Hello, my name is Eric Channing Brewer and I organized the DC Tweed Ride last fall, which brought nearly 500 cyclists together for a leisurely ride through DC while sporting some rather dashing retro-inspired fashions. Vintage was the theme, and our cause was fundraising for the local non-profit Arts for the Aging (AFTA). Pure joy was the effect. The grand success of the event included only one minor disappointment. I was so busy with sending off all of the riders that I did not actually get to ride the course that I helped create. This year, while planning the Seersucker Social, which occurred on June 12, I knew things would be different. I ensured myself the opportunity to ride with the bunch of Edwardian-styled cyclists I had gathered together to experience the full effect of a vintage-themed group ride during the summer.
The Seersucker Social Bike Ride included 300 cyclists clad in the retro lightweight summer fabric, which helped us present a decidedly different appearance than our Lycra. We set off from Meridian Hill Park on a five-mile spin that wound its way through Adams Morgan, Woodley Park and Rock Creek Park to our destination. Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens in Cleveland Park provided the perfect setting for a post-ride lawn party. Participants rode there on everything from mint condition vintage 3 speeds made in the 1950s to tandems salvaged from thrift stores and sleek new single speeds. I pedaled my way along the course on a 2010 Trek Belleville lent to me by the kind staff at Revolution Cycles bike shop in Clarendon, VA. I own several vintage bikes but wanted to experience the ride on a bike that would provide the same nostalgic feeling but with more advanced technology. Simply put, I wanted my ride to be smooth, stylish and hassle free!
The Belleville did not disappoint! It received plenty of compliments as it stood parked among the vintage bikes. The wicker basket I attached to its color-matched rear rack helped to make it the envy of many a dandy that day. I did not have the chance to ride the Belleville before the event but I felt right at home once on it. As a past road racer accustomed to featherweight performance bikes, I appreciated its well-conceived geometry and steady handling. The vintage enthusiast in me appreciated the classic retro paint scheme and color matched details. With its white tires and classically designed front and rear rack, it definitely turned heads. As the organizer of the ride with a reputation of high style at stake, I was proud to be riding the Belleville!
Visit the Dandies and Quaintrelles blog and check out the Seersucker Ride Flickr Photo Pool to find out more about how and why we do these vintage themed rides! Our next ride is planned for November 2010 and if you enjoy a break from the weekend routine inspired by the classic aesthetics of days’ past, come join us! The Belleville is one of a number of new retro styled bikes that will help you break into the scene with style and confidence! If you see me riding it this fall in the second annual tweed ride, you’ll know that I just couldn’t bare to return her to the team at Revolution!
Note: Main post image taken by Sara Corinne.