Leimert Park, CA–Ride On! Bike Shop/Co-Op is the first Black-owned bike shop in Leimert Park in over 30 years and Adé E. Neff knew it was important to honor the life of Major Taylor.
Neff can tell you a thing or two about traveling a long road. He came a long way from bike repairs on the streets on Leimert Park to owning his own bicycle shop.
50 years before Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to integrate the Major Baseball Leagues, Taylor was the first African-American person in America to integrate a major sport in the world of cycling.
“It is important for us to recognize those who come before us, so we definitely wanted to highlight Taylor. His image is here so people can take selfies and pictures and pass on the knowledge of his legacy,” said Adé E. Neff the owner of Ride On!
You can’t help but to see Taylor if you are visiting Ride On! Bike Shop/Co-Op. A large photo of Taylor covers an entire wall near the entrance, where you see Taylor on a bicycle and focused on the road ahead.
Read More: Ride On! Bike Co-Op opens in Leimert Park
The focused look captured in his eyes reveals Taylor was a man on a mission, which most likely allowed him to achieve inconceivable heights at a time when Black’s were meticulously stopped from climbing the social ladder.
“We are talking the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. He held 7 world records. He was the fastest man in the world. He wrote his own autobiography and was traveling the world killing folks in the cycling game,” Neff detailed.
Neff says the decision to honor Taylor in Leimert Park is so that more people know who he was and what his legacy is.
People like Taylor are the unsung heroes now that we have so much freedom to not only discuss equity and access in 2020 but to actually hold people and organizations accountable for denying people space and access.
“Cycling was my only form of transportation and I traveled everywhere on my bike. I began to see the inequities in transportation infrastructure in South L.A so I started to advocate for better,” Neff relayed.
Neff is focused on making sure everyone in Los Angeles has access to a variety of transportation options, especially the Black community. Ride On! offers bike repairs, sales and rentals. You might have caught a glimpse of the Haitian native in Jay-Z and Pharrell’s “Entrepreneur video,” which honors the entrepreneur spirit of many L.A favorites.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic Ride On! Bike Shop/Co-Op also offered various classes on bike repairs but their main focus is advocating for bicycle infrastructure locally.
Neff entered the world of cycling while training his body as a martial artist. Cycling is a great way to make your legs and lungs stronger, so he hopped on a bike.
Biking throughout Los Angeles made Neff aware of the ways Black and Brown communities are not afforded the same transportation infrastructures, such as routes connecting communities and available bike lanes.
In addition, Neff was forced to travel outside his community to places like Venice for bike repairs. Instead of hoping for change, Neff began focusing on what he could do within his network to bring a bike shop to his community.
“If you hopped on your bike and went to a supermarket locally you would not be able to lock up your bike on a bike rack. This discourages people to get on a bike and do things they can actually bike to. We do not have enough bike lanes so people do not feel safe.”
Ride On! Bike Shop/Co-Op is located 4319 Degnan Bl., Los Angeles, CA, 90008
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