The All Clubs BBQ and 7th Annual South Bay Cycling Awards finished last night.
It was fun.
The organizing was a lot of hard work, done mostly by Kristie and Ken. I stood around a bunch.
There were a lot of good connections made along with exceptional live music, the best barbecue anywhere, and a dazzling, shiny show of glittering low rider bikes.
Upwards of 400 people came and went throughout the day, with 300 plates of barbecue and sides dished up by the Flawless Diamonds.
There was so much going on and there were so many people to talk about that I’m kind of overwhelmed; I really don’t know where to start. So I figured I’d jump in and begin and see where it led.
Last year we met John Jones and the East Side Riders Bicycle Club. John came to the BBQ last year and won the award for Greatest Advocate. His club focuses on giving kids healthy lifestyle choices, everything from diet to cycling to community service. Once a month they tour Watts on bikes and hand out food to homeless people, or to anyone who’s hungry.
John invited me to his annual club picnic last month at Ted Watkins Park, and that event re-connected me with Will Holloway, founder of the South L.A. Real Riderz, whom I had met last year at an event at Jesse Owens Park. One thing led to another and I ended up doing one of John’s rides, touring Watts and helping distribute food and water on a boiling hot day.
The ESR folks came to our BBQ and Awards this year and hosted a bike show. The bikes were beautiful, but what was more beautiful was the number of people who got to connect with John’s group and their powerful mission. If John got paid per smile generated, he’d have been able to retire after yesterday.
This is the basic building block of the All Clubs BBQ and South Bay Cycling Awards: Create opportunities for people who never cross paths to stop, say hello, get to know each other, and commune over great food.
A lot of people judge events by numbers. How many attendees, how many plates of food, how much money it cost–not to mention how many people swore they’d show up and didn’t. But actually, the only number you really need is 2, which is how many people it takes to forge a new connection. If you put something together that connects two like-minded people, you’ve thrown the biggest event of the year.
Coming to this event was a huge effort for ESR and for the bike show participants. Some of the bikes, such as G-Man’s extraordinary green machine, weigh well over 200 pounds and have to be trailered. Loading, driving LA weekend freeway traffic, unloading, and then packing it all back up is a huge commitment and an expense.
Yet making those efforts is what it takes, and now it’s our turn to return the favor by making the effort to get off our butts and attend the amazing events that get thrown in John’s corner of LA. Whether it was Henry, OG, John Jr., or the rest of the East Side Riders who showed up in force and with energy, they were showing us how to do it right. With goodwill, effort, commitment, follow through, and open hearts.
When’s the last time you went to a barbecue, bike show, and award ceremony … and got all of that?
Photos taken by ESR!