How Was the Missoula Tweed Ride? Splendid, My Dear [PHOTOS]
This past weekend was the 14th Annual Missoula Tweed Ride hosted by Free Cycles of Missoula, a community ride that embodies the phrase "tweed not speed."
A group of over 50 and possibly as many as 100 riders took the streets of Missoula, wending their over trails and streets, often to the cheers of motorists they passed. Eric Warren, a volunteer at Free Cycles, joined the ride for the first time this year. Warren has been a bike mechanic for over 20 years and has participated in bike parades before.
"I've been in everything from Tour de Fat with New Belgium Brewing to Mass Effect. Tour de Fat we just rode a bunch of really goofy bikes and had wild hair wigs. Critical Mass was really about demonstrating that bicycles belong on the roadways. These are two very different types of rides There's also the Christmas Light ride in Billings which is one of my favorites. This (Missoula's Tweed Ride) was much more like the Christmas Light ride where just a bunch of friends get on bikes and ride around," Warren said.
This year's ride saw participants as young as four or five years old to some almost as old as 80 years old. "You know, the pace was slow enough," he said, "that nobody really got left behind." Hence the motto: tweed, not speed. Almost everyone was dressed in clothes from the early 1900s.
"Lots and lots of tweed jackets, shined shoes. Top hats and bowlers. Lots and lots of mustaches and bowties, most of which were real, some of which were applied, all of which were awesome."
The bikes themselves were impressive too.
"There were a lot of cruisers, a lot of coffee getters, a lot of town bikes. But there were also a couple of people on tall bikes where there's two bikes welded together so they're like 8 feet tall. There was a bike called 'the Whale' which was a side-by-side monstrosity of bikes welded together that had kind a of wooden structure built on top of it. They had trouble going under certain underpasses."
There were awards for Best Dressed, Best 'Doo, Best Stache, Best Bike, and Doff of the Cap. Warren won Best Bike.
"I was riding a 1956 JC Higgins Cruiser. It looks a lot like a motorcycle with a rocket on the back. And then it says Harold on the side in the kind of decals that you might put on the side of a mailbox. Harold was my uncle and it was his bike growing up and when he passed away I got it. Then to complement the ensemble I also wore a Newsies hat and Bud's Gulf 1960s jacket from the gas station that he owned. And it definitely looked the part."
Awards aside, Warren says the Tweed Ride is a new favorite of his.
"It just became my favorite ride of the year. It's slow. It's fun. Everybody's just stoked. Even when cars are held up by our giant line of bikes, everybody seemed really fired up to see us all rolling through town."
Keep an eye on the Free Cycles account on Instagram--they'll have even more pictures soon. Thank you to Eric Warren for the use of his photos which can be seen below.