City Desk

Tweed-Wearing Dandy Cyclists to Attack D.C. Nov. 15

Tweeds-1Don your plus-fours and button up your waistcoat! Dandies and Quaintrelles, a mysterious group of District fops, is planning the first-ever D.C. Tweed Ride, during which people who dress like this (though that cycling machine would never pass muster) will circumnavigate notre petite ville, tittering at bon mots and, one hopes, moving quickly enough to avoid ass-whompings.

I reached out to "Sir E. Channing," one of the ride's organizers, with some concerns. The following entrevue took place via electronic letter.

Washington City Paper: I'm not too familiar with our local dandies, other than the guy who rides up and down Kalorama on an English three-speed with a porkpie hat. Is he one of you?
Sir E. Channing: The three speed pedaler in the porkpie sounds charming and fits the description of one invited. Without further details, one can't be certain. Please do inform the gentleman of our planned event.

How many people are you hoping will ride?Tweeds-3
As this is the first tweed ride known to occur in D.C. since the infestation of the automobile, we cannot be certain of how many riders will attend. Mere mention of it over a month ago have sent dozens of dapper dandies and quaintrelles quietly in search of suitable tweed and steel. This ride will serve to announce our arrival in a city in dire need of dandified representation. The word will be sure to travel in the right circles. The spring ride should bring dandies in great numbers from both near and far.

Have you been on one of these tweed rides before [e.g., 1, 2] ? Do you enjoy the feeling of wind whipping through your twined handlebar ends?
None of our members have been on tweed rides in any other cities. We are pleased that this city will present us with our first brisk and exhilarating experience pedaling steel in style. I have been an avid cyclist for over 15 years and have been passionate about matters of style for the entirety of my existence. I've learned of these rides in other cities through the internet only a few months ago and have since set about forming an event for D.C.

I understand the prohibition against fleece, but what about bike helmets? What about equestrian helmets—would those be better?
The organizers of this ride would like to encourage the wearing of helmets. We suspect that many will want to avoid the destruction of fastidiously arranged hairstyles. Others will want to display fine headgear that offers plenty of style and very little protection. We do anticipate a leisurely pace and a group large enough to be recognized by others on the road. We have no intentions of preventing the participation of the helmetless.

Tweeds-2Are you concerned about congregating so many dandies in one location? What if a meteor hits? Will the bottom fall out of the horsehair market?
The planned or haphazard congregation of any population of dandies numbering more than just a few should arouse the concerns of all upstanding citizenry. And while the odds of a concurrent supernatural event may be quite slim, we may market ourselves to any who lend us the slightest bit of attention regardless of the possibility of cataclysm.

Please direct any further questions to my attention,

Delightfully yours,

Sir E. Channing

Photographs by Darrow Montgomery

NOTE: An earlier version of this post misstated the date for the ride. Gentlemen do make mistakes!

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  • Just Jule

    I recognize that dandy bike.

  • downtown rez

    I'm feeling a victim of identity theft,


  • Chris Peterson

    At last a reason to take those crazy Mussolini pants out for a wearing. I swear it's hard to find an occasion.

  • just sayin

    I think I can get my old Dunelt ready in time, but that lovely, three-piece tweed suit, oh, dear, I don't think a crash diet will work fast enough.

  • Pablo

    It is the 15th, not the 8th, correct?

    Also, I wonder if there is a set route and how we can see the plan- I'd love to meet up with the ride as it crosses into NW, but where?

    Very excited. Polishing oxfords as I type.

  • AndrewO

    I'm sorry, but there's a huge difference between fops and dandies. Dandyism originated in the United Kingdom as a response to the excessive ornamentalism of foppery. These British were inspired by sartorial masculinity and sober refinement of the very general who had so recently given them such a thrashing: our own George Washington. For it was his lack of gold-braided macaroni and striking silhouette leading lines of un-whigged irregulars that was so burned into their minds.

    Shame, City Paper! You own these a dandies an apology lest you wish to find yourselves at the other end of their dueling pistols!

  • ben west

    I agree with Andrew O. Dandy style was an element of the 1820's. Bikes were not even invented then. The height of bicycle culture was in the 1890's. Like mistaking flapper dresses with Rave culture.

    That said, D&Q have been great at doing promotion on the internet, I hope it translates to a real turnout, this city needs more fun and biking especially needs a dose of it.

  • Comrade Al Gonzales

    You are correct. That said, I will be there in my usual attire, tweeds & a bowler.

    Beau Brummell, born as George Bryan Brummell (7 June 1778 – 30 March 1840 (aged 61)), was the arbiter of men's fashion in Regency England and a friend of the Prince Regent, the future King George IV. He established the mode of men wearing understated, but fitted, beautifully cut clothes including dark suits and full length trousers, adorned with an elaborately-knotted cravat.[1]

    Beau Brummell is credited with introducing and establishing as fashion the modern man's suit, worn with a tie.[2] He claimed to take five hours to dress, and recommended that boots be polished with champagne.[3] His style of dress was known as dandyism.[

  • Dayo


    I have a bunch of vintage bikes for sale in the DC area…

    checkout my website

    I’m sure it will help some people looking for vintage bikes.

  • Burt

    Pretty well written, and also your points are very close to my own. Regards.