Why Is a 'Mad Men' Producer Riding His Bike to the Emmys?

Tom Smuts - H 2015
Courtesy of Peter Smuts

Tom Smuts - H 2015

Forget limos. Producer Tom Smuts — along with other industry insiders like actor Aaron Eckhart and producer Alex Cary ('Homeland') — will be traveling to the event via a 17-mile bike ride to demonstrate the pleasures and viability of two-wheel transport: "When people … ask, 'What are you wearing?' I can say I'm wearing something that I rode here in."

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

"If Hollywood could make smoking cool, it’s interesting to see what it could do for cycling." So says writer and Emmy nominee Tom Smuts, who, rather than contend with limo pools or Uber surges, will pedal 17 miles from his Santa Monica home to the Microsoft Theater. Smuts, who’s nominated for outstanding drama series along with the rest of the producers of Mad Men, led a smaller ride last year — the Television Academy took a cautious approach and limited the headcount — but the academy and broadcaster Fox have been far more accommodating this year, setting up a bike valet on the red carpet for Smuts’ industry-heavy posse. Participants include Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Night) and Jon Huertas (Castle), as well as producers Alex Cary (Homeland) and James Younger (Through the Wormhole).

Smuts, who bike-commutes to work "three or four times a week," wanted the event to make a statement about urban riding. Councilman Mike Bonin is one of a number of city officials joining the ride, and the procession will stop at a pop-up station in Venice to promote the bike-share program (similar to New York’s Citi Bike) that is being launched downtown next spring. "I’d love to have a city that has a better bike infrastructure for cyclists," says Smuts.

Don’t expect spandex-clad stars; the event is supported by luxe British cycling clothier Rapha (www.rapha.cc/se/en), which is outfitting participants with tailored shirts, blazers and a newly launched trouser ($175-195, depending on fabric) that was designed by Alex Valdman, a third-generation garment maker who has worked with Kanye West and is Levi Strauss’ former global menswear designer. Says Smuts: "When people on the red carpet ask, 'What are you wearing?' I can say I’m wearing something that I rode here in. The transition from the bike to the real world does not have to be as elaborate as people imagine."