Hosted by the Real Rydaz on July 1st, this ride began at Exposition Park, stopped by Manchester Square and Helen Keller Park. The fair continued with shout-outs to attending bike clubs, bicycle raffles, and more.
To get a sense of the scale, here’s a quick video we took as the ride began after a break (we counted 135+ riders!):
Share your pictures and see more from the community on the event’s Facebook page!
Here’s a video we shot last week of some new “map origami”, demonstrated by professional bookbinder Rebecca Smyrl:
Here’s the folding guide for the first map that Rebecca demonstrated: (Click on the image to enlarge. Hint: you can easily learn this by printing or drawing the lines on a sheet of paper, and using the solid lines as mountains (folding up) and the dotted as valleys (folding down) for your final selection. I found this was do-able just from watching the video and folding a print-out.)
We are more intrigued with what we’re calling “map origami” each day. Rebecca tells us that these techniques come from Pamela Spitzmueller (presumably at a workshop like this). We learned this folding technique using a hand-drawn instruction diagram; if you’d like to see it, let us know!
More map origami to come… including the infamous Miura fold used on solar panel arrays…
Here is a hand-drawn map South LA’s Eastside by Eric Brightwell, as exhibited at the 1650 Gallery yesterday (Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography). We heard about these maps from an LA Times story on Brightwell. To see the full size image, click on it:
The gallery wall and book give some ideas on how hand-drawn maps can be gathered in a social setting:
One of RideSouthLA’s goals is to bring together people who normally don’t interact and engage them in conversations that can seed a re-imagining of South Los Angeles. On June 17, RideSouthLA’s ride to the Watts Towers brought together 120 cyclists who came from 43 ZIP codes across the L.A. Metropolitan Area, representing 12 cycling clubs (including the Bodacious Bike Babes and the Long Beach Cyclone Coaster, who joined their South LA hosts East Side Riders and Yo Watts Rydaz). Click on the map below to see how many people came from each ZIP code:
Download a printable summary of the June 17 2012 Watts Ride participation:
Today we joined Metro’s kickoff event for Bike Week at USC’s Galen Center. Below are some pictures. It was a great chance to highlight biking in South LA, with a prominent presence for groups from the East Side Riders, to the Real Rydaz, to TRUST South LA and ParTour. Of course, we handed out copies of our new Ride South LA “Watts Ride” map.
…It was great to see 4+ TV cameras covering the event.
Looking down at the Ride South L.A. map on the counter, I tried to bring the conversation back to how we might make a tool like that work for the residents themselves, not just outsiders.
There was no good answer to that question. We kept returning to the idea that taking on community habits, culture, and socio-economic constraints required a sustained commitment to community engagement, including extensive outreach, a visible presence, and even speaking directly with some of the families or youth that have clout and who are responsible for some of the safety problems in the streets.
But you do have to start somewhere.
“Ride with the explicit intent of integration,” he suggested. “If you ride for the goal of integrating people, and you are explicit about it, people will join and then more people here will feel compelled to ride.”
The store owner’s mention of integration is important, and reminds us why community projects must often go beyond the silos of city departments. Community projects gain their authority from the community itself, and so must be inclusive of people and look across social issues. A focus beyond bicycling to the whole community is not just a good tactic — it may be essential for the legitimacy of the project.
On April 20th, we rode to several local businesses to hand out the Watts Ride map. Would businesses love it? Is distribution a kind of community organizing?
This was a test ride, led by John Jones III of the East Side Riders. John is explaining the map below to a British tourist, along with staff at the Watts Towers Art Center. Here’s a quick picture, courtesy of Francois Bar:
These folks seemed intrigued to be featured on our map. They agreed to put out a stack of the map. Yet there was some restraint and caution. People were still trying to figure out all our motives, and the implications for their organization and partners. Since we wanted this to be part of an ongoing conversation, we intentionally only left small stacks of the map (maybe 20-30), and told them to call us when they ran out. We also plan to be back.
Politicians were one target. Below is some of our crew in front of Councilman Joe Buscaino’s district office. (We used the child carrier to also bring the maps!)
Where do the maps sit? For the Councilman’s office, there was a community literature table that welcomed contributions. We made our stack of maps a bit distinctive by folding one of them and taping it to the top of the pile (see photo below). We suspect that the folded maps might work much better for distribution, since in a flat stack they look just like fliers. What we don’t know yet is whether such tables receive any attention — how many maps will be picked up over two weeks?
Perhaps the most powerful moments on our test ride were the conversations with the community. Outside the Councilman’s office, a man in a wheelchair was highly interested in the map and quizzed the riders about it. The map gave an excuse for conversations that the ESRiders wanted to have. In community organizing, such conversations can be critical to staying in touch with the community, hearing their priorities, and discussing upcoming actions. Of course, such conversations take real time — but they may be necessary to reach genuinely new audiences beyond the “usual suspects” in bike shops and on bike mailing lists.
Tafarai Bayne of TRUST SouthLA and John Jones of ESR launch the map at CicLAvia 2012 (Photo credit: Sahra Sulaiman)
We launched the RideSouthLA map during Sunday’s CicLAvia, at the South Hub in front of the African American Firefighter Museum. We handed out about 500 copies of the map, and many people asked “when is the next ride?”. No date has been set yet, but the East Side Riders tell us that they are planning to lead neighborhood tours in the coming months. We will post the Ride Schedule on this site. In the meantime, you can sign up to be notified of upcoming rides through South LA.
Here is a birds-eye view of the “south spur” at CicLAvia (our map distribution tent is in the center):
The folding of the maps seems critical — but is a bit expensive. We were thrilled to get this back from the printer:
Handing out maps was great fun — here are Cesar and Otto at work:
Handing out the map spurred conversation:
As George explained the map, our iPad on the table showed more pictures from the ride. We are continuing to investigate how the digital and print can interlock:
Partnership is the core of the effort. When we had to leave, the staff at TRUST South LA took over distribution from their table: