by Diana Nelson Jones/March 29
Back when the bicycle was born, people wore tweed. Men elongated their moustaches and twirled them with wax to look smart. They wore bowler hats, too.
Today, long waxed moustaches signify a movie villain, and in real life, I see one coming toward me, I'm crossing the street. Few people who wear bowler hats can pull it off today. But tweed is timeless. Bikes, too.
Put tweed and bicycles together and you have... in this case, anyway, the first Pittsburgh Tweed Ride, starting at 3 p.m. Saturday from Doughboy Square at Penn and Butler in Lawrenceville. The ride will meander (because our early bicycle riders were not in a hurry; remember, the first ones predated the 20th century) through the Strip en route to the South Side, ending at Piper's Pub on East Carson.
The picture above is of a Tweed Ride in Los Angeles.
Ben Wojtyna, a co-owner of Clankworks, a bike accessories shop near Doughboy Square, let me know about this event, which anyone can join. It's the idea of Ben and his business partner Drew Hendrickson at Clankworks. They design and manufacture bicycle accessories, including wooden and bamboo laminate fenders. They are prototyping full length fenders and a bicycle stand for sale soon.
Ben tells us about the tweed ride movement below:
"The Tweed Ride/Run movement first picked up in London last year when they have a massive (400+) group get together, donning vintage bicycles, clothing and vernacular. The idea is to promote cycling, of course, but in a way that acknowledges the bicycle's roots in the early 1900s as a primary way of transporting people and goods in urban environments. Once the idea took off in London, it quickly spread to US cities with large cycling communities, such as Portland, San Francisco and even in the nation's capital. We thought it was about time to bring it to Pittsburgh, and this spring seemed like the perfect time. We even found that April 3rd is national tweed day on an obscure calendar, but there is debate whether it means the material or the crime boss."
For more details, visit BikePGH at http://bike-pgh.org/2010/03/jolly-good-event-4-3-10-clankworks-to-host-pittsburghs-first-tweed-ride/ and the site of the ride's host, Clankworks at http://clankworks.com/news/tweed-ride/