On an early Saturday morning, the squad rolled up, suited in our yellow jerseys, ready for an adventure. Although we were all pretty grumpy, hungry, and tired, we mustered up the energy as we rode in our mini-vans to the beach cities.
After listening to Miller’s tunes (his favorite band is 21 Pilots if anyone was wondering), we got to Culver City ready to roll.
Another sunny Friday afternoon featured our yellow jersey-clad class cruising down the Pacific Electric Trail and maneuvering hectic streets towards our final destination of the Pitzer in Ontario’s new headquarters in downtown Ontario. While a beautiful ride, there were distinct differences to some of the other cities we have visited throughout the semester. In all of Ontario, we saw no bike lanes. Cars whizzed past us (including one that called out “sexy bike boys,” providing the inspiration for this post’s title), making me very glad to be riding with a large group of brightly appareled classmates, and not on my own. The Pitzer in Ontario building was the headquarters for Wheelhouse, an organization that aims to provide resources to Ontario community members looking to learn more about biking. From offering access to tools to repair bikes to safety classes to a Build-a-Bike program for area youth, Wheelhouse is working to be a biking hub for the community. One of our very own, Cade, will actually be running this program as a full-time job beginning in June!
Last Friday evening the team took to the streets at night to test our riding-in-the-dark skills. Decked out with flashing lights and warm clothes, we met up with members of the Claremont Meetup group Adventure Cycling near the Metro station. It was a bit of a change of pace, so to speak, to gather with other cyclists without policymakers or activists or anyone involved representing the city. It was a casual 20-mile out-and-back trip along the Pacific Electric Trail, to Rancho Cucamonga.
Our day began by meeting at the Linde Activities Center (LAC) to grab a quick bite to eat; we then biked down to Claremont’s Metrolink station. While we waited for the train, we coincidentally ran into John Trendler of the Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition! We brought our bikes into the “Bicycle Car,” noted with a big yellow sign. After about half an hour on the train, we got off at El Monte, where we were met by John Lloyd, a history professor and bike activist from Cal Poly Pomona, Amy Wong from Bike San Gabriel Valley and Dan Strich a Mudd Alumni who generously gave a gift to HMC to help sponsor our class. We were also met by Peter Weinberger, the Editor-in-Chief of the Claremont Courier, who agreed to operate a drone with a video camera that would follow us throughout the day while we biked. After our introductions, Amy and Dan explained where we would be riding, and we were off!
Culver City was the first stop on our all day bike tour extravaganza. We departed from Harvey Mudd in cars rather than bikes because it would have been over a 4 hour and 22 minute bike ride (according to Google Maps). The two U-hauls and three cars all reconvened at Jackson Market & Deli where Harvey Mudd Finance Professor/ Bicycle Revolution superstar Gary Evans provided the entire group with amazing sandwiches for lunch. We were so lucky to be able to meet with three different bicycle superstars: Jim Shanman, Culver City Safe Routes to School Coordinator and cofounder of the Culver City Bike Coalition, Charles Herbertson, Culver City Director of Public Works & City Engineer, and Meghan Sahli-Wells, cofounder of the Culver City Bike Coalition and city council incumbent currently running for reelection.
The Citrus Bikeway is an island in the midst of the car-dominated Inland Empire. It runs through 4 cities, connecting with the PG&E bike trail at its eastern edge. This week we hopped on and headed to La Verne, lead by Doug Strange of Cycling around La Verne.
Today we had our first real class (our class last week was safety training). I, and others I spoke to, were quite excited to start our rides! We first convened at the Linde Activities Center at Harvey Mudd College. Wearing a jersey myself and surrounded by others doing the same, I felt as if I were about start some race or long ride.
And then we were off. The ride wasn’t long or fast at all, but definitely felt empowering to be part of such a large group. When I ride by myself, especially on busy suburban roads, it can be scary to be close to so much fast moving traffic. In a large group, however, I certainly felt as if drivers must have noticed us.