For Bike Month, LACBC Everywhere returns for it’s third season of sharing stories from people across Los Angeles. LA County has a lot to offer in terms of places to ride, but its the experiences that shape us. Today’s profile features James Chaves from the Montebello Bicycle Coalition:
What was your childhood like and was it bikey?
I grew up in California and Colombia during the 80’s and early 90’s. I moved to the United States when I was 15 in 1992. I had a fun childhood in my native country. I remember going out to ride my bike with friends after school and the rule was to come back home when the street lights went on.
How did you get involved with cycling?
I picked up cycling once again as an adult as a form of exercise. I got caught up with work, school, doing my masters, and having a couple of little ones at home. No time to do exercise and my cholesterol numbers were not good. The doctor gave me two options (pills or exercise). I chose to ride my bike and haven’t been stopped riding since. I ride everywhere I go.
James enjoying the views from the Angeles National Forest
What are some of your favorite things to do around Los Angeles?
I enjoy riding my bike with local groups and hanging out with my family. One of my favorite events is to go to CicLAvia or any other open streets events because I get to see and meet a lot of my cycling friends that have become my cycling family. I also enjoy teaching my students about the benefits of cycling and how it can be an alternative form of transportation.
What are some of your biggest challenges about getting around LA?
One of the biggest challenges to get around LA is bad drivers that are too impatient and don’t share the road. People texting and driving and I also get frustrated with cyclists that put themselves in danger and give everyone else a bad rep.
Can you name a place nearby you would consider a hidden treasure?
A hidden treasure where I live is the three mile loop in Pico Rivera between Washington and Whittier next to the San Gabriel Riverbed.
James is riding the Great Cycling Challenge in June to Fight Kids’ Cancer
What are some of your favorite places to cycle around Los Angeles?
I love riding and exploring LA and its surroundings. My favorite thing to do is go on night rides like Art Crash and social rides with the Montebello Bicycle Coalition and Midnight Ridazz. One of my favorite events is to attend the LA Marathon Crash Ride.
What do you like most about cycling around Los Angeles?
My favorite thing about cycling in LA is that we are a cycling family and ride as one. We look after each other and try to help others. The All City Toy Drive is one of my favorite events helping those in need. Honoring the loss of our fallen cycling brothers and sisters by placing Ghost Bikes in their memory and to raise awareness to drivers also builds community. Another one of my favorite events in to go to The Blessing of the Bikes in May.