Monday, September 26, 2011

South Central Bike Tour

Towards the end of my time living in LA, I began to  feel remorseful for all of the wonderful things in the area I hadn't yet taken the time to see. One of those was Watts Towers, a defining monument of local significance in South Central LA.
My friends Luke and Chris accompanied me as we biked from El Segundo into the heart of South Central. We cycled somewhat apprehensively as South Central has a rough reputation and us being on expensive bikes in a place we'd never been before. Before long we realized we were in the vicinity of the towers but lost. Suddenly, three thuggishly dressed guys approach the three of us on our bikes.

Thuggish1: Hey y'all lost or something?
Me: Yeah, we're trying to get to Watts Towers, it's close to here right?
Thuggish2: yeah its right down the street
Chris: down 112th or something right?
Thuggish2: no no, you don't want to take that way, 103rd can get you
there faster

As all of us (with serious interest!) begin to deliberate the most parsimonious way to Watts Towers, a police cruiser who observes the situation stops dead in the street and rolls down its window, all 6 of us look over at the cop for about a second and then get back to the situation at hand)

: yeah man, its just on the other side of the park
Me: Cool, thanks a lot guys, appreciate it
Thuggish1: Na man its cool y'all came to check it out, don't see too
many white dudes on bike around here especially
Luke: haha, yeah especially ones that look like us, have a good one!

Continuing to ignore the cop, the 6 of us part ways. I left out how my friend Luke has a "space bike" and resembles something of a Terry Gilliam character when riding; we got lots of funny looks in the residential areas.
In any case, my return to Watts Towers was even less eventful. This time I noted the general good condition of the side streets and was only gawked at when I rode by a school: "Hey are you a superhero or spaceman/take me to marvin the martian yo!" I rode back on Manchester by the LA Forum, a staple of Inglewood and LA, 30 miles round trip.

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