BikeWalkKC.
“Or I know some of this stuff came from parents and grandparents,” she said.
Rainey didn’t go to a thrift store. He had on Italian military officer riding pants and a tuxedo shirt, and the buttons on his boots were 1850s-era British half-pennies.
“Shot of whiskey?” he offered before mounting his bike.
He sipped the Crown Royal, then put the silver flask back in the flask holder. Yeah, his bike has a flask holder. Rainey dinged his bell a couple of times and pedaled off with the others.
Down the street and back in time.