Bikes, Brogues & Britches – The Sunday Best Ride

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

sunday best 300x191 - Bikes, Brogues & Britches - The Sunday Best Ride

   The pastime of cycling has fallen into disrepute.  Once a source of freedom and fun for whole families, it is now the pursuit of but a few smug, lycra-clad cretins who thrive on lurid sports drinks, lung-fulls of carbon monoxide, and abuse from motorists.

   In celebration of the true pleasures of bicycling, we would like to draw your attention to the Sunday Best Ride.  In the spirit of the London Tweed Rides, participants don their finest vintage threads for a leisurely lap of Auckland City in remembrance of the golden age of cycling.  Well-dressed riders of all ages attend this annual event, which begins at the Auckland Domain, heads west to Ponsonby and St Mary’s Bay, down to Westhaven and along the waterfront before finishing at the Parnell Rose Gardens.  The course is about 15km long, mostly flat or slightly downhill, and is marshalled with stops for photos and to regroup. 

   The occasion recalls a lost era where, from the 1880’s on, the “safety bicycle” (as opposed to the Penny Farthing and other death-trap variations) became a reliable and affordable form of transport and recreation.  It’s popularity is even thought to have contributed to female emancipation by leading women away from voluminous Victorian dresses and corsets towards more practical forms of fashion – even trousers, heaven forbid. However, the age of the bicycle was slowly extinguished as the motor car became commonplace, and safe places to ride became scarce.

   But for this Sunday, it will be great to see people dispense with the lycra, get behatted, waistcoated, knickerbockered, dolled and dandied, and experience the therapeutic charm of a true, proper, bike outing.

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