RIDEWITUS LA, started itself as a few friends eager to stay active and in-shape during the COVID-19 quarantine. Biking was one of the few quarantine approved activities that allowed us to still come together, safely. Bikes were extremely hard to come by, and most people didn't have one, but as soon as they were able to get one, they came out to ride, and loved the vibe. Before we knew it, we were 20 riders deep, riding two and three times a week and having the time of our lives! On April 25, 2020 the experience was named.....RIDEWITUS LA!!
It's important to state that RIDEWITUS-LA consists of two branches. The bike store, which is owned and operated by RWU President Kellie Hart; and the bike club, that is organized and run by 6 leaders. Crystal, Darrnell, Derrick, Kam, Kellie, Mike, and Todd have all dedicated themselves to the continual development and success of RWU. Each person offers a different perspective of leadership to RWU and collectively agree that leadership is never about the role - always about the goal.
Our mission as a bike club is to inspire our friends and other people within our circle of influence, to be active and healthier by riding their bikes. Health in our community is of the utmost importance and we want to make sure we're doing our part to promote that. We have committed ourselves to hosting one-of-a-kind group ride experiences that aim to bring our community closer, and healthier in a fun way. FUN! FITNESS! FRIENDSHIP! That's what it's all about.
RIDEWITUS LA the bike store, has made it it's mission to provide the community one-of-a-kind, high quality, long lasting bikes. There is a bike shortage in the USA. Kellie has made it her duty to find the bikes that are left, get our people on them, and out to a RIDEWITUS.
If you haven't yet, come out and experience a RIDEWITUS. You won't regret it.
Thank you to each and every rider and supporter of RIDEWITUS-LA. It's you guys that have grown this black cycle commUNITY in such a major way, and we are forever grateful. #OneLove
Opening RIDEWITUS LA on Slauson was a dream come true. I graduated from Oakwood University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management. Entrepreneurship was always my goal. In 2019, two years prior to opening a bike shop at 4601 West Slauson, I attempted to open a car wash at the exact same location. I was scammed by two people illegally leasing the space. The day I was supposed to obtain keys at the property, I was met by Sheriffs and other people saying that the people I was dealing with were scammers and the space wasn’t theirs to lease. Total disappointment.
One month later, the land was listed For Sale by XXX Owner (managed by XXX Leasing) for nearly $2 million. It sat for two years with no offers so it was re -advertised as - For Lease. Within 72 hours - I saw it, called, applied, and was approved to lease the space for my bike shop. I got the keys to the space March 31, 2021 – exactly one year after the death of our friend Nipsey Hussle.
Prior to the grand opening events, I invested over $40,000 into 4601 W. Slauson Ave. It was a total dump! Everything was in terrible condition. My crew and I remodeled the building, added a double patio, painted everything, cleaned out a beehive full of live bees, made it safe, and the list goes on. I wanted to give the community something to believe in on that corner and that’s just what I did. When all construction was completed, and signs and banners were up, I was proud to see what we transformed that space into, and so was my community.
In April 2021 (less than one month after leasing)) RWU LA had its grand opening ride and 1 year anniversary party. What an amazing weekend. The 24th was the inaugural bike ride and ride-after party. On the 25th there was a full fledge day party/celebration. It was a magnificent day full of peace, joy, and harmony in OUR community. So many people came from near and far. They shared that they were elated to see the improvements made to that corner after so many years of it being abandoned.
Towards the end of the event, a woman and her daughter pulled up outside the event and began to speak rudely to a bystander who happen to be the mother of my publicist. My publicist briefed me on the situation and suggested I address it. I do so and was met with same rude energy from said woman. She claimed to be from the neighborhood council and proceeded to say she has control of this area, and no businesses would last there unless she said so. I had already been welcomed with open arms by 90% of the surrounding neighbors. They were ecstatic to finally have an organization there to bring some life back to that corner. Her energy was strange and the only person to come at me in such a way. I told her all my documents were legal and in order and any further issues should be addressed to ownership or through official communications. She disappeared. Pin this incident.
For 20 months – RWU LA truly brought life back to a dying Slauson Ave. From bike rides to community events – we turned it up! Concerts, vendor villages, graduation parties, college going away parties, funeral repasts, car shows, you name it – I’ve hosted it. I’m a LA – Crenshaw District Native – outside of what Nipsey did with The Marathon Clothing store, I had never seen this section pop with positivity like this. 4601 W. Slauson has been a car dealership, a dentist, a few car washes, a tax office, a homeless encampment, a smoke shop, and more. When I made it a bike shop and event space – I saw beautiful things happen. My community supported me 100%. They encouraged me to keep going when things get hard and reminded me that the community needs RIDEWITUS LA. It was so powerful, and I will never forget the fire ignited in me. Though challenging, expensive, and sometimes uncertain – I managed to KEEP GOING. There have been several trials and tribulations along the way, but I’ve never given up. The shop on Slauson has been my 2nd baby, OUR baby for almost two years. We’ve literally watched it glow up before our eyes.
Un pin that pinned incident.
On October 5, 2022, I received a phone call from a woman stating she does children’s events and wanted to rent the event space for the entire month of November and December for said events. October 6, we met, negotiated, signed an event space agreement set to begin November 1st, she paid fees, and was given a key to the property. She understood she was not to occupy the space until November 1. We parted ways.
Two days later while discussing arrangements for December’s event space payment, she tells me she is the rightful owner of the land and she wouldn’t be paying me any more money for HER land. She said she just used me to gain possession of “her” land. She also said there is a pending lawsuit with the “crooks” I have been leasing from and the land was stolen from her years ago. Ummm, excuse me!?
I reached out to the leasing company I have been dealing with. I asked who this woman is and why is she making these claims. They advised she was indeed one of the previous owners of the land but not anymore. I was told she has tried to sue them and appeal decisions at least 5 times, all of which she has lost over the past 10 years. (This is all public information.) They told me she is a troublemaker and advised me to cancel any contracts with her and to not allow her access under any circumstance.
October 17, against agreement, said woman enters property, parks an unauthorized car on the property, and leaves it. I demanded she move it, she refused. Car towed. October 19 woman becomes upset that locks are changed after the afore situation and tells me I won’t be having anymore events at “her” space She ripped down a $800 banner for a (then) upcoming event. I had to come out of my pocket to replace the banner immediately. She threatened to return to disrupt the event.
Prior to November 1st, I notified her that I would not be going forward with our agreement and offered a partial refund minus damages caused, vehicle storage fees, and breach of contract loss of deposit. She ignored.
November 1, she demanded I meet her at the property to give her the new keys. At 11:30 am she cut my locks off and replaced them with her own. I had a locksmith cut hers off. She cut mine off, again.
Law enforcement became involved. As a result of the situation being so hostile, and her having the agreement, I was told it is now a civil matter and I would have to go through courts and the eviction process to regain access. They allowed her, in her anger, to rip every one of my banners down. My family and I were threatened and disrespected by her and her brother right in front of the place I sacrificed everything for. Law enforcement did nothing. They were undertrained and ill advised. Rightfully hers or not, I know I didn’t deserve that.
The same people who scammed me in 2019 came back. That‘s it. That’s the story.
I had no idea who this woman was or her history when she contacted me. I should have done my research. I don’t know if the land is truly hers or what will happen going forward. I do know legal fees are astronomical and the process is time consuming. I do know I have a son to provide for, and a new store to open. I do know that God is in control, and I have a marathon to continue.
Thank you for reading. Peace and blessings.
A Setback on Slauson, made for a Comeback on Crenshaw. This space is nothing like the Slauson space, but that’s the blessing. I was blessed to have had Slauson. I’m grateful for every opportunity, event, and person I met there. But that door closed so new ones could open. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The test, then the testimony. WE ON CRENSHAW NOW BABYYYY!!!
RIDEWITUS LA still promises to be the better than average neighborhood bike store (with regular hours Lol) that provides amazing bikes and exceptional service to our community. We will still host weekly rides to keep our community active and together, in a fun way. We will even go back to hosting quarterly bike trips (Its been too long!) . In addition to these promises, RWU LA will take on these new ventures:
E-BIKE LENDING LIBRARY/CHARGHING STATIONS (January 2023)
To help clean the air, and get more people mobile in south central Los Angeles, RWU LA has partnered with LACI to serve as an e-Bike Lending Library. This will provide short or long term zero emissions methods to Los Angelinos at a low cost. People in south central shouldn’t have to travel 10+ miles to charge their e-vehicles. We’re going to have them at RWU on Crenshaw.
RIDEWITUS STREET TEAM (January 2023)
RIDEWITUS LA recently inherited several used/damaged bicycles from USC. RWU LA has committed to restoring these bicycles and donating them back to the community. We will accomplish this with quarterly bike giveaways, and a street team dedicated to giving bikes to people on the streets of LA. The Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation donated helmets that will accompany each bicycle. We hope to reduce bike theft, bring some happiness to the people on the streets, and inspire them to be healthier. We’ll use the bike as a way of connecting with more people and learning about their needs and possible ways of getting them off the streets. Fundraising will be used to subsidize repair costs and labor. You may help support these efforts by subscribing to us on Patreon (coming soon) or via GoFundMe.
RWU BUILD-A-BIKE SCHOOL (March 2023)
Beginning in March of 2023, RWU LA will begin hosting 4-week long bike building and bike mechanics classes at the location on Crenshaw. These small classes will be taught by a bike builder/mechanic who has been in the industry for over 20 years. This class will be open to people aged 10 and up and will include parts and the bike you build. You’ll get hands on experience building your very own bike while learning how to perform routine maintenance.
This is the beginning of something new. There is so much more to come. I’m grateful to have been able to secure a new space in such a short time. God wasn’t playing. Although I still have A LOT to do before I can begin operations, my faith remains high. I know that everything will continue to work itself out.
I’m nervous, yet excited. Happy and sad. Everything is totally different, yet still the same in every way. I have the same mission, just in a new location, and new ways of accomplishing it. I’m extremely grateful for all your prayers, calls, and messages of love and encouragement. They truly helped me get through one of the roughest times of my career. Peace, love and gratitude.
Hope to see you all at our 3rd Annual Miles & Mimosas Thanksgiving Day ride.