Saturday, October 25, 2008
BARACKCYCLE 4! Rides Through NELA
Today we had our last regular Obama bike ride, BARACKCYCLE 4! which rode a 17-mile route from Olvera Street through Chinatown, Lincoln Heights, Mt. Washington, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Atwater Vilage, Elysian Valley, Cypress Park, then back through the industrial areas north of Downtown back to where we started.
The pack met at the plaza at Olvera Street, as I rushed to head over via Red Line. We spent the time attaching the Obama signs to our bikes using a hole puncher and zip tie, and I also distributed spoke cards - thanks again, Stephen Box for the lamination services - and the "BARACKCYCLE!" logo buttons my sister made.
This was the first time none of the previous BARACKCYCLE! regulars were on the ride, a lot of them had other commitements. Still, we had about 11 people ride out. As each ride is in a different area, we got a different group of riders. This time, the majority of the riders were male. (Only one female rider rode, in contrast to BARACKCYCLE 3! which was all-female, save for me and two other dudes), Latino - I learned a new Obama cheer - "¡OBAMANOS!" - and the riders rode primarily road bikes. The ride was also rather quick; we finished before 2:30 p.m.
We also made pitstops at the Flying Pigeon bike shop in Highland Park for some air, grease, and a cool-down break (Josef wasn't yet in). We also dropped by the Northeast L.A. Democratic headquarters, in a minimall located at Figueroa and the Gold Line tracks, where we said "hi" to the staff, and they treated us to coffee, water, donuts and bagels. Some of the group also bought some Obama shirts they had for sale there.
Afterwards, we ended up on the campus of Occidental College in Eagle Rock, where Obama spent his first two years of college, from 1979 to 1981. We got to stop outside the Haines Hall dorm, where Obama lived during his freshman year:
It's also been said that the multicultural atmosphere of L.A. influenced Obama, as he arrived from Hawaii as "Barry Obama" and left as a transfer student to Columbia as Barack.
Instead of taking lunch in Eagle Rock, since we were well ahead on time, we just continued on and decided to finish the ride and get lunch at Philippe's. Incidentally, we saw a few other people wear "Obama-Biden" buttons.
Another great ride meeting some great folks. So what next for BARACKCYCLE!? If Obama wins, I plan to organize a victory ride in November, and also an Inauguration ride in January. I also plan to continue the last-Saturday-of-the-month ride in a different form, perhaps as a general L.A. tour, with stops at a couple eateries.