Today was an event I was looking forward to, the Dallas 2013 Tweed Ride.
I had what was, I guess, the bare minimum – a tweed jacket from Goodwill and a tweed cap a friend had found on Amazon. So I was ready, if only minimally so.
The ride was originally scheduled for a week ago, but had to be postponed because of the ice storm. The weather was impossible that day, but it was pretty cold today – low forties, overcast, foggy, with a wicked north wind screaming in like a wave of icy razor blades. The last tweed ride – two years ago – was on a preternaturally warm day and had a huge turnout. Today looked like the opposite. I had to think hard about whether I wanted to go. It was nasty outside and the house was warm. I had plenty to do at home.
I futzed and dutzed and prepared as best I could. I decided to ride my commuter bike, and strap on as much crap as I thought I needed onto it. One pannier was packed with my camera and tripod and the other one I filled with two vacuum bottles of hot coffee. I also filled a small flask with some rum, just in case.
Though it wasn’t authentic, I wore a modern thermal vest under my jacket – hoping to keep my core warm.
And I set out to ride my bike to the DART station. As I turned north into the wind, at the end of my block, I decided to turn around and go home. I was out of breath – since the ice storm I’ve been hanging around and am not used to riding… I felt ridiculous in my silly getup. But most of all, the cutting cold wind made riding simply too miserable.
But then I thought about how decisions about giving up go down. The problem is; the pain, the uncomfortable cold, and the icy wind are all too obvious negatives… while the positives of actually braving the elements were out there in the uncertain future, and not for sure. How do you judge the merit of something that you don’t actually do? If you give in to the immediately uncomfortable and reject the possible future… you won’t get out of bed in the morning.
So I sucked it up and pedaled on. As I rode toward the train station, I noticed the clouds breaking up to the north and by the time I reached it the sun was actually breaking through the clouds, and the vicious wind began to break. I bought my pass and the transit gods sent a train in at the exact second I arrived on the platform (that is rare – I’m usually cursed and get to see my train leaving as I pull up – and have to wait).
The ride started by the Grassy Knoll at Dealey Plaza in Downtown Dallas, behind the famous wooden fence. I had thought that the interest in the assassination site would die down after the recent fiftieth anniversary, but there was a huge crowd of tourists wandering around… looking askance at the small crowd of people wearing odd clothing, standing around with a motley collection of bicycles, and shivering.
The crowd wasn’t huge – the cold and the postponement had taken its toll – but there was enough. We set out and rode through downtown, looping past Klyde Warren Park for photographs, and then down Main Street – past the Dallas Eye – and across the Jefferson Viaduct Cycletrack into Oak Cliff.
About two weeks ago, some folks and I had spent a few hours sweeping the track clean. Unfortunately, the ice storm had forced the city to sand the bridge heavily and the traffic had pushed a lot of sand and rock into the bicycle lanes – making our work worthless and the track difficult and dangerous. I took my time crossing – I didn’t want to ride fast through that slippery gravel, but the sun was still out and the view was really nice.
We rode into Oak Cliff, through Bishop Arts and on to the Turner House, where there were refreshments and photographs. We couldn’t stay too long – it was a long way from home, so I rode back across the river and caught the train downtown.
The temperature dropped after the sun went down and the ride home from the station was very cold… but bearable.
Tweed is warmer than you think.