Cycling in Britain—From Swarms to Sustrans (1942–1979)
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The Tweed Run is a dandy’s delight—Brylcreem and bow ties for the gentlemen; capes and cycling skirts for the ladies. This gloriously eccentric bicycling bricolage matches top hats with Harris tweeds, and conflates Steampunk romanticism with verifiable vintage. A typical outfit consists of 1890s-style waistcoat and breeches coupled with a 1920s-era working man’s flat cloth cap. A typical bicycle is a 1930s-style roadster with “mustache” handlebars. It all makes for a strong look but, like many of the chic ensembles on these now-international rolling fashion parades, it’s an amalgam of faux nostalgia. Harking back to a presumed golden age of cycling is great fun, and a peloton of tweedy riders is visually arresting, but one mustn’t get too misty-eyed about the indeterminate period that is being evoked. Once motorcars muscled their way onto the real scene, the golden age was a goner.