Bowlers, bow ties and bikes: Tweed Toronto Ride


Photos and story by dandyhorse senior editor Dana Lacey

As I rode through the rain yesterday afternoon toward Old City Hall to join Tweed Ride Toronto, I was anxiously aware that I wasn’t sporting a thread of brown-checkered anything. Would I be shunned for disobeying the basic tenant of the ride? No need to worry: in the gentle spirit of the 18th-century dandy, I was happily engulfed into the well-heeled crowd with nary a second glance. I rode along while Tweedettes rang their bells and generally had a dandy time.

Inspired by the original Tweed Ride (circa London, 2009), the event included a meander from Trinity Bellwoods, past city hall and through the financial district before stopping in Grange Park for high tea. Riders sported cotton arm bands stamped with the Tweed Ride logo, prompting passerby to wonder if this well-fashioned peloton was part of the Occupy Toronto protest, launched early yesterday morning (it wasn’t).

A very un-motley crew turned out decked in bowlers, bow ties, vests, knee-highs and, of course, a colourfully subdued assortment of tailored Tweed. There was at least one chap atop a penny farthing. One tea-slurping participant admitted “I already owned this whole outfit. I never get an excuse to wear the top hat!”

It cost a few bucks to register, and some cyclists also raised money for the ride. The proceeds went to Bikes Without Borders, a Toronto non-profit that employs bikes as weapons for social change in marginalized communities. The ride was co-organized by the charity and BikingToronto.com, the tea service donated by Urbane Cyclist. Tweedys were asked to bring their own teacups: that’s a lot of gilded, flower-patterned porcelain. As far as this reporter could determine, only one cup met an unfortunate, smashy ending.

Waiting fashionably at a red
Kelly Henderson and Nathan Mills
I was impressed by Kelly Henderson’s long-skirt riding skills, and can only hope that Nathan Mills continues to rescue the watch fob from obscurity.

Only certain folk can pull off googles as a fashion accessory: these two, and Snoopy.

Brian Neary (left) and Corey Sullivan wait in line for tea service with their cups — Sullivan went full floral, while Neary choose a subdued yet striking all-white piece. And after Labour Day!

Not only does Rupert Lloyd Thomas have the best name for wearing Tweed, he’s actually a Brit. As such, his tea cup has a tea pot on it, which I think is England’s official flag.

What a fine-looking crew, looked over by a spray-paint character by dandy contributor Elicser.

Alana Cattapan and Quinn Dupont brought grandma-porn tea cups and outfits they already owned. Quinn will jump on any opportunity to wear his top hat, and here he pairs it with a very practical camera accessory.

Pure style.

Families that tweed together stay together.

Who needs rain gear?

Proper head gear is important on a Tweed Ride.

Ian Brackley is one dapper dandy.

BikingToronto.com’s Joseph Travers.

Dandies take over Old City Hall.

Photos and story by dandyhorse senior editor and freelancer Dana Lacey

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