Community Bike Ride Emphasizes Safety, Celebrates Art
Students and families from the King Chavez Academies in Logan Heights put their safe cycling practices to use as part of an event celebrating safe riding and the arts.
As part of King Chavez’s second annual Bike to Art celebration, families gathered outside the school at 9:30 a.m. for a ride ending at a festival hosted at Chicano Park.
The event was a collaboration between King Chavez’s KCletas student bicycle club, SANDAG’s iCommute program, and the San Diego Bike Coalition, which promotes bike safety and maintenance practices at the King Chavez Academies.
KCletas staff supervisor and King Chavez computer lab teacher Francisco Contreras has lead the event’s organization in its two yearly editions. He says that the ride is a great opportunity for kids to put the safe cycling practices they learn in KCletas throughout the school year to practice.
“(In KCletas), we go over the bike riding rules and road safety rules and teach the vehicular style of bike riding,” Contreras shared. “We take into consideration stop signs, riding only on shared roads, yielding at stop signs, and obeying all traffic laws.”
Aside from putting good cycling practices to use, the festival also served as an opportunity to have kids in the program get to know one of the neighborhood’s most important landmarks.
“It was surprising to me to see that a lot of our students had never come to Chicano Park, so it was a chance to have the students and their parents come down to get to know and enjoy this beautiful park,” Contreras shared.
At the park, kids and their families could enjoy an art setup featuring pieces by King Chavez students, a DJ performance, a BMX swap meet, a taco stand, and meet and greets with renowned BMX stars such as Martin Aparijo and Bob Haro.
Neighborhood BMX enthusiast Jesus Pozo and his son took part in Saturday’s ride. Pozo believes that events like these are important because they teach children the importance of safe riding and how accidents are no laughing matter.
“You gotta teach the kids how to be careful because they see movies and videos where people fly off bikes and they think it’s funny, but in real life people get hurt,” he said. “Kids here learn to use a helmet and know how to to be safe, how to signal, and be aware of their surroundings because cars often don’t look out for cyclists.”
For Contreras, the event is also an opportunity to highlight subcultures in the neighborhood that many people overlook as part of Chicano and local culture.
“When I was a kid, bikes and BMX was like the most incredible thing you could do, skateboarding and painting too, so being able to come down to Chicano Park and have our art and bikes out on display just brings all of these cultural things all together, this is all part of our culture.”