Video highlights from our Dodgertown Bike Ride!
Earlier this summer, my friend and fellow bike advocate/activist Carlos Morales proposed a group bike ride to Dodger Stadium on Saturday, September 1 for his Eastside Bike Club and any other interested cyclists. They would do a 4-mile ride from El Sereno to Dodger Stadium to watch the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game in an unprecedented mass ride to the Stadium. He would coordinate with the Dodger organization to work out logistics. This was perfect timing, since in July during my Dodgers Community Advisory Committee meeting, we met with new Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten. I brought up this ride, and the need for better bicycle accessibility to Dodger Stadium, citing common complaints by the few cyclists who dared to ride up to Chavez Ravine. He was surprisingly open and willing to make things happen, and in fact inquired with his VP about creating a Dodger Stadium Bicycle Policy.
The day finally came, and since I live west of the Stadium, I organized a “feeder” ride from the Vermont/Sunset Metro station, where two women from Los Feliz joined me. We rode straight down Sunset and up Elysian Park and waited for the pack to arrive. We also met LAPD Officer Gordon Helper, who’s the police department’s main bicycling community liaison, mostly coordinating with the Critical Mass rides (and also unfortunately dealing with Friday night’s tragic fatal accident on the UCLA campus). He was our lone LAPD escort, himself on a bike.
The whole process went smoothly. We rode in through the Sunset Gate, entered on the far right lane (didn’t have to pay for parking!) and confabbed in the immediate lot where we met with Dodgers parking staff, riding on electric carts. They had us ride up to Lot B (“As in Bike!” exclaimed Morales, to much cheering) near the Reserve-Level entrance (3rd base/Left Field side).
A number of metal barriers were set up as ersatz bike racks, forming the first-ever Dodger Stadium bike corral. None of us seemed to have a problem with locking up on them, though in a few cases, multiples of bikes were secured alongside each other.
I actually hung my road bike on the top railing via my saddle and left handlebar, and U-locked the frame to the railing.
The game itself was a nice one: The home debut of newly-acquired starting pitcher Josh Beckett, who threw 9 strikeouts and gave up only one run. Solo homers were provided by Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier, and just like that, the Dodgers won 2-1.
We all left our bike corral, lights blinking, and were escorted from the parking lot by Officer Helper and the parking staff on golf carts. Wonder what all the folks in cars thought of us. If they did see us — we were out of the parking lot in less than 3 minutes!
We had cars honk at us along Cesar Chavez — but more due to celebratory fervor than aggressiveness. And the only thing the motorists shouted at us was,”Whoo! Go Dodgers!” It didn’t matter how we got to the game – we were all united as Dodger fans on the streets.
We continued riding through the streets of Downtown L.A., riding on Broadway, 11th, Figueroa, 2nd, Central, 1st and Alameda. I diverged from them at Cesar Chavez, where I continued west towards Echo Park to meet up with another friend who went to the game and was visiting from out of town.
The Dodgers are known for making history: From Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, to Sandy Koufax to Fernando Valenzuela to Hideo Nomo, the first baseball team on the West Coast is no stranger to blazing trails. So it’s only fitting that sixty-plus Dodger fans on bicycles made some history of their own. Ramirez and Ethier might have hit the home runs, but Carlos Morales was our MVP. Big props to him for making this happen!
Let’s hope this is the beginning of a new era of transportation options to Dodger Stadium. Like Randy Newman says,”We gonna ride it ’til we, just can’t ride it no more…”