(photo by Justin Jakobson)
Last Tuesday was the one year anniversary of Taco Tuesdays. EVERY week for one year Taco Tuesdays has met and left from CRANK MOB PARK at 8pm, and every week XL, the ride leader, has put together an awesome ride and spokecard.
That’s an extraordinary effort, and that effort has earned a huge and faithful following. When I went on my first Taco Tuesdays, #17, there were around 30 riders. Now the ride pulls between 60 and 80 riders on weekly basis. When we left CRANK MOB PARK on Tuesday for the one year anniversary ride, I estimate there were about 200 riders.
Since I started riding bikes in West LA there have been a handful of rides or entities that changed the face of the West LA bike scene. The first ride I ever went to was Westsidazz, created by Alec, Brian and Max from the Southbay. That ride created the West LA bike scene, where before there were only a handful of people who rode east a couple times a month for LA Critical Mass and the 2nd Friday’s Midnight Ridazz. Next, Zack Beatty founded Santa Monica Critical Mass, which broadened and deepened the scene which Westsidazz created.
Out of that scene emerged Bikerowave, creating a physical center for the West LA bikers, and giving them a reason to hang out more than once a month. And Cub Camp followed nearly instantly on it’s heels. Cub Camp quickly grew into a whole new kind of ride – an unholy synthesis of hustle and party. From Cub Camp and Bikerowave sprang a community of Cubs, who took party riding and FUN to a whole new level.
In the way that SMCM took what Westsidazz had done and made it available to a broader audience, CRANK MOB came and turned the whole Westside into one big Cubbie Puddle, introducing Cub Camp and Cub Campery to the masses. CRANK MOB injected a new reckless and youthful abandon into party rides, not just in West LA, but in Los Angeles in general. It turned inclusivity on it’s head, and where once anyone was welcome, now anyone was welcome to come to CRANK MOB and be involuntarily jumped into a life of hard bike partying. With the problems of today’s CRANK MOB looming the last year, we forget what the original CRANK MOB was – a joyous forcefully inclusive orgy of fun that produced the best riding scene we will probably ever experience. After 1 year we learned what the phrase “too much of a good thing” really means when accidents and too much rowdiness showed us that many new CRANK MOBsters didn’t understand what CRANK MOB was really about.
Taco Tuesdays is the next thing. It’s belongs in that line of rides and organizations that reshaped how things are done in the West LA bike scene. Each of the above entities taught us lessons about how to pull off good rides, or make a good organization. XL and his team have humbled me and others with their no nonsense approach to Taco Tuesdays.
What’s special about Taco Tuesdays? To me, the most standout aspect is the team work. No other westside ride organizer has built a stable team of riders to execute a ride week after week. Some have a handful of people who collaborate haphazardly, but the team behind Taco Tuesdays has defined roles and consistent participation. That team has found ways to raise funds to pay for special events and sound system repairs.
XL and his team also dialed back the CRANK MOB atmosphere back a notch, cultivating a chill but fun atmosphere. By pulling back from the one million percent party level of CRANK MOB, they found a great niche and owned it. The relaxed tone is perfectly suited for a weeknight ride where you need to be ready for work in the morning, and it creates a welcoming atmosphere where people get to know each other.
Taco Tuesdays riders don’t take shit. Lately most rides have had problems with tagging, stealing, and even fighting. Taco Tuesdays is no exception. But, while other people have thrown e-fits about it, XL and his team have confronted problem riders with courage and empathy, and thought carefully about simple, direct ways of dealing with it.
Most importantly, Taco Tuesdays is a consisten big weekly ride on a week night. No one has done that yet, except Roadblock with Wolfpack. That’s impressive.
Congratulations XL and Taco Tuesdays on an amazing year, and great vision!