Eastside Night Ride

Last night I went to a show @ the now pretty well known venue, The Smell by bicycle. It’s a 5.5mi ride one-way for me, not too far and mostly flat terrain. I was going mainly to see a favorite band of mine, Abe Vigoda.

Now to the point. Riding into downtown, alone, is always an interesting experience. In a large group, or even with a few friends it seems like an open playground compared to the daytime version. The city looks so much more peaceful and almost ghost-town like at dark. I got to the show around 9pm and left around 1:30am. The ride home was the interesting part.

I go down Main St. most of the way. As I was pushing my pedals I couldn’t help but think, in my wearied state, whether the people I saw out on the streets were real or ghosts. The folks hanging outside of Dino’s Burgers, the woman I swear I saw at the little Catholic Gift Shop on Main St., and the man I think I saw walking around the darkened Parque de México.

This idea became even more pervasive as I passed by Lincoln Park. I thought about the history of the place and all the many people that have been there for various reasons. At 1:30 in the morning you have late-nite fishers. I’m not sure why someone would want to be fishing at that hour, but they were there. They weren’t ghostly at all but some shadows amongst the trees seemed otherwise. Looking across the train tracks on the South side of Valley Blvd heading East I am sure I also so see meandering shadows.

History is something that can easily be built over and forgotten, and some people even welcome it as is the case with the Chuppies that El Chavo! pointed out. But it’s something I find so much interest in. A house that I am soon moving in to in Lincoln Heights used to be a market many years ago, originally built in 1915, and still has remnants of a butcher shop & old refrigerator. There is no way I would replace it for a track home in Ranco Cucamonga. No way.

All these thoughts as I make my way home to El Sereno.

16 thoughts on “Eastside Night Ride

  1. Julio, what were you smoking at that gig. 😛
    good stuff, But I wouldn’t bike that late here in EastLos, unless I want to get shot, or get my shit stolen.

  2. TECK,
    Julio isnt smoking anything, You however should move to Rancho Cucamonga if you are so scared of your own neighborhood. It is attitudes like yours that keep people moving from house to house running away from the barrio because of crime and such.

    It is time for you to ground some roots in your neighborhood and stop making excuses of why you feel trapped in your own prison.

    Open the door and enjoy your neighborhood!

    Lets Ride!

  3. I’ve seen some late night fishers before as well, it always a bit strange but kinda cool how they just sit there, waiting, waiting…

  4. Julio: Nice account! The Militant may or may not ride his bike to a concert tonight at an unspecified location close to, but not quite in the Westside.


    Put yourself in a gangster/thug/thief’s shoes…if you saw a car or in a bike go down your street, which one would you wanna go mess with? Which one is most rewarding? THE CAR OF COURSE!

    The criminal element thrives on FEAR. As long as people are AFRAID, they will prosper. When people stop being afraid, they will go away…usually to another place where people are afraid.

  5. damn javascript error.

    @bikes in East LA.

    Ride on dude, don’t let anything stop you, not even bullets!

    Maybe I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, who knows.

    To each his own, just stop pointing your finger at my attitude for what others do/did, I don’t think I have that much control over other people >_<

  6. Its interesting who’s out late at night and what they do. My grampa always says nighttime is the best time to go fishing. Anyway, I like how you weave together history, place and nighttime in this post.

  7. The only thing I fear with night riding are the drunken drivers which keeps me looking over my shoulder most of the ride. You can easily spot them a mile away on empty streets.

  8. the areas you described in your post are all very familiar terrain for me. my grandparents have lived around the corner from dino’s for the past sixty years and i have lived in el sereno since the day i was brought back from the hospital. i understand the need to ride bikes and take the bus. Hell, i did it for four years before i learned to drive. From the time i graduated h.s. at 17, until the middle of my 21st year i was on the bus everyday. now with gas prices soaring, my hand-me down car is eating the majority of my weekly pay check I decided to take the bus again. the only problem is that a woman’s experience riding public transportation (or a bicycle) is a lot different than a mans. I almost forgot how disgusted i was on a daily basis with men, how ashamed i felt about myself. all the times i was stared at while riding the bus, or the number of g uys who would blatantly eye me up and down as i vied for a pole to grab onto in a crowded bus was disgusting. I almost forgot that walking down the street was like walking through a undetonated mine field, never quite sure when i would hear the explosive cat calls come from unknown apartment complexes, streets corners or front lawns. It’s bad enough that men say “CHH CHH CHH” when i’m driving with my window down but it’s even worse when walking down the street and the man coming your way says something barely audible as you pass by like “nice shirt” while staring at your breasts or “hey baby, where are you going?” when he’s walking with a group of guys. It’s a much different experience being a woman in the public transportation system. Walking down the street makes you want to crawl into a hole. I had almost forgotten why I used to wear a jacket everyday I was on the bus, I thought that men might not pay attention to someone who was completely covered but I was wrong. I think there should be more issues like these written about on the laeastside blog. My entire family resides within the communities of northeast l.a. (though some have “made it” and moved to south pas) and i know that there are more women out there with stories likes this.

  9. BikesinELA,
    Chill with the judgemental self righteousness. It is bad to stereotype the barrio as such a horrible place (which I dont think teck did) but it is equally annoying to chew someone out for being conscious of a potential asswhipping. Ive almost had that happen to me by cholos several times, ironically nevre when I lived in ELA or BHts but in La Puente.

  10. Diane,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I too would like to see the issues that women in ELA face every single day covered on this blog.

    I would walk or take public transit more if not for all the sh*t I have to deal with for simply being a young woman. I usually show up to my destination so pissed off and combative, it wasn’t even worth it. It doesn’t help that we live in a city where people are so disconnected and blase that even if they see something wrong happening, they ignore it and never step in to back someone up. Once I was on the redline downtown and some creep started grabbing me. I yelled and made sure everyone around knew what was going on while I moved away. Everyone just stared, totally silent. It stayed that way while I punched and kicked the guy. The fact that no said anything or seemed to care that a woman was getting assaulted was like they were giving me permission to get violent on the guy, which when you think about is a really scary commentary on our city.

    I’m generally not in favor of rampant gentrification, but I would like to be able to walk the streets of my own neighborhood (LH) without being harrassed. I don’t get treated the way I do here when I’m walking in “nicer” neighborhoods. Why someone would disrespect their own people that way is pathetic. Don’t they have mothers, sisters, wives? Men who catcall women and do that stupid “chchcchchc” noise and leer and all that sh*t are just garbage.

    It seems that the only time I can walk thru my own neighborhood and not be disrespected is if I have one of my dogs with me. It shouldn’t be that way.

  11. pitbullgirl, diane, I’ve been there and you’re right. Women should be able to walk anywhere in the city without being afraid but we’re a long way from that.

  12. pitbullgirl, i’m sorry that happened to you.

    i agree with you that it almost never happens in more affluent neighorhoods. i hate to say it, but whenever i’m housesitting for cousin’s in south pas i can walk by gardners and they never harass me the way they do in our neighborhoods. now, i understand that maybe those guys weren’t jerks, but i’ve been harassed far too many times by guys in their gardener trucks to think it’s just a coincidence that it NEVER happens while i walk in south pas. i figured it’s jsut because they think i’m from the area and would never blatantly hassle women there.

    i really wanted to write my csu senior thesis on the girl’s at el sereno jh. i wanted to know their feelings about their place in society, their families and their budding sexualities. i remember that crap happening to me when i was in j.h. and as a young adult it’s repulsive to think these children are going through this shit. sadly, the vp never contacted no with a response, even though i went in person, called countless times and emailed her outlining what i wanted to collect from my study. anyway i think it’d be a good story. i was especially interested in how they viewed themselves in society since many latin cultures place such a strong emphasis on men. i’ve heard grown twentysomethings at college state that their parents want them home by ten at night while their 17 year old brother can stay out all night. maybe it’s because i don’t come from a “traditionally” latino family but i thought that was ridiculous.(and i just don’t understand why those women even obeyed their family, i started staying out all night at 19 and even though i’d get the “where have you been” shit, parents need to know you’re an adult and eventually they’ll get used to your independance). i wanted to know how the j.h. girls dealt with traditional family roles while being influenced by the girl power pop culture. it’d be fascinating to find out how those two ideas meld and shape young women.

  13. Julio, your new place in Lincoln Heights is amazing! I can’t wait to revisit it and you guys soon.

    Sometimes I get creeped out riding home late at night on my bike alone also. This is usually only after partaking in some scary movie or ghost stories though.

  14. “I’m not sure why someone would want to be fishing at that hour”

    im more concern about what they catch, and if they do, do they eat it? that lake is filthy.

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