The 2012 edition of my Watts Happening Ride took place this past picture-perfect Saturday, and it was my complete pleasure to share the following landmark people, places and events I’ve discovered there with the 28 cyclists who joined me:
The last residence of jazz great Jelly Roll Morton
The childhood home of Nobel Prize Winner Ralph Bunche
The location of the 1969 Black Panthers shootout
The Hotel Dunbar, centerpiece of the Historic Central Avenue Jazz Corridor
The location of the 1974 SLA shootout
The actual fictional location of the Sanford and Son Salvage Yard
The Watts Towers of Simon Rodia
The location of the incident setting off the 1965 Watts Riots
The home of Eula Love, killed by police in 1979 as a result of a past-due gas bill dispute
The motel where legendary singer Sam Cooke was killed
The flashpoint of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots
The location of Wrigley Field, demolished in 1966.
Unfortunately, the above annotated timelapse video abruptly ends at the third-to-last location we visited, leaving me to discover that I need to get a bigger memory card if I want to capture the entire 33-mile, six-hour tour on camera the next time — and there will be a next time. I hope you’ll join me.
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.