Monday, July 14, 2008

"Rider Up!"

That's the usual courtesy "safety call" to cyclists in the back on the narrow San Gabriel river bike path.

Riders yell those words to alert trailing cyclists of "oncoming traffic."

On July 12th, a certain club with red- white- and blue kits slowly went up the north-bound lane of the SG bike trail.

If you were on the receiving end of this, you would have had to endure two minutes worth of riders calling "Rider up!" That's how long the group was. Fortunately the pace was a stroll in the park.

It was just a regular monthly picnic ride. But it was the biggest attendance yet. Perhaps 50 cyclists showed up. (More than 40 cyclists were there in the morning to start. Another 10 or so members showed up later.)

What a sight to behold. 50 riders in a glorious red- white- and- blue line along the SG bike trail.

We've come a long way, baby.

Congratulations to the founding members. We are standing on your shoulders, and carrying your torch forward.

By an informal count we now have 80 active members, based on visual observation of cyclists who show up at regular rides, as well as members who regularly post in Yahoo messages, and people who paid dues (which is still well short of 80, but somehow the club sustains its activities with vibrancy). Although the Yahoo board has a listing of over 200 members, that includes dormant users, guests from other clubs or out of town, and users with duplicate IDs.

If you were not there on this day, at least you can see the photos. The vibe was simply electric. In the morning as people began trickling into Liberty Park, the parking lot was awash in a sea of vivid red- white- and- blue AdoboVelo jerseys.

They came from all over: Duarte. Orange County. San Diego. Southbay. Los Angeles. Moorpark. Liberty Park-area. And so on. Everyone was chatting, joking, and catching up. Old and new faces were there.

We had a group photo. Then the ride started. The first natural waiting point was at the entrance to Beverly Blvd, Mile # 12 from Libert Park. We stopped to gather up the group, which by now had splintered.

There is an unspoken truth: Riders come in different levels. All are welcome. Group A riders always get there first. Group B ("bagal") and Group C ("culelat") riders arrive later. The A's wait up for the B's and C's. At the start of Bevely Blv, the B's and C's were told to proceed, to give them a much needed head-start. The A's eventually caught up with them when the road turnd vertical at Turnbull Canyon. 50 AdoboVelo riders filled up the mountain road.

In Hacienda Heights we went on to scale the steep one-mile Punta-del-Este (10%-16% gradient). On the return trip, the 7-11 store on the corner of Haciena Blvd got a lot of business. We estimate that in a span of 15 minutes we purchased the equivalent of 8 gallons of sports drinks or plain water.

Now for a little historical perspective: Four or 5 years ago, a few riders had begun to ride together. They were from all over metro L.A., but they would bump into each other at the San Gabriel River bike trail, or PCF, or the Carson criterium. For a couple of years they rode without club colors. Finally, they yearned for a common jersey, a common identity, an organization. They wanted to fly under their own colors.

The needed ingredients immediately fell into place. There was a sufficient number of regular and dedicated riders. There was the internet: They set up a Yahoo group board. They needed a name. They bounced around many ideas. We almost became name SCIGA ("Southern California something-something"). The acronym spelled out a Pinoy word that means the neighborhood bully. It was on the verge of become official. Suddenly, out of nowehere, someone suggested AdoboVelo. It was a natural. Like wildfire it was adopted without resistance. Finally, the uniform was produced. That, along with the Yahoo board and the regular rides, made it feel like a club.

We've come a long way.

Here's how you can help to sustain the club and keep it vibrant and fun:
  • Continue to be nice and courteous, as you've always been, to fellow members and the general public on the bike trail. We are all ambassadors of goodwill. The good name of AdoboVelo is all we have.
  • Don't be shy. Post comments on Yahoo board or Shoutbox. We need your input and encouragement. The more we hear from you, the easier to encourage new members, and solicit future sponsorship.
  • Membership dues help to defray expenses for the picnic , Tour de Francis, and other activities. Thankfully many volunteers again and again donate food, gasoline, cash, and time. Your dues will help. It's $50 annually, to sustain a vibrant club friendly vibes. If you're only an occassional rider, you can pay a prorated fee of 50% of the $50. Honesty basis. Please contact Treasurer RYAN or Asst. Treasurer ABE "Agimat" if you want to settle your dues.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Often times, joggers, walkers & bikers misunderstood the upcoming cyclist warning instructions when approaching. We need to be specific when we yell to alert people. Not all citizens know the proper etiquette whether you're riding, jogging or simply just walker your dogs. Be extra careful when riding on river beds.