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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Tweed Ride

This is the Victorian version of Critical Mass, I guess. Critical mass with nicer clothes, better manners, less booze, a bit of organization...

All right, the Tweed Ride isn't much like Critical Mass once you get past the fact that it's a bunch of folks on bicycles.

The idea is a throwback to the Golden Age of Bicycles, a span of time between 1880 and 1910 when Rover made status vehicles with only two wheels and no motor. A Rover Safety might not seem to have much in common with a Land Rover but it's basically the same company. Serving the same market, really, in 1895 you'd be every bit as guilty of showing off your wealth and status on a Rover bicycle as you'd be today in one of those overpriced British gas guzzlers.

The difference in my entirely objective and unbiased opinion, back then you got something of actual value for all that coin.

I'm still off the bike recuperating from open heart surgery. It's close, I can almost do it, but my pecs are still a bit tender and I'm a couple weeks shy of the point where my breastbone will supposedly be completely healed. So no riding for me, in tweed or otherwise.

But what a great place to take pictures. And see a lot of friends who I normally see more often when I'm out and about on my bike. That's one thing that hasn't changed in the past 130 years, a bicycle is a social vehicle. It's hard to believe I haven't been out on once since June.

Ran into my friend Julie there, she was photographing too but not just for the hell of it. She was shooting for KCUR, her employer of late. Susan Pfannmuller was also there stringing for the Kansas City Scar. Every once in a while I meet a Star photographer and thereafter I find myself looking at the photo credits in the paper to see which shots that person got. It's generally a lesson in how much of a poseur I am with my Nikon, there's people who are photographers, then there's me.

Anyway, we hung out at the beginning shooting away, of course. We'd have all followed the bikes on their route but it went down Cliff Drive and cars are't allowed down that rabbit hole.

We thought we had good intelligence about where they'd come back up and we got over there by the Kansas City Museum of Science and Whatnot, spotted a road coming up from Cliff Drive and staked it out. It's the road Julie plunked her ass down in the middle of. I posted that as if she did it in a street where cars can go just to defame her.

We didn't have good intelligence, the bikes came back up some other access road and everyone was up on the field by the museum having a grand old timey picnic before we knew they were there. Which sucked a little bit for me, the amateur but I think it stung for the two pros. They still managed to crawl around in the grass getting way better shots than I did anyway.

I'd brought some hummus and tortillas for my 'picnic' but Julie offered to treat me to Vietnamese noodles in a phở joint a few blocks away and I'm no dummy.

The place is called Phở Hoa, it's in the old Scimeca's on Independence Avenue near The Paseo. If you're hungry and in that neighborhood or downtown, you owe it to yourself to check this out.

Oh, and order the 'regular,' trust me on this. I'm guilty of gluttony more often than not, but I couldn't quite finish the regular after an appetizer of summer rolls, so the large would have been overkill big time. The regular comes in a bowl that would qualify as a serving dish in my house.

Anyway, it was fun to check people out in their retro duds and otherwise dressed up. No penny-farthings were on hand but that's actually a little further back than a Tweed Ride calls for, the Rover Safety was the bike that took the broken collarbone out of the routine Sunday ride.

I'll have to do the ride next year, and I've already started scoping out the thrift stores for some tweed to do it in.

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