When considering how bicycles started out, it’s a wonder they ever became popular at all. One of the first, in 1817, was Baron von Drais’ “walking machine,” a two-wheeled wooden contraption which one sat on and propelled by scooching their feet. The next contraption, the 1865 velocipede, improved on the design with pedals, but was nicknamed “the bone shaker” because it had metal tires and streets of the day were cobblestone. One can only imagine the unpleasant effect on Victorian Age gonads. But eventually, with lightweight designs, the invention of pneumatic tires and drive chains, cycling became easier, popular and cheap, creating cultural effects, too. Cyclists were among the first to advocate for smooth, paved asphalt roads. Women ditched their bustles and corsets.
The world of bicycling has come a long way, with all kinds of fancy gear and clubs and organized sports. And we have community organizations devoted to helping people get rolling, like Missoula’s own Free Cycles. The upcoming Tweed Ride is a nod to old-fashioned style while raising funds to keep Free Cycles going into the future. Plus, there’s libations and live music, which never go out of style.
The Fourth Annual Missoula Tweed Ride invites cyclists to don vintage-style clothing and take a leisurely five-mile trip through town, ending in a party and silent auction Sat., Oct. 19. Meet at Free Cycles at noon before departing. $10, includes dinner. Baby and Bukowski and Cash For Junkers play the block party from 3-5 PM. Register and learn more at missoulatweedride.org.