One of the most sought-after bicycle ride in Los Angeles is the annual Tweed, Moxie, and Mustache ride that is led by CICLE and sponsored by Los Angeles’ own Metro. For the past few years, this ride has eluded me for one reason or another. This ride was one of the main reason why I signed up to be a ride leader for CICLE back in August. 2014 was going to be different, I had to be there on January 18th morning.
A Gentleman’s Outfit
Not only was I there, I also came in dress pants, a white shirt, tie, a fancy vest and the only tweed article I own, a tweed hat once worn by my dad. It was not an all-out tweed outfit like some other folks, but it was the perfect outfit for a hot day with temperatures rising up to the upper 80’s F. I left for the ride at 9am from Alhambra and made my way to the Highland Park Gold Line station in only 30 minutes. I even surprised myself how quickly I got there without really exerting myself! I was on my Surly Cross Check upright city bike, which matched with my riding outfit quite well. I spent the initial downtime taking various photos until the first few riders showed up close to 10AM.
Penny Farthing FTW
One of the most memorable bike and rider that arrived early was Charly. His mode of transportation for the day was a borrowed penny farthing from Atomic Cycles. I had a brief conversation with Charly, and he told me he had ridden up from Cypress Park, which meant he was riding uphill for a little over 3 miles to get to our meeting point at the Highland Park Metro Gold Line station. Charly was probably one of the most popular dude on the ride as I saw and continue to see photos of him on almost everybody’s social network updates. People even caught him doing handstands when he wasn’t on the penny farthing.
Between 10AM to 10:30, the crowd of cyclists both dressed in tweed and not, continued to grow until it ballooned close to 300+ riders (unofficially). I helped collect waiver signatures and walked around checking out people’s bikes and outfits. People were friendly and patient. We quickly overwhelmed the street next to the train station where people started to spill out onto the streets while we waited for Dan and Julia to make their announcements about the rules of the ride and introduce key constituents. We even had media coverage in the beginning, but didn’t see any after we started our ride.
Stop 1: Judson Studios
The first stop was the Judson Studios. The ride rolled down York Blvd as our huge group of cyclists took over the entire lane until we reached our destination on Avenue 66. The studio was opened in 1897 by artist William Lees Judson dedicated in producing artistic stain glass across the country. This is a family owned shop for 5 generations still producing beautiful work of arts. Typically with these rides, the ride leaders have limited opportunities to check out the locations. I did not get to go in because I ended up helping a stranded cyclist whose Public bike had a rear flat. I normally don’t enjoy changing tires, but this one only took me a few minutes to fix. I still wasn’t fast enough to catch up to the rest of the group as we rolled out towards our next stop.
Stop 2: Lummis House
The group ended up stopping at the entrance to the Arroyo Seco bike path which bottlenecked the amount of cyclists riding through the dedicated bike path. We eventually regrouped at the other end and proceeded to ride out to our next stop, the Lummis House. This house was built by Charles Fletcher Lummis in the late 19th century. This stone building is considered a historical landmark and the interiors held many old artifacts and books. I actually had the chance to walk through the house and see these artifacts in person.
Stop 3: Audubon Center at Debs Park
We made our way back around to the entrance of the Arroyo Seco bike path, but instead of reentering the path, we made our way to Debs Park and continued the steepest ascend of the ride to the Audubon Center at Debs Park. We explored the center, which had many areas for visitors to enjoy the shade and learn about sustainable living. I was able to walk around and take some photos at various locations at the center. This was probably the shortest stop. We left the center within 30 minutes of everyone refilling their water bottles and began our descent down the parking lot and onto Griffin Ave. We passed by the house with metal insect sculptures and continued on as the street became Avenue 52.
Our group took a right on Marmion Way and rode parallel to the Gold Line train tracks. We eventually got back to our stop at the Highland Park Gold Line Station. Numerous people decided to leave the group and head home, while many riders wanted to go to the afterparty! There was probably about 100+ riders remaining, so we continued our ride leader duties and led our group.
Bonus Stop : Hermosillo
On the way there, I noticed a couple stopped at the side of the road looking for something. Apparently his chain fell off, and he needed to find a link that fell off. Lucky for him, I was able to locate the missing link, but unfortunately, nobody had a chain breaking tool. Another volunteer had a cable lock and suggested he tow the stranded cyclist while I pushed him up the hill. It was an unwieldy ride, but it worked very well as we towed and pushed him to The Hermosillo on York Blvd.
We enjoyed the beverages and conversations at the Hermosillo. They had a large variety of beers which included an interesting Coconut Curry Hefeweizen. I think I’ll be going back later to check this place out. CICLE also gave away awards to best-dressed men & women, best hat, and best mustache. I was one of the judges, so I couldn’t win. I did, however, get a cool Metro bow tie. They finally raffled off a rare Fat Tire bicycle.
Even though the day was uncomfortably hot, people still stuck it through in their tweed and made the best of it. Everybody was positive all around and that’s the way we ride leaders like it. I’m so glad I was able to be part of this year’s tweed ride. I just wish it had been cooler. I heard it’s been this hot for the past 3 years of tweed riding. I guess some things just don’t change when you do a tweed ride in Los Angeles.