The Los Angeles River Ride is put together by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and is their biggest event and fundraiser to make Los Angeles a better place to ride. Living in LA I’ve traveled hundreds of mile on the LA River Bike Path and it seriously needs major improvements. This year was the 13th annual ride and included a 25, 36, 50, 70 and 100 mile rides.
I decided to register for the 70 mile ride. The route started at the Long Beach Aquarium up to the LA Zoo and back. The ride went through the LA River Bike Path and through the LA streets till the turnaround point at the LA Zoo. After registering it was now time to gather my cycling buddies and see who would join me. Bang and Hussein did the Tour de Cure with me so I knew they would be up for this ride. Oswald has been cycling for almost as long as I’ve known him and really enjoyed the Rosarito Ensenada ride so I knew he would be in. Mando was eager to do a tour but wasn’t sure witch one as he had never road past 40 miles. I got them all to register and we had a nice group to explore LA.
The ride got off to a great start, we left Long Beach and headed to our first check station at a good pace. We didn’t need much of a rest at the first stop so we pushed to the second station at Hollenbeck Park. Here we took a few minutes to refill our water bottles and use the restroom. As we left Hollenbeck Park Bang felt a his chain getting stuck as he pedaled. I road behind him and saw that the chain had jumped out the back rim disks and got stuck between the rim and the disk. Usually at these ride stops they have a bike station to help you with any mechanical problems you might have. luck for us we hadn’t left the are yet and were able to stop and talk to someone about this.
The bike tech took some time and could not figure out what was happening. He told Bang that the back derailleur had been damaged and there was nothing he could do, we later found out that was wrong. For a second we thought that after about 20 plus miles Bang wont be able to continue on the ride and that really sucked. Its a good thing that we all carry smart phones these days because we were able to find a bike shop about a mile away on Ceaser Chavez Blvd. that could service the bike.
We arrived at this small Mexican owned bike shop that could not have been bigger then a standard apartment kitchen. We gave the man the bike and told him we were having gear problems, he didn’t need anymore info and went straight to work. In no time he found what the issue was and was working on fixing the problem and greasing the chain so we can be on our way. This man only charged us 5 bucks to fix the bike issue and the other bike tech really had no clue what was going on. This set up back about 1.5 hours on our ride so now we had time to make up.
When we got to the turn around point at the LA Zoo we had a quick snack and decided that if we wanted to make up time we weren’t going to take any more stops. There is not much of a spectacular view on this ride other then cycling through Downtown LA. A big portion of the ride goes through the LA River bed and besides the creative graffiti and weird smell theres nothing much to tell. We put our heads down and powered through the last 35 miles passing by all the stops and only looking towards that finish line. I got to tell you the last 10 miles were the toughest. The beach winds were strong and they were pulling us back, as fast as we tried to cycle it was not happening. Mando who had never road this kind of distance did great. He even caught a second wind on the last mile and raced to cross the finish line before any of us. He still talks about how he beat all of us even though the difference was a few seconds.