In a backyard shed somewhere in southern Maine, there’s an old-timey bicycle waxing nostalgic about the way things used to be.

He’ll turn his rusted front wheel to his unappreciative teenage grandson — who in turn will roll his reflectors in annoyance — and reminisce about yesteryear.

“Back in my day,” he’ll say, “we didn’t have 15 gears to make it easier to get up hills. We had one! And we got by with one just fine!

“We didn’t spend our weekends riding in the dirt and crashing into trees like fools. We worked hard. We got people from point A to point B in the rain and snow, and we didn’t complain about it.”

The young bicycle will tune out the old timer, choosing instead to pick rocks from between the knobs of his tires and slouch against the shed wall.

“Bicycles these days are too flashy, with their fancy-pants dual suspensions and garish colors,” Grandpa will continue. “And they go way too fast! When I was young, we knew how to stop and smell the roses!”

That’s how nostalgia works — it filters the flaws out of our history (leaving in mom’s made-with-love meals and taking out the fact that she wasn’t allowed to vote).

But it’s also a nod to the real “good” in the old days — the stuff we seem to have forgotten to remember — like plus-four suits, monocles and leisurely bike rides through town just for the heck of it.

On Sunday, enthusiasts of yesteryear will relive the bicycle rides of the past during the second annual Portland Tweed Ride.

The event, hosted by Portland Velocipede, encourages bicycle riders to “embrace a bygone era of British cycling” by donning attire of the tweed, wool and argyle variety.

Vintage bicycles are also encouraged — if you have a vintage bike, this is the day to bring it out, said Gillian Cridler, co-owner of Portland Velocipede — but the classic bike isn’t a requirement.

Dapper attire, on the other hand, is essential.

“It’s basically a casual ride,” said Cridler. “Last year’s was about five miles around the peninsula with stops at Deering Oaks, the Western Prom. People just get dressed up and ride their bikes.”

There’s a lure to rewinding time for an afternoon, especially in an era when “high speed” is no longer a selling point, it’s an expectation.

“Things are going so fast people are sort of wanting that slow-down button,” said Cridler. And they want to take their time on a bicycle.

The Tweed Ride commemorates a vintage bike’s wide leather seats, quaint wicker baskets and the brring-brring of its bicycle bell. And it’s a reminder that bicycles aren’t just for the high-speed riders in spandex.

“All over Europe, they bike to work — in their heels, in their suits,” said Cridler. “They’re using it as a way to get around. It’s cycling as transportation.”

The first “Tweed Run” took place in London in 2009, and since then, similar rides have been held in large cities around the U.S.

Cridler said it only made sense that Portland Velocipede bring the bygone ride to town. The shop, which opened in spring 2010, focuses on lifestyle cycling and the European-style bicycles that suit the lifestyle so well.

More than 40 people turned up for last year’s ride, and this year, organizers expect it to grow. It’s free to participate, and the group ride starts and ends at Portland Velocipede (45 York St.).

Besides, fall in Maine is an ideal cruising season. There will be photo ops at a few locations on the Portland peninsula, including the Western Prom and Deering Oaks Park, and the ride will be unhurried.

There will also be some perplexed expressions as the group pedals by.

“Last year, we got some looks,” said Cridler. “But everyone’s really polite, and we follow all the rules of being on a bike.”

There’s something about cycling in classy attire that makes everything so very proper, Cridler said. It’s all, “Oh, pardon me!”

Which means Sunday’s city cruise will be an event to remember fondly — and tell the grandkids about.

They can’t wait!

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at:

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