At 10 a.m. on Aug. 31, and every last Saturday of the month, the Ride On! bike shop will host “Cycling Cuz We Can,” a recreational bike ride, starting at its Leimert Park location, 4319 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles.
“Generally its about a 10-mile ride,” owner Ade’ E. Neff said. “We try to keep it as safe as possible and try to encourage people who aren’t too comfortable on bikes to come out.”
Although the event is for beginners and is family oriented, Ride On! prefers riders in the group to be over the age of 11.
“We definitely don’t want somebody on training wheels,” Neff said. “They should have decent bike skills.”
Riders can bring their own bikes and helmets, or rent bikes with helmets at the shop at a cost of $20 for the day. Registration is not necessary.
“They can just show up and be here by 9:30,” Neff added. “So when we ride out at 10, everybody can be together.”
Ride On! is passionate about getting people out of their cars and onto bikes — for their health and the health of the planet.
Another concern is for bicycle equity in South L.A. and getting safe infrastructure for riders.
“We’ll ride on the streets with the least amount of traffic and most bike accessibility,” Neff said, “We’re looking for more bike infrastructure in the city. Bike lanes, protected bike lanes are what we look for, but there aren’t many in South L.A.”
“We need to push our local politicians to make that a priority,” Neff said. “We have to continually bring it to light, because it’s a necessity.”
Ride On! is more than a bike shop. It’s a co-op Neff opened in 2017. He leads his co-op partners in conducting bike repair education, repair services and workshops on bike safety (e.g. sizing your bike so the seat is the correct level; fitting your helmet properly; and how to develop certain bike skills).
The full service bicycle shop offers repairs, sales and rentals. As a member-run bicycle collective, it provides, by appointment, bike tools, space and a community environment to facilitate bike repairs and education.
Neff, who was born in Haiti and raised in Boston, Mass., has served as an adjunct professor at Antioch University, co-teaching a course on Social Entrepreneurship. He and his partners continually advocate for bicycle infrastructure equity in southwest Los Angeles.
They are particularly concerned about the invisible riders in the community.
“When drivers think of cyclists, they don’t think about folks who commute by bike to get to work and get home,” Neff said, noting there are many reasons people are riding. “Folks who have their licenses revoked, those who cannot afford to have a car; people who use bikes to get on the bus and train.
“Folks have been doing that for years in South L.A., but no one talks about infrastructure for those people.”
Although some Angelinos may decide to ride a bike as a healthy, extracurricular activity, not everyone has that choice.
“A lot of us in South LA are dependent on bikes as our sole form of transportation,” Neff said. “If you were to bike to a supermarket — because that’s your only form of transportation — well, I can’t think of one supermarket around here that has a bike rack.
“We’re discouraged from using signposts,” he added. “And we’re not allowed to bring bikes inside. Same thing at banks. I can bring a wheelchair inside, why cant I bring my bike?”
Ironically, bike racks can be easily installed at places of business throughout the city, Neff explained.
“Just call the department of transportation or go online and fill out a form and make request,” Neff said. “They’ll come out and measure and install racks free of charge.”
Ride On! is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.. Bike and helmet rentals are priced at a cost of $20 a day or $5 per hour. Visit www.rideonbikeshop.com or call (323) 903-5043 for additional information.