Los Angeles, CA | December 20, 2013 | by Yovany Moreno
During the L.A Riots of 1992, negative images resulting from the chaos were propagated through news outlets and viewed around the globe. Thereafter, the perception of the southern region of L.A, where South Central, Compton and Watts coexist, became tainted. While money repaired many buildings the damage it did to the community as a whole was catastrophic.
Fast-forward to Watts 2013 and pause. There's change in progress and you can feel it in the air...as they cycle past you. For 4 months I biked with the East Side Riders Bike Club, a team in Los Angeles that meets with cyclists from various areas, age groups, and ethnic backgrounds, and come together as one to ride a bike. Led by Club President, John Jones III, they all ride together to one rhythm under the sun. Every pedal they push seemed to take them further away from 1992.
Transforming these towns one by one, little by little, ESRBC is "Changing the Cycle." From fighting the ills that come from obesity such as diabetes and heart disease, to spreading positive energies such as bringing a sense of community, feeding the homeless, and raising hit-and-run awareness with Ghost Bikes; the East Side Rides bike club has been impacting Los Angeles since 2008. You can find them riding along with Los Riderz and other clubs together forming the super club, United Riders. You can find them riding either in Tour De Watts, the Love Ride, Ciclavia, or selflessly cleaning up Watts on Martin Luther King Jr's Observance day.
ESRBC has also been a strong advocate in adding Bike Lanes in L.A and are succeeding at the goal. Ramsey Nicholson, a South L.A community member, notices the generosity of the club and the difference they are making by noting, "What John is doing, is empowering the community to work together. There's lots of benefits that East Side Riders have done, and a lot of bridges that have been crossed culturally, between Watts and South East L.A, [and] between different races. It's a good opportunity for Los Angeles to see something positive that originated from South East Los Angeles." This is the beginning of a new era that future generations will thank them for.