Since there were no bike pit stops in Boyle Heights for Metro Bike to Work Day, I took a break from the neighborhood and checked out the one in East Los Angeles. Staff and students from La Causa Youth Build, a charter school that serves 16 to 24 year olds that are pushed out of traditional schools, stood on the corner of Olympic and Goodrich Boulevards.
Amy Ruvalcaba, La Causa’s AmeriCorps coordinator and who organized La Causa’s Bike to Work Day pit stop, said that when she saw that there was no pitstop in the East Los Angeles area just two weeks before Bike to Work Day, she started work on bringing one to La Causa.
La Causa has a curriculum with a foundation in social justice and sustainable practices. The school organized a team of students to help at the pit stop intermittently throughout the day. Juan Gutierrez, 23, is a current student at La Causa Youth Build. Gutierrez manned the kiosk when I visited and was there throughout the morning before his classes in the afternoon.
La Causa’s pit stop wasn’t in a prime location for cyclists, but it did allow for students to visit or man the kiosk between classes. The volunteers had to contend with the noise and presence of big rig trucks coming from a lot of industry from around their offices and neighboring City of Commerce.
Regardless, those passing by, mostly pedestrians and some cyclists, stopped at the kiosk to see what was being offered.
Clara Garcia, who works at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, was on her way to catch her bus to work when she stopped at La Causa’s kiosk and picked up a healthy recipe book and a Clif Bar. Because bike to work day was announced to her at work, Garcia was the rare person to know about La Causa’s pit stop kiosk.
Humberto Galvan, 49, stopped at the kiosk because a woman told him on a nearby street corner about the pit stop.
La Causa’s kiosk also gave people an opportunity to learn about their school. Maria Diaz, 69, stopped by La Causa’s kiosk and took some information about the school. Diaz said that she had two grandchildren that could benefit from La Causa’s programs.
Tony’s Schwinn Bike Stop donated a bike helmet to La Causa Youth Build that was raffled off later in the day.
Click here to learn more about La Causa Youth Build.