Chicago’s Tweed Ride (& My Crash)

On Saturday, the inaugural Chicago Tweed Ride took place. London and San Francisco have held such rides recently, and it’s fun to see how the different cities interpret the ride. Chicago’s a good city to carry on the tweedy fun. The ride toured Chicago’s speakeasies, stopping at a couple for food and drinks, which were needed as the ride started at 1 and ended at 7. I enjoyed riding with so many others who appreciate slow bikes and style. I did not know a soul, and had a good time meeting everyone. Without further ado, I present Chicago’s tweedy goodness.


5-3-light 5-3-plaid



5-3-downtown 5-3-yellows


5-3-garth 5-3-tweediness


Studying the map


As my luck would have it, I crashed pretty hard near the end of the ride. Train tracks. They got me. Buggers. (For those who don’t know, train/tram tracks are evil and will take you down if you don’t approach them perpendicularly.) I thought I took the tracks at enough of an angle; obviously I did not. Part of my wheel got stuck in the track’s crevice, immediately throwing my bike to the ground. Then as I was still surveying the damage to my body, the bells and lights started to warn of an on-coming train so I had to scramble out of the way.

I thought at first that the crash was worse, but I just ended up with a skinned and bloody knee, slightly bloody nose, and … two chipped front teeth. Ugh! My teeth do not hurt, but they look pretty bad (although everyone swears it’s hardly noticeable). I’ll spare you close-up pictures of my mouth, but I will have to visit the dentist to see what cosmetic work can be done. Many thanks to everyone on the ride, especially the girl with the band-aids and the guy who held my bike. The worst part, other than my teeth, was the embarrassment of having stopped the entire ride and worrying that I had killed the day. I’m also easily embarrassed by being the center of attention. Happily, once I determined that I was going to live, we all continued on the ride.

Tweed outfit, complete with chipped tooth and bloody knee

Tweed outfit, complete with chipped tooth and bloody knee

And I won the prize for Most Snappy Lass, which is nice. But, really, how could they not give it to the girl who chipped her teeth.

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36 thoughts on “Chicago’s Tweed Ride (& My Crash)

  1. Ouch! I’m happy you weren’t seriously hurt. Chipped teeth are way better than missing teeth!
    I’m glad you didn’t let it spoil what looked like a fun ride.

  2. 510jcm says:

    I hope you feel better.

  3. Nico says:

    That sounds painful! It happened to me, too – about 15 years ago, while I was visiting a harbour area (with lots of tracks for trains and cranes).
    I’m happy you still have your teeth. :D

  4. Stephen S says:

    Oooh, sorry about your crash.

    But, sweetie, from the pics you posted, you ARE the Most Snappy Lass! With that dress, hat, and great looking bike, you look like you could be a princess of a small European nation… ;)

  5. anna says:

    Lovely pictures and clothes. There are truly a lot of people with style in Chicago.
    Hm, tram/train tracks I know. They could integrate them so much better for cyclists if they wanted to. In some places I have to go zig-zag to avoid sliding and such (and therefore receive a lot of honking from the back)..
    Get better soon. I know such things can be pretty embarrassing, but you’re lucky that so many people took care of you :-).

  6. 2whls3spds says:


    Sorry about the crash…take pictures and send them to the proper authorities, but if they are anything like CSX around here they would rather pay out or claim immunity rather than actually fix them.


  7. Trisha says:

    Oh no! I’m sorry you crashed (my one wipe-out was under similar circumstances; it sucks) but you look great! The hat is perfect.

  8. John says:

    For some outside perspective, many riders (me included) were very impressed by your aplomb. I heard it from a number of participants: “The tracks took her down, but she just slapped on some band-aids and got right back on the ride!” You also demonstrated that one can ride a bike in the city without sacrificing style.

  9. Garth KATNER says:


    Not only were you a fine example of tweedyness but you displayed the best of good old British stiff-upper-lippedness!

    Thanks you for coming,

    da’ Square Wheelman

  10. Lynn says:

    Dottie, you are such a trooper! Glad you weren’t seriously injured. What a lovely outfit, and the basket really completes the picture.

  11. Oh, Dear! I hope you’ll be just fine and that your beautiful smile will be as dazzling as ever!

  12. Alan Lloyd says:

    Good to hear that you are basically okay, although chipping your teeth was a bit of a bummer.

    I lost an argument with railway tracks last year in a very similar manner, I thought that approaching at about 45 degrees would be fine – not!

  13. Good thing tweed hides blood well : ) We had several places in our SF ride when we were riding parallel to tracks for blocks at a time. I was worried someone would get caught, but luckily, no. You look like you survived in fine shape : )

  14. Christa says:

    Darn. Well, I’m sure it will be a good story in the future. ;)

    Fantastic photos! Thanks for posting.

    I asked some people in the San Diego cycling community about the Tweed Ride and they opted for a beach-themed ride instead. I’ll keep you updated!

  15. jj says:

    ack! i’m so glad that you’re not more hurt! we hit tracks just the same way 10 years ago on our tandem and i broke the fall with my head. i managed to chip the back of my front bottom tooth (?) and give myself a pretty nasty concussion and spent the night in the hospital. i’m glad you were able to get up and finish the ride. and damn straight you were the snappiest rider! you look lovely!!!

  16. Colin says:

    Cheers to your ride! And so sorry to hear about your crash! I do hope your teeth find a means to return to normal.

  17. Joe Devine says:

    I hope that Austin, TX decides to take on this great event, because I want to do it so badly! I am so sorry to hear that you got injured during it, but getting a prize and having such a great costume gives you a good story for how it happened :) Look for a quality Chicago Cosmetic Dentist to fix your teeth and you will be right as rain. Good luck!

  18. You looked so cute! I promise, your teeth are not noticeable!!

  19. Val says:

    Wait a minute…that picture is post crash? If that’s how good you look after getting intimate with tracks and pavement, then…damn! You are superhumanly stylish, that’s all there is to it.

  20. Scott says:

    Aw, I did not know about this ride. I would have turned up as I ride around like a fancy lad all the time anyway. Sorry to hear about your spill, sounds like you took it like a champ!

  21. dottie says:

    Too bad, Scott. Your Dutch bike would fit right in. Keep up with all the happenings at They’re already planning a second ride for September.

  22. sara says:

    I can’t believe I missed this post. I am so sorry to hear about your teeth. You do look particularly snappy. Hope the process with the dentist goes ok and your Oma is feeling better too.

  23. Man says:

    A bit late on reading the post but glad you are OK.
    To reiterate Val’s comment you look amazing for someone who went down on a bike onto tracks. Your clothes didn’t even look scuffed or dirty.
    You definitely wear that floppy hat well.

  24. Tad Salyards says:

    Check it out! She wasn’t wearing a helmet and AMAZINGLY her brains didn’t immediately jump out of her skull and adorn the pavement! Sorry, I can’t miss a single opportunity to beat my anti-helmet drum :)

    Glad that you came out of the crash okay. This has me thinking that Minneapolis needs a tweed ride.

    • John says:

      There is a contingent of folks in Minneapolis who would be positively delighted to have one: they run in the and the

  25. […] for a root canal, rode to CVS to get Vicodin, and finally rode home. Yup, my seemingly innocent crash last week during the Tweed Ride led to a root canal. My chipped teeth did not start hurting until Sunday. I […]

  26. Johnny says:

    Geez, I hope your teeth are feeling better. That’s no fun.

  27. jhaygood says:

    dang, no WONDER you won! the two of you (bike and snappy lass) look amazing!

  28. […] Tweed Ride this Saturday, September 12. Everyone should come! I didn’t know anyone on the first Tweed Ride, but I still had a blast. The kind of people who dress up in tweed and ride to bars on bicycles are […]

  29. […] wrote about the first Tweed Ride here. Read more about Tweed Rides worldwide on SF […]

  30. […] tracks – I am intimately familiar with this.  Danger:  Your tire can get caught in the tracks, or slip off wet or gravely […]

  31. […] Leading a Group Ride Our posts about group rides nearly always draw comments like “I wish we had one of these in my […]

  32. […] 2009 Dottie and Oma rode in their first Tweed Ride. Smurfette found a new home with Melissa. We commemorated a year of commuting with a dive into the […]

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