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Themed Bike Ride Leaves Dozens Injured

night bicycle ride, some rights reserved, http://flickr.com/photos/juniorvelo/451533201/ and  http://flickr.com/photos/rene_ehrhardt/2390528757/Los Angeles, CA — The queen of freeways, highways and polluted airways has long been that city of Angels, Los Angeles. LA is the birthplace of car culture and the place where it still reigns supreme.  Recently though our smog-choked beauty has seen a boom in another kind of transportation: cycling. Rising gas prices and the sheer cool factor have left many Angelinos dropping their car keys and picking up a bike lock. The city has seen an increase in riders, some only commuters, riding bicycles to work and back, while others have made cycling a lifestyle. Bike culture has grabbed LA by its designer pashmina and does not appear to be letting go anytime soon.

While not as immediately visible as commuter bikers, those die-hard riders who have committed to a bike-style abound. Evidence of LA bike culture can be found in the group: Urban Ridahs, a hundreds strong group of cyclists who get together every Tuesday night to ride together in celebration, and sometimes, protest. They will take over whole intersections, stopping traffic and ruining business for street vendors. These rides frequently will have a theme such as Ocean Breeze: a ride along the coast from Malibu to Long Beach. Another popular, though hard to complete, ride is the In-N-Out crawl: a ride that features stops at all twenty-two of Los Angeles County’s popular hamburger chain. Most of these rides leave participants feeling euphoric and accomplished. But last Tuesday, disaster struck.

No one is quite certain whose idea it was or why it was so enthusiastically embraced but somehow the week’s ride theme was deemed: The Potholer, a scenic tour down Culver City’s most rough and ragged alleys. It is important to note that these rides take place at night and most alleys are not well-lit. The ride also featured some of the most neglected pavement Los Angeles county has to offer and moments into the ride, several injuries had already occurred. Some were hurt by riding head-on into nasty pot holes, flipping bikes and crushing body parts against asphalt. Many others were injured while suddenly trying to avoid a pot hole and crashing instead into their fellow cyclists.

Despite these pit falls, the ride continued until midnight, at which point ambulances had been called a total of nine and one half times. Some locals later reported having seen several cyclists hoist their injured comrades onto handballs and ride them directly to the local emergency room at Our Sister of Misery. Those lucky enough to avoid injury were left emotionally damaged, shedding tears over popped tires, broken chains and mangled spokes.

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