“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.”
― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance
“But I pushed and pulled in vain, the wheels would not turn. It was as though the brakes were jammed, and heaven knows they were not, for my bicycle had no brakes. And suddenly overcome by a great weariness, in spite of the dying day when I always felt most alive, I threw the bicycle back in the bush and lay down on the ground, on the grass, careless of the dew, I never feared the dew.”
― Samuel Beckett, Molloy
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”
“What I want to know is, in the Middle Ages, did they do anything for Housemaid’s Knee? What did they put in their hot baths after jousting?”
― H.G. Wells, Tono-Bungay
Fun activities on the 2014 Bike Friendly Oak Cliff Tweed Ride.
“The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”
― Milan Kundera, Ignorance
After riding around in the increasingly inclement weather Saturday at the Cedars Open Studio Tour and Ride I was sore in the morning. Riding in the rain always wears me out… I’m not sure why. On Sunday was another bike ride – one I have been looking forward to. It was time for the 2014 Dallas Tweed Ride. The idea is to dress up in nostalgic dress – as best as possible and go out on vintage bicycles – if you have one.
I was one of the brave few that rode in the Tweed Ride last year. It was bitter cold – though still a lot of fun. I have a tweedy beret and a Goodwill jacket that I can wear with slacks and a tie – not historically accurate or as good looking as most others, but at least I can put forth a little effort dressing up. I put together my clothing and thought about my bike. I do have a semi-vintage road bike, but Nick has taken it over and installed clipless pedals so I can’t use it. I decided to take my folder – not vintage at all, but at least it’s efficient.
Thinking about the route I decided to drive down and park in the familiar lot on the west side of the Continental Bridge Park. I knew the ride would start downtown and end at the Turner House in Oak Cliff. I picked that spot because I new the ride back to my car would be mostly downhill.
I rode across the bridge park and through downtown to Dealy Plaza, where everyone was gathering for the ride. The weather was beautiful – it seemed almost impossible after the cold rain which had been falling the night before. If anything, it was a little warm… at least in the sun and out of the wind. I’m not good at counting numbers in a group like this, but I would guess about a hundred. That’s a pretty good group of people wearing odd costumes and wheeling around on outdated means of transport.
I knew a lot of folks from other bike rides – although some were surprisingly hard to recognize. We gathered up and rode up Main Street through downtown, then turned south and rode to Dallas Heritage Village. I remembered riding there once before for a Jazz Age Sunday Social. We stopped for some photos around the gazebo.
We rode back through downtown and then across the Trinity River on the Houston Viaduct. Then came the long uphill ride from the river to Bishop Arts and on up 8th Street to the Turner House. I’m afraid that this stretch pretty much wore me out and I was happy and exhausted to reach our destination.
There was a lot of fun – food, beer, (and water), games and great people. I brought my camera, of course, and will put up a few photos – though I didn’t take as many as I intended. I wanted to hang out without the stress of shooting too many pictures. There were a lot of other folks, better than me, taking pictures – you can see some on the Facebook Page and also, the Dallas Observer Photographer was there and put up a page of shots – plus the Dallas Morning News Photographer.
Once the sun began to set everyone started to take off home and I rode by myself – as I had planned, coasting down Edgefield to West Dallas and then Commerce Street into the river bottoms and back to my car. I had a fun time, though I was inexplicably bothered by how hard it was for me to make it up that long uphill. I also wished I had a vintage bike to ride and better clothes. I guess that’s to be expected this time of year – and fodder for upcoming resolutions.
One of the riders on the Stop and Photograph the Roses bike ride met up with us about halfway through. He was delayed because he was picking up a “new” bicycle.
It was a 1936 Monark Silverking and it was way cool. Made of cast aluminum and swaged tubing it was a long way ahead of its time. I didn’t know that there were pre WWII aluminum bicycles.
We posed it in front of the Art Deco sculptures in Fair Park. I realized that the bike was made in the same year as the architecture. It shows.
A tradition in Dallas in the bicycling community is the fall/winter Tweed Ride. Last December’s ride was a lot of fun, though bitterly cold. As a bookend to that ride, the great folks at Dallas Cycle Style organized a springtime/warm weather ride, and called it the Seersucker Ride. It looked like a blast.
But I needed something seersucker to wear. I am the most fashion-challenged person in the world – but I knew what seersucker is. The only reason I knew was because once, a few years back, I had actually looked it up after seeing this scene in Sophie’s Choice.
Right now we are as broke as broke can be, so I couldn’t spend any money on clothes. Also, I futzed and dutzed, as always, around and waited too long – so ebay was out of the question. I did a circuit of the various thrift stores and actually found some seersucker (mostly pants) here and there – but none of it came even close to fitting me. It appears that only undernourished men wear seersucker.
So I was left with a journey into the heart of the beast. I actually went to a mall. Other than a trip to NorthPark for the Nasher Exchange Sculpture (and I wasn’t going to buy anything) I haven’t been inside a mall in decades. Collin Creek Mall is only a tiny jump up the freeway from where I live. I remember driving there from Oak Cliff in 1981 when it first opened – it seemed like driving forever – and how shiny, lavish, and sumptuous the enormous multi-lobed two story shopping extravaganza seemed – like a brave new world. Now, not that long later, the mall is on its last legs, barely hanging on for dear life, coasting on past glories. To walk the corridors is borderline depressing.
I found a shirt that was seersucker-like on a clearance rack for four dollars. The only open checkout was in the shoe department where I had to wait behind a woman trying to get a discount because the pair she was looking at had a tiny blemish.
“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
So I had my seersucker. On Saturday morning I packed my Xootr Swift bicycle with food, drink, and a blanket, put a fresh battery in my camera, and rode the DART train downtown to meet everyone at Klyde Warren Park.
The park was a hive of activity – S.E. Hinton was on her way to grace the presence of the Dallas Reads One Book celebration of The Outsiders. They gave us all paperback copies and took photos of everyone in period outfits reading the tome. We would like to have seen the author (and seen the movie they would show later) but we had a picnic to do so we all rode off across Uptown to Lee Park.
It was a beautiful spot – along Turtle Creek with a fountain in the center and a wave of purple/pink Azaleas blooming across the water. We parked the bikes, spread out the blankets, and unloaded the vittles – a veritable moveable feast. A volunteer had driven in to deliver items too bulky to bike – coolers of ice, extra water, a croquet set. Not content with pitiful portable picnic players, he brought in a generator, amp, and speakers and we had vintage music all proper – angel trumpets and devil trombones.
Such a great day. The weather was warm with a bit of a breeze. A beautiful park with a lot of cool people. There is something about wearing silly clothing and riding together through a big city on ridiculous bicycles that is relaxing and disarming. Such fun.
There were a lot of photos taken – I tried not to spend too much time shooting, but everything and everybody around was too freakishly photogenic to resist. I have a nice collection I’ll post here for journal entries over the next few days.
All good things must come to an end and we packed up and headed out. Three of us rode back downtown, cutting west on the Katy Trail which ends at the American Airlines Center. As we passed next to the building the Dallas Mavericks basketball playoff game ended, spilling an enormous throng of blue-T shirted fans out all around us – flowing like a rabid river as we worked our way through on our bicycles. It was surreal.
Luckily, the home team had won on a last second three point shot right before we arrived, so everyone was in a great mood. Everyone was yelling, “Vince Carter!, Vince Carter!”
It wouldn’t have been any fun to ride through that crowd if the home team had lost.
I rode back to Klyde Warren Park and rested for a bit. I knew the trains would be full of Maverick fans on their way home, plus I needed to decompress for a few minutes. Next to me a young couple sat playing chess – she was much better, but he liked to win, so he kept buying her wine until he prevailed. The inflatable movie screen for the showing of The Outsiders went up – but I didn’t want to stay downtown that long after dark, so I caught my train and went home.