Oil spillage, the ubiquitous spectre of global economic chaos, a collapsed Chilean mine shaft and that sheaf of mildly embarrassing diplomatic documents have all vied with each other this year for column inch supremacy throughout the world’s news media.
But as the curtain falls on another twelvemonth, we can say with a measure of confidence that 2010 will be best remembered in terms of big news stories by generations to come as the year in which the hateful epithet “Bike Dandy” was finally reclaimed by its adherents for the badge of honour it undoubtedly is.
2010 was also the year in which its closest equivalent female term, “Bike Quaintrelle” once again began to find currency. After all, it’s unfair to let boys have all the fun.
So what are Dandy-ism and Quaintrelliousness all about?
Riding at a leisurely pace so as not to break sweat, for sure. Wearing clothes that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Brideshead Revisited. Preferring the hipflask over the bidon, and the cucumber sandwich over the energy bar. In short, making a public display of affection for the bygone days of pipe-wielding, cap-doffing, door-opening gentlemanliness, and powder-fragrant, bodice-packing, fan-fluttering womanhood.
And while it’s nice to stand out from the crowd, tricked out in corduroy knickerbockers, tweed spats, linen shirt, leather gloves, silk cravat, woollen waistcoat and Goretex windbreaker (only joking) as you serenely tool your High Nelly about town, devotees of this philosophy nowadays find it increasingly the case that there’s safety in numbers.
Hence the proliferation of themed group ride events the world over, and any number of online social networks professing admiration for how people lived and dressed around and about the 1920′s.
If you live anywhere in North America, for example, at some point this year you’d probably have been able to make it to a “Tweed Ride”, or similar, under your own steam in under three quarters of an hour. Winnipeg, Nashville, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Kansas, and Philadelphia are just a few of the cities that found themselves good-naturedly gridlocked by hordes of extremely well-dressed throwbacks in 2010.
In fact, if you google “Tweed Ride” together with any city’s name, it seems the chances are that somebody is organizing one there. Or has already finished doing so.
Frequently, prizes are awarded at the finish to the riders who, by their combination of bicycle and riding apparel, best exemplify the spirit in which the event is intended.
No prizes, however, for guessing the make of saddle bolted to just about every seat post.
Looking forward to next year, 2011 will see the original Olde-World-Clothing-And-Bicycle-Themed-Day-Out, London’s “Tweed Run” spread its wings to Tokyo and New York. Of course, in cycling circles it seems the done thing on the part of those who were “in on the ground floor” of any niche activity (see- Fixed Wheel Riding) to virulently deplore any mainstream surge in its popularity.
But in this special (cigarette?) case, my prediction is that the small band of gentlemen known worldwide by turns as “Tweed-Core” or “Dandy 2.0″ will in all likelihood keep their beautifully manicured hands in their immaculately tailored pockets. One hopes so, at least.