Los Ryderz Take a Spin Through the Neighborhood

Ready to roll out from the YO! Watts youth center. photo: sahra

When I rolled up to YO! Watts just after 10 a.m. on Saturday, I was ecstatic to see girls on bikes. Lots of them.

It isn’t that girls don’t ride. They do, as some of these girls assured me. However, girls appear to be doing less recreational riding than boys do at the same age, and there are already fewer of them on bikes. This leads to their minimal visible presence on the streets.

They were excited to ride. 15-year old Sandra “Whisper” Argueta said she was looking forward to being able to ride through some of the side streets. Although she’d lived in the area for the past 8 years or so, she mainly stuck to the busy thoroughfare streets for safety’s sake. The other girls agreed. Yaquelina Parra cited the need to be careful about the color of your bike depending on the neighborhood you were in while another girl mentioned having had to run a red light one night to avoid getting her bike jacked.

Riding as part of a group meant that they could enjoy themselves without having to worry about such things.

To the right, to the right... photo: sahra

Javier Partida recently launched Los Ryderz for just that reason. Inspired by the East Side Riders’ approach (just down the street at the WLCAC), he wanted to take the kids that came through YO! Watts and show them that they could set a positive example in the community while engaging in a healthy activity and enjoying themselves.

He hopes eventually to have a Bicycle Kitchen-style co-op set up there that can serve the neighborhood while providing YO! Watts interns with bike and people skills. YO! Watts already has the space and the kids to fix up the bicycles, but they need spare bikes, tools, and a little more know-how before they can get the co-op off the ground.

Meanwhile, just getting kids out riding around has proven the best way to get the club started.

Led by Javier and his brother Miguel, they certainly enjoyed being out in their community and seemed to be proud to be part of the group. They waved at little kids and people they knew, and proudly lined up their bikes at the Jordan Downs Rec. Center and Watts Towers pit stops.

The only drawback to the whole thing was that there weren’t enough guys on the ride.

Founding member Christian joked that it would have been nice to have a few more guys to talk to.

“I’m sorry you’re stuck talking to me, ” I teased.

“Nah, It’s OK,” he laughed. He just didn’t want guys to think that they couldn’t join in the ride, too.

Christian gives me a send-off wave. photo: sahra

11 thoughts on Los Ryderz Take a Spin Through the Neighborhood

  1. I think that this club is a good thing to do…kids this days need distraction instead of thinkin on doing bad things….that way they will stay out of the streets n focus on something good in life…hope u guys get bigger n bigger n get this kids out the streets…its just sad how now and days kids are killin kids…n with this program they will have fun n be safe…

  2. It’s a beautiful thing to watch my Toiler brother bring so positivity to a community that seems so lost at times. One rider at a time and soon watts will be the place that some have long dreamed about.

  3. This is so inspirational and this is what community’s need to keep the youth’s busy and on a good path. Javier is helping them go in the right direction. AWESOME!!!!

  4. It’s such a great idea Javier I wish they hd that here in Chitown. Keep up the great work.

  5. CONGRATS JAVIER FOR HELPING THE COMMUNITY KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK PRAISE THE LORD FOR EVERYTHING HE’S PUT IN UR PATH GOD BLESS U

  6. Congrats Javier I’m
    Glad your making some changes.
    Tu-Pac- I see no change!!! But in this case I see it, keeping the youth involved in a positive and healthy project is great keeping them buddy and involved I. Something they like and feel safe to ridtowing other not being scared to get jumped by other because ur ridding solo and in a bike u work hard to get nothing in life is free not even a bike now and day certain people don’t see that an try getting everything the wrong way and ridding as groups is awesome in so nanny ways specially for ladies and kids well keep up the good work and next step to start it here in van nuys :)

  7. Sorry some words are missed spell cus this so called smart phone that changes my words :( ugh

  8. This article highlights the positive efforts that are taking place with the youth in Watts through caring and concerned community members who are taking a simple product (a bicycle) and utilizing it as a tool to unite and regain positive control of the community.   I want to sincerely thank Sahra for supporting YO! Watts in this effort and taking the time to understand the mission behind YO! Rydaz.   You are an awesome writer.

  9. WOW!  J.P.
    Thanks for sharing the ride!  I’ve been excited about the Watts Rydaz ever since you told me about the club. You jump started this old heart.  You know I’m a “senior” (70+ in age), and I have added a three wheeler and as many rides as possible to my “bucket list”. This is not just for the young.  I want in! You have added a vibrant, positive lifeline to the Watts community.  I’m proud to be a part of it. Can’t wait to ride. Much love!   Edith 

  10. JP LAYOM Watts would like to extend a great appreciation to you for being so instrumental in bridging the youth in the community via the Watts Rydaz Club; not only is the program a fun way for young people to network and share their passion for bike riding but, it also instills community “togetherness and pride; this has put YO! Watts on the map.  Great Job!   Karen  

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