How to Grow Bike Culture, Sac Tweed Style

Yesterday’s Tweed Ride in Sacramento was a perfect example of how to grow bike culture, and it proved that it doesn’t take substantial amounts of money or official government involvement to do so.

The ride organizers, Rick and Erin, first had the idea to host a tweed ride in Sacramento back in October of 2009. With zero experience, but loads of talent and enthusiasm, they pulled together Sacramento’s inaugural tweed ride in a little over a month. It was a stunning success with at least twice the expected turnout. To follow-up, they hosted a smaller “Tweed Lite” ride in January that was attended by a small cadre of hardcores who came out and braved the rain and cold. But the real follow-up to the inaugural ride was yesterday’s big spring ride. Many people have been anxiously awaiting this ride, and once again, the turnout was amazing, with an estimated 150 attendees.

The ride organizers, Rick and Erin, first had the idea to host a tweed ride in Sacramento back in October of 2009. With zero experience, but loads of talent and enthusiasm, they pulled together Sacramento’s inaugural tweed ride in a little over a month.

We find it so impressive that a couple of people with no background in bike advocacy or ride organization have pulled together a trio of well-organized rides in less than a 6-month period, and in the process, have fulfilled an obvious desire within the community for this type of ride, while also bringing together people from the bike industry and the bike advocacy community. It shows that citizen advocacy is alive-and-well, and that sometimes the best strategy is just to get out there and do it yourself. Kudos to Rick and Erin for a job well done!!

And now to yesterday’s ride…

Some riders met early at the Zebra Club for breakfast, while others arrived later for the meet-up at the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen. We arrived at the Bicycle Kitchen at around 10am to find a small gathering of riders, but within 30 minutes it became clear that the turnout was going to be bigger than what we saw in November. We milled around and chatted with friends we haven’t seen since the last ride, sipped free coffee provided by Temple, and admired the beautiful bikes and fantastic outfits. We noticed that folks ramped it up this time, with a higher percentage of riders fully decked-out and dressed to a tee.

Somewhere around 11am the group of approximately 150 riders rolled out onto I Street and headed southwest toward the Capitol. The pace was slow and relaxed, and the group was courteous and cognizant of the few cars on the road. Our group was proof that a large number of riders can navigate through a city together while obeying traffic laws and cooperating with other road users. Most of the motorists we encountered were friendly and curious; I think our outfits helped to diffuse any potential conflicts that could have resulted from the minor inconveniences introduced by the large group.

The first stop was to take a group shot on the Capitol steps. After the brief photo session, we headed south on a lovely stretch of off-street bike trail that parallels the Sacramento River. It was a nice respite to be off of public streets where we could relax and chat away from automobile traffic. The trail runs along the Sac River levee and is paralleled by Interstate 5. A friend pointed out that it was an interesting contrast to see a long stream of bicycles quietly rolling along the river bank, while just 200 yards to our left, there was an unending stream of automobiles noisily rolling along the freeway.

We took a long break at William Land Park for a picnic lunch. Some people packed their own lunch while others ordered Paninis from Hot Italian that were delivered by Bakfiets courtesy of Edible Pedal and My Dutch Bike. It was a nice time to get around to meet people and take photos of some stunningly beautiful bikes (the yellow Wilbury was a personal favorite). We had a kick getting together the three Rivendell Betty Foys. Beth just picked up her apple green Betty last week and the Tweed Ride was her first outing; what a way to go.

As people finished their lunches, most headed across town in small groups to the Shady Lady Saloon for refreshments. A few of us went on ahead to Hot Italian to cool off and relax before the full group arrived. On display at Hot Italian were some beautiful Dutch bikes that Soraya from My Dutch Bike brought all the way from San Francisco for the event. There was considerable interest in the Bakfiets, Workcycle, and Gazelle on display. The Gazelle was particularly stunning. Also on display were the Breezer and Fuji donated by The Bicycle Business for the raffle to benefit the California Bicycle Coalition, and a pair of antique bikes from College Cyclery.

To cap off the day, a number of prizes were given away in a drawing for the attendees. Contributors included Rivendell Bicycle Works, The Bicycle Business, College Cyclery, B. Spoke Tailor, One Speed, The Waterboy, Shady Lady Saloon, Hot Italian, and others (sorry if I missed you). It was a fantastic day that was enjoyed by one-and-all; we can hardly wait for the next ride!

25 Responses to “How to Grow Bike Culture, Sac Tweed Style”

  • Beth L. says:

    Amazing: Bikes, People, Event, Weather, Community, People and Bikes and People!

  • Alan says:

    Hi Beth,

    It was great to meet you yesterday and spend some time chatting about bikes. We’re looking forward to the next get-together!

    Best regards,
    Alan & Michael

    PS – Congrats on your lovely new Betty Foy…

  • Doug R. says:

    Well old friend, we sure did have one great time! It was so nice to get Andy out there and your whole clan too! I am thankful to be part of this great bike community. It was fun to finally meet all the Riv. folks in person and we exchanged pleasantries about each others rides. I was really impressed with the large number of folks that made it and the super outfits too. See you all at the next one! your pal, Dougman!

  • Alan says:

    It was great to see you, Doug! And it was a treat to finally see your Hillborne – what a beautiful build. Looking forward to the next time…

    All the best-
    Alan & Michael

  • Doug R. says:

    Thanks for the props Alan! , next time bring your Sam! May is not too far away! Dougman.

  • RocBike.com | The RocBike Review » Tweed Ride says:

    [...] really great write up, with lots of lovely pictures, of the latest Tweed Ride in Sacramento over on EcoVelo. I’ve said before that I’d like to do something like this in Albany. I need a) a nice [...]

  • Beth L. says:

    Hello Alan & Michael!

    It was great to meet you & Michael, too! (you, too, Doug!). I’m looking forward to the next event. Thanks for including me & all of the Bettys in your pics. What a treat!
    Perhaps we’ll all run into each other around town now.

    Best,
    Beth

  • Karen says:

    It was a really fun ride! And even more fun meeting and re-connecting with friends! My daughter saw some pics on my Facebook and says she wants to attend a tweed ride when she’s back up in NorCal (student in SoCal). I will have to get one of those top tube covers for the Trek Soho before then :)

  • Nico says:

    Wonderful pictures Alan. Your commentary on Rick and Erin and the way they have brought all this together is spot on. As much as I believe in the objective of events such as Critical Mass in advocating more bicycle use, I feel that events such as this Tweed Ride do a better job at it. While riding through the streets I saw nothing but smiles from onlookers. Even car drivers were smiling, probably in envy because they would rather be with our group as it looked more fun then being stuck in their car. Dressing up is nice, but the whole idea of making bicycle usage something that we want to do as opposed to something we should be doing is something that I feel is more powerful and self-sustaining. Thanks for capturing this event and sharing it in a way that people can truly understand and appreciate it.

  • rdhd says:

    Those are some lovely photos. Anyone know what bike that is in #19? The one with the SF StreetsBlog sticker on it.

    rdhd

  • Alan says:

    @Nico

    Thanks for the kind words, Nico. I too believe in the spirit of CM, but I think we’re at a point where obeying traffic laws and cooperating with other road users may be more effective. And yes, the idea of making bicycling appear to be appealing (which it is) is bound to be more effective than “guilting” people into getting out of their cars. Ultimately, it’s an individual choice, and the more we can do to share our positive experiences, the better!

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @rdhd

    Thanks for the kind words. The bike is a Specialized Globe “Live”.

    http://www.globebikes.com/us/en/globe/GlobeBikeLander.jsp

    Alan

  • Andrea Lepore says:

    Great photos from a fun day! Thank you to all for your passione!

  • Alan says:

    @Andrea

    Thanks for opening up your wonderful restaurant (Hot Italian) and taking such good care of us tweedsters!

    Best regards,
    Alan

  • Rick says:

    Alan, you’ve captured the moment in both words and pictures just beautifully: thanks for your support and friendship, and here’s to the next ride!

  • Doug V says:

    It was a great time, good to see some kids out this time!! Remember, ya don’t need tweed to get out with friends and ride!! I love the way Sacramento’s Bike Culture has been growing over the past 3 years, and it’s good for us to all come together and say hi!

  • Andy E says:

    It was good to run into you doug! Next time i’ll have to meet alan& co.

    Oh, and the next ride is going to be a seersucker theme… get your outfits ready.. :)

  • Doug R. says:

    Hey you guys and gals! It is Fantastic to have such great friends as the tweeders! Without Rick&Erin, Alan&Micheal, and all the rest of the organizers and supporters this great event would never have happened or continue to grow! Andy E, Beth, and Karen you are the best! I can’t wait for the next one! : ) Alan, you asked how my Boneshaker experiences were going and well, today, I drove to rideable Replicas in Alameda and got my 38″ Boneshaker all tuned up by Greg and I immediately brought it home and made the leap of faith! I am a Bone Daddy now!

    To surmize riding a shaker : ” AAAAAHHHHH”! scary, great, fun! Ed, my total awe in your riding technique and fortitude on the beast! I will be riding my 48″ shaker on the next ride! WE probably need a theme T-shirt? Perhaps The ” Dyno-Bones” or something like that? I digress, so see you all next time! Dougman.

  • soraya nasirian says:

    Great to finally meet you Alan and Michael & Rick and Erin & Andrea. Wonderful pictures and what a great turn out!!! Thank you for inviting me to the beautiful capital of California. As my husband always had said about cycling ” Sacramento is Holland without the windmills.”

  • Alan says:

    Soraya,

    It was a pleasure to meet you! Thanks so much for bringing over your beautiful Dutch bikes all the way from San Francisco. I have to admit I’m in serious bike lust for the bakfiets that was on display.

    Michael and I hope to come your way soon to see the shop and test ride a few bikes. We’ll be in touch….

    All the best-
    Alan

  • Dottie says:

    The picture with the three Betty Foys in different colors is tripping me out! Very spiffy!

    150 is an amazing turn out. Chicago needs to pick up the pace.

  • Rick says:

    Dottie, I’m very happy that you enjoyed the pictures–my wife can’t wait until her Betty is built up–and in another color combo yet!

    The 150 wasn’t a big surprise–Sacramento is an amazing bike town, but it’s been under the radar for a long time, being so close to Davis, and all–but the surprise was that a majority of the folks that attended were new, and not just folks from the first ride…so the next ride might be closer to 200!

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Gallery: Beth’s Rivendell Betty Foy says:

    [...] had the pleasure of meeting Beth at the recent Tweed Ride in Sacramento. It was her first outing on her new bike and it was a real treat to get it together with the other [...]

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Creative Solutions says:

    [...] to using her bike for all of her local transportation needs, has at least embraced bike culture and loves to participate in tweed rides and other events. And while they were initially petrified at the thought of it, now they seem [...]

  • kristin says:

    Oh how those 3 Bettys in a row make we weak with bike lust! They all look beautiful. Wantwantwant.

 
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