Los Ryderz BC Suffers Setback with Theft of Tools; Still Plans to Ride Saturday for Cancer Awareness
As he often does, Javier “JP” Partida, president and founder of Los Ryderz bike club in Watts, took some of his club members for a bike ride on Saturday. When they returned from Torrance that afternoon, they locked up the bikes and called it a day. When he came back Sunday morning to work on the bikes and finish welding the Crank Award trophies to thank local community members for their service in and around South L.A., he found that someone had broken into their storage area and looted the place.
Gone were the power drill, a new welder, a grinder, and other tools he had purchased with his own funds, as well as two bikes.
The thieves had apparently intended to come back, Partida said, judging by the way they had lined up the rest of the bikes near the exit.
It was the second break-in at the complex in recent days. Last month, thieves broke into the boarded up fire station attached to the YO! Watts building, making off with donated toys the LAPD stored there, among other things.
For Partida, the bikes are not as much of a loss as the tools.
For one, it will now be more difficult for him to finish building the handmade trophies that were to be given out at the Watts Rocks Pink (for cancer awareness) ride this coming Saturday.
More importantly, the tools are what he uses to keep youth from the area engaged and out of trouble on the weekends.
Located in Watts, where youth have few opportunities for recreation and the public space has long-been contested, Los Ryderz Bike Club has worked to keep youth healthy, positive, and motivated to reach for a better future through group rides and outings, family-style meals, mentorship, and opportunities for leadership.
Some of his club members have spent long hours building and embellishing their own bikes.
Working on the bikes gives them skills and an outlet for creativity, as well as a sense of pride when they are out and about in Watts or representing the area in other parts of Southern California.
At ride events, they compare notes with a diverse mix of cyclists from around the area who have also embellished their bikes, building connections across boundaries that otherwise might be tough to bridge. And it gives them something to look forward to — Cheech (above), for example, has a number of plans for the low-rider bike he designed and hopes to have it ready by the time Los Ryderz heads to Las Vegas for the Outlaw Bicycle Club event in the spring.
Speaking with Partida in Watts yesterday, it was clear that not being able to provide youth with a place to work off their stress was what frustrated him most.
But they are still moving ahead with plans with the East Side Riders to ride in the Watts Rocks Pink event this coming Saturday. In the past, the cancer ride has been well-attended and honored both community members and those in the clubs that have been touched by the disease.
If you’d like to attend, throw on something pink and head to the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, WLCAC, at 10950 S. Central Ave. at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 3 (details, here). If you would like to donate tools or anything else, please connect with JP Partida, LRBC/YO! Watts, 1513 E. 103rd St., Watts, CA 90002 or via facebook.