The Homestead Blog

Creating advocates for history through the stories of greater Los Angeles.

Riding a bike is “wheelie” fun!

The Homestead’s annual Ticket to the Twenties festival is coming next weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21, from 3 to 7 p.m. Did we mention that admission is free? As part of the festivities, we will be trying something new by offering free bike valet. While one might not immediately think of cycling when it comes to the museum’s location, the San Gabriel Valley’s cycling scene has been growing steadily, thanks to local groups like BikeSGV and projects like the protected bikeway on Rosemead Boulevard in Temple City. In addition, California’s “Three Feet for Safety Act” will take effect on September 16 (just in time for our event!), and will hopefully make the roads less treacherous for all who travel by bike.

Cycling has a long history in the Los Angeles area, with riding groups popping up in the late-nineteenth century. As safety bicycles became the norm and replaced the penny-farthings of yore, more and more people came out to enjoy the freedom of the road on two wheels. “Safeties” were called so because they were far safer than their high-wheeled predecessors, whose pedals were directly attached to the front wheel, did not have brakes, and had as large a front wheel as possible in order to gain a decent amount of speed.

With the introduction of inflatable tires by John Dunlop in the late 1880s and changeable gears a few decades later, cycling became not only safer, but also more comfortable and efficient than ever. The new even-wheeled design, a structure still seen on bikes today, allowed women in all kinds of dress to pick up their bikes and ride freely—certainly in tune with the spirit of the 1920s, when women gained the right to vote, hemlines went up past the knees (gasp!), and bobbed haircuts were all the rage. High-wheel bicycles were more challenging to mount, especially during their heyday in the mid-1800s when women’s skirts dared not rise above their ankles.

As you get ready to plan your week ahead, consider dusting off your wheels, oiling your chain, and riding to the Homestead’s Ticket to the Twenties festival. We’re located at 15415 E. Don Julian Rd. in the City of Industry. Before you check out Steven and Shaun Thomas on their vintage bikes and neat display, drop your bike off with the friendly folks of BikeSGV, who will keep a close eye on your bike for free. To top it all off, we’ve scoped out a few bike routes to the Homestead ranging in difficulty (below). As always, follow the rules of the road and be safe out there!

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This entry was posted on September 12, 2014 by in Festivals, Programs and tagged , , , .
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