For Tweed Riders, It’s Not About the Bike—It’s About the Clothes

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Most bicyclists I know dress like Lance Armstrong, in skintight Lycra shorts and bright nylon jerseys plastered with corporate logos. But a group of local cyclists is challenging the notion that you have to wear Spandex to ride a bike. Several times a year, they don old-fashioned cycling costumes and gather for a leisurely spin around town, an event known as the Sacramento Tweed Ride. Their motto: No Lycra. “You don’t have to look like a racer to ride a bike,” explains Erin Houston, who founded the Sacramento Tweed Ride with her husband, Rick. Looking like extras from a Merchant Ivory film, the men wear plus fours, tweed jackets and caps, while the women can be seen in long skirts, silk blouses and heels. Isn’t tweed a bit hot for Sacramento? No, claims Nan Eastep, an Oakland seamstress and designer. “It’s the perfect fabric—insulating in hot and cold weather,” says Eastep, owner of B. Spoke Tailor, who recently measured some local Tweed Riders for clothing. Still, the group plans to change the dress code a tad for a ride sometime this summer. They’re calling it the Seersucker Ride.