Some 60 to 70 bicyclists pedaled roughly 10 miles Saturday across North Figueroa Street, York Boulevard, Eagle Rock Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard in support of the Department of Transportation’s plan to install bike lanes in the area.
The riders began from the Flying Pigeon store on Figueroa Street in Cypress Park. Along the way, they stopped at the campaign offices of CD 1 candidates José Gardea and Gil Cedillo, where they urged campaign staff to post a bike lanes flyer in the office windows.
The next stop was Galco’s Old World Grocery on York Boulevard, where the bikers shopped for a variety of goods. Galco’s owner John Nese, who has opposed the plan to create bike lanes by taking away auto traffic lanes, appeared happy to see the crowd of bikers and regaled some of them with stories about sodas and beers. (See video.)
From Galco’s, the bikers rode to Eagle Rock Boulevard, headed north toward Colorado and stopped at Casa Bianca, where a partially obscured sign condemning bike lanes faces the boulevard. The hungry riders picked up pizzas and sandwiches from the restaurant, which they had on the lawns of Eagle Rock City Hall.
The final destination was Colorado Wine Company, whose husband-and-wife owners Jennifer Morgan and John Nugent are known to be avid supporters of bikes, bikers and bike lanes.
“We do three rides a month out of our shop, mainly as a way of promoting a type of cycling that we do, which is not for sporting people but more for regular, everyday cyclists,” said Flying Pigeon owner Josef Bray-Ali, the ride’s organizer and a noted biking evangelist. “It’s a way to show that our neighborhood and our city is ideally suited for a convivial, fun time with your neighbors and friends.”
This month, however, Bray-Ali and his “followers” are devoting all three of their rides specifically to promoting bike lane projects.
“I thought, instead of going to the Eagle Rock Brewery or downtown, why don’t we go to all these businesses that have allegedly opposed bicycles and show them that we’re of and from your neighborhood, we love this community and we wish you take down that disgusting sign with a bike rider and a circle and a slash through it,” Bray-Ali said.
Bray-Ali said he had a conversation with a young female employee at Casa Bianca who told him that the restaurant’s owners were worried about losing parking around their business if bike lanes are introduced on Colorado. “I thought that was funny because there is no parking that will be removed in front of their business, but that is what she has been told,” Bray-Ali said, referring to a disinformation campaign by some opponents of bike lanes that is allegedly underway.
“This issue isn’t a we-hate-cars-and-love-bikes versus we-hate bikes-and-love cars type of thing,” he said. “That just pits people against each other when they have so much in common with each other. And that’s why we did this ride today. We have buying power, and we have our morals and our ethics that we can share with other people.”