Keep calm and tweed on: rolling with the Windsor Tweed Ride

It is not the late 1800s every day but once in a while it is nice to dress up and pretend.

Photo by Jay Verspeelt.
Photo by Jay Verspeelt.

Photo by Jay Verspeelt.

Jay Verspeelt

Reporter

It is not the late 1800s every day but once in a while it is nice to dress up and pretend.

The Windsor Tweed Ride is coming back to Walkerville and cycling around the city at 10 a.m. on October 19. This time, now in it’s third installment, is coinciding with the Windsor Craft Beer Fest.

“There’s a suggested donation of ten dollars for registration,” said Stephen Hargreaves, organizer of the event and City Cyclery co-owner. “But if you want to pay less or pay more you’re more than welcome to join us. If you want to pay nothing you’re welcome, if you prefer to spend a hundred dollars I’ll happily accept that.”

Profits will go to Friends of Willistead, a non-profit organization that raises money for preservation and restoration of the old mansion.

The event will begin at Willistead Park and go through south Walkerville, connecting through parks and stopping at the Windsor Craft Beer Fest before it is open to the public. Then it makes its way downtown. A downtown stop has yet to be confirmed. Eventually it will culminate at the Walkerville brewery for drinks and food catered by Thyme To-Go.

A new Detroit Bikes Type-A will be raffled off as part of the event in addition to gift baskets and other goodies. “People of note” are to be attending, such as representatives of Fourth Floor Distribution from Toronto to launch Simcoe Bikes in Windsor.

“They were planning on launching in Toronto,” said Hargreaves. “But we convinced them that our new space is so interesting, amazing and Windsor has such a vibrantly growing cycling community that they should do it here.”

It is a busy time for Hargreaves who is not only planning the ride but also working on moving his store down to Lincoln road, two blocks from the current location. Slated to open November 1, the store will go from 600 square feet to 5000. That’s not the only increase; the last Tweed Ride had approximately 200 attendees, jumping 140 to 170 bodies from the first ride.

“[It takes] more time than I have, while building a new store, setting up a distribution company, and trying to maintain some semblance of a life,” said Hargreaves. “But I think with a lot of dedication from really wonderful volunteers and participation from local business, the whole thing just comes together.”

Grace Laporte is one of the volunteers helping to put on the event this year. She has been organizing prizes for awards such as best-dressed male and female.

“I certainly didn’t want to miss the opportunity like I did in the spring,” said Laporte. “I think the event has a lot of potential. It’s an opportunity to unite Walkerville and invite those who are unfamiliar with Walkerville’s recent progress to join in as well. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on this event.”

Laporte considers helping out as her way of giving back to the community after enjoying the first ride that happened last year when the event was called the Tweed Run. She will still be biking though, on a bike she purchased from City Cyclery.

Laporte only bikes, by choice, everything she needs is right in Walkerville and there is an environmental component as well.

Vanessa Dunbar, another Windsor resident who is also attending the ride, is on the other side of the coin. A driver who is going to hang up her keys for an afternoon and set the curb and trails.

“I spent the past summer in Italy and the bike was my main transportation,” said Dunbar. “It was fantastic, I really enjoyed it. I’ve been trying to get into biking here but in Windsor I own a car so I often opt for the easy or lazy way. I joined the Tweed Ride because I love unique events and I love meeting the people they attract.”

She could not give up her car, saying “Windsor is a car city,” but she might somewhere else.

Cycling enthusiasts and just the curious are setting the wheels in motion.

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