Everyone bikes growing up, but sometimes riding escapes us.
Sometimes it takes a chance encounter, unusual circumstance or even luck to find your way back.
Cycling played a big part of Jason's Hurst childhood, but as we reach adulthood, life happens and priorities change.
Jason found his way back and is now obsessed with cycling.
In fact, you're bound to see him at almost every LACBC ride as one of our most prominent marshals.
This has been another year of growth on the bike riding further and discovering new places to ride, especially as he's in his final month of training for the Climate Ride.
Everyone knows how well-organized and thoughtful Jason is, so preparing for 324 miles of riding over five days is something he is not taking lightly.
LACBC Everywhere catches up with Jason for one of those rare moments he is not on a bike:
You grew up in the Baldwin Hills area, but spent a lot of time on the westside. What perspective did that give you growing up?
That people have certain commonalities because we’re all human beings, but can greatly differ based on outside influences. Upbringing, education and finances influence who we are. Now if only we can level the playing field...we’d really have something then.
Who's the marshal master? Jason in a point off with Wayne "RideTime" Howard.
As a kid, what memories did you have riding on a bike?
There was a tree root overgrown with grass at the bottom of my hill that served as our “ramp” for jumping our bmx style bikes….Yes, I jumped it again as soon even after I purchased my hybrid as an adult! My long ride was usually to Fisherman’s Wharf in Redondo Beach via Jefferson Blvd. past the old Hughes Aircraft airfield, the marshes and farmland. Once you crossed under the 405 Freeway, it was so much quieter then.
Did living six years in Florida make you appreciate Los Angeles even more?
Definitely. I missed the opportunity to do some of the great things that living in Los Angeles affords you. There are things that occur in Los Angeles that other cities just don’t ever get scheduled for. Technology and entertainment options seem to skip large parts of America. It was a tough adjustment, but the Interweb helped.
You describe yourself as being highly organized. How is that reflected in your everyday life?
I can usually find anything of mine in short order. Even when I’m exhausted the organizational routines kick in, I just have to think, “What would I normally do with that thing?” It bugs me when I need something and I can’t find it immediately. I think that’s why I like computers because they are wonderful if you’re organized. You can store so much media and have it all at your fingertips if you’re organized about how you file things away.
What got you back into cycling after being off for twenty-nine years?
The zen of riding. By that I am referring to the feeling of the physical movement of pedaling and the feedback of the road through the fork into your arms while holding the handlebars and that quietness as you roll along. I recalled how much I had enjoyed all of that while riding a fixie in a small circle at the L.A. County Fair. I knew I had to get a bike and ride again.
One day, this Specialized Roubaix will be all his.
Where are some of your favorite places to bike in Los Angeles?
The L.A. River between the Autry Center to where Riverside Drive turns into Figueroa below Dodger Stadium is beautiful. I wish the entire length of the L.A. River looked natural like that. The walking and bike paths down at the Pike in Long Beach around the lighthouse is nice (Pokemon Hunting!).
I also like the Marathon Crash ride course. It’s dark and you get to see Hollywood Blvd. with all the neon there, Sunset Blvd. (where I bought my first record album) and then the westside (Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Santa Monica). I usually end up humming Under The Bridge by The Red Hot Chili Peppers at some point during that ride because I’m rolling through and seeing such a large portion of “my city”.
As much as you cycle, music plays a big part of your life. How would you describe your relationship to it?
At home I’ll turn on music before I think to turn on the television..nuff said? Mom and dad always had music going in their homes, but Dad had the kick ass system and he’d let me have at it. I shudder to think how expensive it was given I was a preteen. When music players became portable and personalized, I bought boom boxes, a Walkman, CD players, MP3 and minidisc players, and I just carried my music everywhere. You can have a soundtrack to your day quite easily whether stationary, walking, cycling or driving. Music is mood altering or enhancing. It can be enjoyed as a singular or communal experience. Even babies dig music. I don’t think I’d want to live in a world where it didn’t exist.
Because of your organizational skills and attention to detail, ride marshaling for LACBC is a natural fit. How did you get involved?
Sunday Funday out of Union Station was my first ride as a participant. I saw the Ride Marshal jerseys and thought, “Those are WAYYYY Cool...I have to get one!” I met Wayne “RideTime” Howard that day during the ride and he suggested I keep coming back if I wanted to be a Ride Marshal and earn that jersey. So I kept showing up and met more of the LACBC family and eventually I earned that jersey!!
Jason out training with the Climate Ride team.
You've been training hard for your first Climate Ride. What are you looking forward to most?
Well, the entire ride is basically a cycling bucket list item for me. I’ve always wanted to ride for multiple days on the California coast. I’ve driven it as a teenager traveling by car to Oregon, so I know how beautiful it is. Now, I'm excited that I’ll get to see even more of it cycling. I’m looking forward to riding with good friends that I’ve made. Mostly, I’m looking forward to those zen moments of cycling that just happen randomly. I know a friend who did the AIDS Ride from Northern California and she spoke of riding alone at one point alongside a field and a horse galloped parallel to her for miles. I want one of THOSE moments.
Everyone knows you've been dreaming out getting a Specialized Roubaix for quite a long time. Where is your dream spot to ride it?
Paris. I want to travel overseas with my bike and see things that way. I know it isn’t the most practical thing in the world, but more than a few cyclists I’ve met have convinced me that it is quite feasible (Judi De it’s all your fault...LOL).