Dog Blog

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's another wintry summer day, but I'm glad the weird weather held off for Sunday's Seersucker Ride, the summer version of the Tweed Ride.  Last Sunday morning, close to 150 cyclists arrived at Temple Coffee on vintage bicycles, some toting their dogs in baskets or trailers.  Most of us were dressed in vintage clothing, which was supposed to include seersucker.  I haven't owned anything made of seersucker since the 1960s, and I didn't have a clue where to look for any seersucker attire on short notice until I thought of the SPCA Thrift Shop.

I had gathered up some donations to drop off, so I did a little seersucker shopping while I was there.  As luck would have it, I found a Bermuda shorts and jacket ensemble that was a perfect fit.  I looked pretty natty for the occasion wearing that and my stylish new Yakkay bike helmet, which looks like a hat but is actually "brainwear" with a colorful fabric cover that can be changed to suit your mood or the season.  Never mind that my seersucker suit was 100% Polyester rather than cotton, as it would have been in the early 20th Century.

Everyone socialized and admired one another's retro duds and bikes, which included a penny farthing and lots of bikes from the 40s and 50s, as well as some Electra bicycles, which you can hardly tell aren't vintage until you look more closely.  It was quite a photo op (more photos to come).  Revolution Wines sold boxed lunches for $10, which was fortunate since I didn't know that we were going to be riding to William Land Park for a picnic.  I'd heard about this event at the last minute, so there wasn't much time to prepare.  After our social hour, we all headed out for a ride through the town, which was the most fun I've had in ages. The Wire Terrier riding in the front basket of the bike beside me obviously agreed.  I'm sure my face must have looked as happy as his, and by the end of the day I'd be panting, too, in my Polyester cyclewear.  Another fellow was hauling a cello behind his bike.  He was one of the band members who would be playing lively music for us at the park.

A bright chorus of bike bells chimed as drivers honked friendly greetings and people waved to us as we pedaled leisurely through the streets of Sacramento.  This was a good experience for my husband, who is more of a speedster.  The slower, gentler pace and civility amongst our group was the perfect panacea for stress reduction in an increasingly stressful world.  What is a better stress-buster than a lazy Sunday afternoon bike ride?  This is something my family always did when I was growing up, either by auto or bicycle.

Once we reached the park, everyone found a spot on the shaded grass in a verdant urban forest (Are you reading this, Army Corps of Engineers?) to arrange their lawn spreads and set up for their feast.  This was especially pleasant for me because some of my fondest early childhood memories are of picnicking with my parents at William Land Park, riding the carousel, leaping fish and boat rides at Funland, and feeling the assurance of my strong Texan father's steady hand bracing his little girl in the saddle as I rode around the circular roped path of the Pony Rides.  I felt as though I'd been transported back to a gentler century, when people seemed kinder, happier, and more cultured.  One group had transported a portable vintage tea table, an English china tea service, and a wind-up record player that squawked Sing, Sing, Sing in 78 rpm.  When I heard the wail of a train steam whistle, coming from Old Sac, I could easily imagine I was cocooned in some kind of time warp, if just for an hour or two.  The sound of a cell phone ringing spoiled my blissful daydream and jolted me back to the present day.   

We were treated to some scrumptious cupcake samples, and for $3.00 we could buy a Popsicle, which was such a cool delight on a warm day.  My seersucker suit was making me sweat like the pig that knows he's dinner, and my husband and I were getting weary from standing so long, since we'd brought nothing to sit on.  We ate our boxed lunch while standing.  The rest of the group would ride on to Crocker Museum for more refreshment and then end up at DeVere's Irish Pub. I really hated to miss that, but the two of us headed back to Temple Coffee, where we ordered some cold drinks to chill out, then rode back to where our car was parked.  The ride back was not quite so leisurely with my husband well in the lead of our two-person peloton.  I had the same view I've had ever since we've been riding bikes together.

According to my odometer, we were actually only peddling for an hour on the Seersucker Ride, but it was a memorable afternoon enjoying Sacramento's growing bike culture.  I would like to see Sacramento to give Davis some real two-wheeled competition, not only in events like this one and the adoption of a true bike culture in our city, but also in bike safety.  We don't need any more Ghost Bikes like the ones near Sac State.  I hope that the Give Me Three campaign is successful, so that cars give bikers some respect.  Not all the motorists we encountered were courteous, even on a quiet Sunday afternoon, and some cyclists in our group ran a red light, which is a good way to end up a Ghost Bike.  

BUI, though)--and something to sit on comfortably while we eat it.  I'm searching for a vintage bike, too.  I'd love to find my old forest green/cream Montgomery Wards Hawthorne.  Stylish as it may be, I may skip wearing the Yakkay, unless the weather is like it is today, since this helmet doesn't seem to vent as well as a Giro.  And next year my seersucker will be made of 100% cotton!  Meanwhile, I'll be searching for that and some tweed to wear in November for the Tweed Ride.    



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