The first Watts Happening Ride I organized five years ago was a simple there-and-back to Watts Towers from the Cornfield downtown, spurred on by the lamentable fact that as a native angeleno I had spent my whole life to-date never having been to the true treasure that is the amazing, inspiring and enduring work of Simon Rodia.
In its various editions since (the last one taking place in 2010), the Watts Happening Ride’s destinations have grown well beyond the iconic towers to include a variety of landmarks involving people, places and events in and around South Los Angeles.
The 2012 incarnation of the Watts Happening Ride will be departing from Silver Lake on Saturday, February 18 at 9 a.m., and will include the addition of a couple locations I’ve recently found. So if you’re not heading out of town for the long weekend and have a hankering to get your bike-riding discovery on, I hope you’ll join me.
For the latest info and any updates, the ride’s Facebook page is here.
When: February 18, gathering at 8:30 for a 9 a.m. departure Start/Finish: Silver Lake’s Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign (northwest corner of Sunset Boulevard & Benton Way) Distance: 32.95 miles (route map) Pace: Casual Terrain: Flat Weather: In the event of rain that morning, the ride will be canceled and rescheduled to a later date. Approximate Time: 5-6 hours Optional Partial Ride: If doing the full route isn’t feasible, consider joining the ride at approximately 9:30 a.m. downtown on Spring Street (anywhere between 2nd & 9th streets) for the roughly 9-mile portion to the Watts Towers. The 103rd Street Blue Line station is near to the towers and can be an alternative to get you back into downtown. Things You’ll Need (in no particular order): A functioning bicycle; $7 for the half-hour optional tour of Watts Towers; snacks and water for along the way; money for a late lunch at King Taco.
This year, the Amgen Tour of California bike race got as close to Los Angeles as Mt. San Antonio a/k/a Mt. Baldy. Now, race organizers have announced that the 2012 Tour will finish at L.A. Live. Details are still sketchy as to just how the finish will take place next May, but it could be like the Tour de France finish in Paris, where the racers make a series of high-speed laps around the Champs-Elysees to the delight of cheering crowds.
The 2012 Tour will also again include a stage at Mt. Baldy, which is becoming the equivalent of the Alps in the Tour de France. So if you’re thinking of trying to compete in the 2012 race or ride the local stages of the route yourself, you have about six months to get those legs and lungs in shape.
According to the email, “[w]e hope to use the data from this fun and civic-participatory event to furnish evidence for the need for more urban planning integrating mass transit, cycling, and walking. Bicycle counts are basic city planning tools that help change policy to encourage cycling. Most major US and European cities have them. This will be LA’s first, and we plan to do it right while having a good time.”
Some of our local biker/bloggers may have further insight into this issue. Otherwise, this sounds like a worthwhile endeavor to me. If you would like to have some influence in choosing the intersections to be included in the census, click here. And count me in for two bikes and a pair of feet!