Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Details on the ride

And so it came to pass that the first ever Tour de Watts was a roaring success.

The day started out like most of the other Bike Winter days in Southern California; sunny and beautiful.

Alas the Dallas Raines and Johnny Mountains of LA’s TV forecasters were right – Rain!

Oh horrid rain – for a moment I thought the Tour de Watts would be doomed.

But alas I noticed something else trickling in, Bikes! And their riders! One, then another then another, and then a sister and brother!

Over 30 riders showed up and participated on the Tour de Watts!

We all huddled close together by the Watts Towers Arts Center under the cover a eucalyptus tree for a quick respite from the torrential rain that battered us as we entered the first Storm Watch of 2006.

We all made introductions and gave ourselves stern looks of fierce determination and knew in our hearts the ride must go on.

We began west on 107th street at which point we turned north on Graham where we encountered a large hill, well actually it was more like a mound, which we all conquered with minimal effort.

Turning left on 103rd street we rode past the Metro Blue Line Station, Watts City Hall, the Alma Reeves Woods Watts Branch Library and Ted Watkins Park.

Cars honked and people gazed questioningly at us riding down the drenched pavement.

We turned south on Central Avenue and rode down the bike lane on Central passing the Maxine Waters Employment development Center, and the Watts Labor Community Action Committee.

As we reached Imperial Highway we stopped for a minute to look at the Compton creek. At this point the creek doesn’t have a bike path it starts a few miles to the south.

We rode and wound our way through a few neighborhoods just south of Watts in unincorporated section of LA County known as Willowbrook.

We reached El Segundo Boulevard and the entrance to the bike path along the Compton Creek, we stopped to let a few of our riders catch up that had a few technical difficulties. We chatted a little bit about the history of Watts, and some of the surrounding areas and about the creek itself.

Once regrouped, we set out to ride the Compton creek bike path that extends along some 5.5 miles through Compton , although it breaks at street crossings (some of the street crossings are safer than others, point that shouldn’t be lost on any city planners that might be reading this right now).

The bike path ends for a moment on Greenleaf which runs parallel to the 91 Freeway. We headed east on Greenleaf then south on Santa Fe, and then on a little patch of deserted old railroad track we re-entered the remaining part of the bike path. What is most amazing is that from the street you would never know that a bike path just on the other side of those railroad tracks…Again city planners anyone listening?

What is sad about the lack of signage, particularly in that stretch of the bike path, is that it is the most beautiful part of the bike path. Here is a bike path in the middle of an urban industrial area of flanked by warehouses, but along the creek lies an eco system of water plants that sustain a variety of animal life, heron and egrets fly about, ducks happily swim around, and crawfish and other water critters inhabit the marshland. Here is great example of urban green space and what it could look like all over the city.

We waited a while at the entrance of the bike path to take it all in, and to help a few riders with some flats.

We rode in the pouring rain, down the bike path towards Del Amo Blvd to the end, where we all gave ourselves a cheer for being hard core urban cyclists in true bike winter form.

Half of our group opted to take the Blue Line back, the other half stayed to have some burgers and hot chocolate ( I know it’s an odd combination, but when you’re cold and hungry it works).

We rode back the same way we came, and as we reached the Watts Towers the sun began to poke through the clouds. The rain gods sure do have a sense of humor.

A few shout outs:

Thanks to bikeboom.com and all the people that helped to put Bicycle Winter together.

Thanks to the Bicycle Kitchen for their help promoting le Tour de Watts.

Thanks to the LACBC for their help in promoting.

Thanks to Weavers Cleaners on Compton for putting up our poster.

Thanks to our local bike shops on Compton and 111th and Wilmington and 113th for putting up our posters.

Thanks to Randy for help with the T-shirt design.

Thanks to the staff at the Watts Towers Arts Center for letting us dry off for a little bit.

Thanks to Alex Kenefick for help with planning the route.

Thanks to my family for putting up with me while I was planning this thing.

Thanks to the homies from the spot that rolled through

Thanks to Joe Banuelos Area 4 rep for the Watts Neighborhood Council for following us around.

And Thanks to everyone that came for making the first ever Tour de Watts such a wonderful event!

We’ll be having more rides so stay tuned for future rides!

4 Comments:

Anonymous IMBG said...

To whoever tried to post TdW pics to the Bikewinter photo gallery: the webmaster at Cicle.org, where the gallery is hosted, would like you to contact her/him at info (at) cicle (dot) org. The pics didn't go through.

6:30 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:32 AM

 
Blogger George Forgan-Smith said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:00 AM

 
Anonymous Sean Cody said...

Hey there Mate, Thanks for sharing your point of view.
Clearly you have put a lot of thought to the topic, it's appreicated.

Have a great one.
Sean Cody

10:43 PM

 

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