Anglophile cyclists unite for charity at Saturday’s vintage-themed two-wheeled jaunt down Queen Street.
In stark contrast to the Occupy Toronto movement that besieged the downtown core on Saturday, a couple hundred bikers outfitted in old-timey garb turned up at Trinity Bellwoods Park to celebrate the past instead of protesting the present and future.
Organized by Bikes Without Borders, a Toronto-based non-profit organization that uses the bike as a tool for development within marginalized communities, Tweed Toronto is part of a wider movement that started in London two years ago and has grown in popularity worldwide. “This certainly isn’t your run of the mill fundraiser,” said Bikes Without Borders Program Director Kristen Corbet. “But we always try to have innovative events, and this was a good one to engage with the community and make biking more accessible to people who might be nervous riding near cars.”
High-spirited urbanites donned in their best argyle and houndstooth braved the wind and rain, comforting themselves with spontaneous, supportive shouts of “Tally ho!” Some warmed their spirits by making mention of the “perfect English day” they’d been given, while others took a more novel approach, passing around Union Jack-emblazoned flasks to stave off the bone chill.
The route took them from Trinity Bellwoods to Old City Hall, where they took part in a group photo shoot. From there the group made its way to Grange Park for a soggy afternoon tea before traveling to the vintage-themed afterparty at Dovercourt House. Despite the damp weather, the majority of the 256 registered participants showed up for the ride, comforted in the fact that their donations would go to help health care workers in Malawi. With success in New York, Paris, Sydney and Tokyo, it looks like this won’t be the last Tweed Ride to hit Toronto. Perhaps next time many of the city’s onlookers will join in (like in London, where the ride for 500 people sells out in seven minutes), instead of wondering where the dress-up mass screening of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is taking place.
Click the gallery below for more photos from the Tweed Ride.