What is a better way to extend that Valentine’s Day love than to ride your bike in the Ride 4 Love? That was what hundreds of riders did on the beautiful Saturday morning of February 15th with CICLE and Eastside Riders Bike Club, sponsored by Metro Los Angeles. The ride highlighted all the positive changes in the City of Watts as our group of cyclists rode for 10 miles with members of Eastside Riders Bike Club and CICLE volunteers leading the way and making sure folks were safe and enjoying their time.
Start: Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC)
The riders met at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) which is located at 10950 S. Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90059. I was part of a 3-person meet-up group that assembled at the 7th and Metro train station in Downtown Los Angeles. We met at 8:30AM and decided to take the Blue Line down to the 103rd / Watts Towers train station. From there, we raced over to the WLCAC in order to get our ride t-shirts and meet other participants.
There was already a group of people there as we arrived a little past 9AM. The ride was supposed to start at 9:30AM, but more people seemed to trickle in even past that time. I had the opportunity to check out all the bicycles at the location. Unlike any of the other CICLE rides, some of these bicycles were customized and their owners displayed them like trophies. You had stretched out bikes, low rider bikes, and tall bikes. There was a swing bike, which swiveled from the seat post as well as from the head post. Plenty of fixies and tricycles, as well. With the diverse variety of bikes, the crowd was just as diverse, consisting of members of bicycle groups, such as the Eastside Riders, Los Ryderz, and Chopaderos. After we helped CICLE obtain waivers and passed out Metro buttons and raffle tickets, introductions, instructions and finally the winners of the raffle for bike bells were announced.
The ride finally took off and we headed south down Central Ave before we turned left on 114th Street. As we rolled through the neighborhood, curious people started to come out of their homes to inquire about our group. We rang our bells, honked our bicycle horns, and played our music as we greeted the citizens of Watts with smiles and waves. There were even kids on their Razor scooters scooting and flying along the way as dolphins would accompany a boat through the ocean.
We eventually made our way up towards 103rd Street. There was suppose to be a stop at the Mudtown Farms on Grape Street, but due to the size of our group, the leaders of the ride decided to just continue riding until we reached 107th and Mona Blvd. There, we took some time to let people catch their breaths and take in some fluids. The sun finally broke free from the overcast and was shining brightly on us. Many people took out their cameras to take photos to document this break.
When we started our way down Mona Blvd, the same hospitality that we witnessed earlier also existed as a family with a young boy and his father passed out oranges (which I presume were grown from their property) to several riders. One of our riders gave out individually wrapped candy to all the kids that we passed (this only reminded me of my early lessons in school to not take candy from strangers). We finally came to our stop at the world famous Watts Towers.
End: The Watts Towers
The last time I was at the Watts Towers was about 2 years ago. I also came by bike with a different group of cyclists and had the opportunity to take a walking tour of the museum and learn about the towers. We actually got to go in the gated towers to take a closer look back then. This was a different ride as we would have overwhelmed the guides with the sheer number of people. Instead, we all hung out in the courtyard right next to the towers and took as many photos as possible. We also got to take a huge group shot of the riders.
Lunch At The Park
We spent about 30 minutes at the Watts Towers before we gathered to escort people back to WLCAC. One of the bike clubs decided to ride on their own, so we said our goodbyes and departed as we pedaled off on our separate ways. When we reached WLCAC, most people quickly loaded their bikes in or on their cars. A few of us who traveled there by bike and public transportation, decided to enjoy lunch at a local burger place called B.D. Burgers which is located on the corner of 103rd and Central Ave. For under $10 we got a huge burger (turkey, for me) which weighed about a pound, along with french fries and a jumbo drink. Some of the more hungrier folks, opted for what they called “The Ulitmate” which was probably the biggest burger I’ve seen. It’s probably the size of 2 really big burgers from Carls Jr. along with a jumbo drink and a sizeable order of fries. We all had a spontaneous picnic across the street at the Will Rogers Memorial Park under the shade of trees. It was a perfect ending to a perfect ride, stuffed and happy to ride again.
If you would like to join me or CICLE (Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange) on any future rides, please visit http://cicle.org or contact me directly through this site’s contact page and we’ll let you know when the next ride will take place. I heard that the next one in March is going to be Art Night in Pasadena so come join us!