TRAVERSE CITY — Mike Coco wears tweed only one day of the year — and not at an academic conference.
Coco and his family are among scores of area cyclists who don their British best for Tweed Ride TC, a “genteel and stately bicycle tour” around Traverse City.
The annual social ride is patterned after the original London Tweed Run, a “leisurely day in the company of ladies and gentlemen exceptionally dressed.”
But tweed is only the start. Participants show up in everything from corduroy knickers and plaid vests to argyle socks and wingtips — topped off by bowlers and berets. Most pedal classic bicycles with upright handles, some with elegant wicker baskets and British leather seats.
“You can do it without wearing tweed, but when the idea came around it was a good one,” said event organizer Jordan Owen, who hands out “Tweed Rosettes of Merit” in several categories. “It’s sort of a unifying theme. It evokes the spirit of the past none of us are connected to, but sometimes it’s nice to dress up and ride your bicycle.”
He said the event is “not technically” a retro ride, but some, like Sarah Cryderman, sport vintage bikes. The computer geek and steampunk enthusiast decided to ride her baby blue Skyrider in her first Tweed Ride this year.
“Any excuse to dress up,” said Cryderman, of Traverse City, who wore a short plaid jacket, tweed vest, riding skirt and boots, and a bowler hat.
The ride took place on a chilly April 26 under mostly cloudy skies — better weather for tweed-wearing than a previous year’s wilting heat, Owen said. It took participants from the Open Space along the TART Trail through several Traverse City neighborhoods and parks, and along downtown Front Street, with stops at a winery and a brew pub for rest and refreshment. It wound up at InsideOut Gallery for a post-ride “social.”