Molly enjoying the famous Tres Leche cake at Lola's brand new parklet on 4th Street Retro Row Long Beach. Molly wears a vintage dress and jewelry courtesy of Meow Boutique. Hair & Makeup: Margeaux Hamrock for Salon Pop. Photography: Allan Crawford
On April 1, 2012 Cruz Cycling in collaboration with the Arts Council for Long Beach and MoLAA and will hold the first annual "Bike Scavenger Hunt" in support of their join venture The Collaborative art gallery. We were so intrigued by this new event and by the effervescent charm of Molly that we chose her as our cover model for this issue and asked her to not only share with us all about this family fun event, but also about her own bike-friendly feelings.
WoBSoCal: How did the idea of this April 1st "Bike Scavenger Hunt" as a fundraiser in support of "The Collaborative" come together? Is this an idea Long Beach's Bicycle Ambassador Tony Cruz brought to The Arts Council & MoLAA?
MG: Yes! As a matter of fact Tony Cruz and Carlos Romero brought this idea of a public art bicycle scavenger hunt to MOLAA because of their connections. Since MOLAA and the Arts Council for Long Beach have a gallery together in Downtown Long Beach, they decided it would be a great idea to use this event as a fundraiser for The Collaborative. The Collaborative is The Collaborative is a gallery space in Downtown Long Beach that presents exciting, innovative exhibitions and site specific installations that raise awareness of emerging artists and introduce the public to new innovative approaches to art. The Arts Council for Long Beach and the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) are partners at The Collaborative providing curatorial direction and administrative oversight for the gallery with each organization responsible for planning two exhibitions per year. The Collaborative is funded by Lyon Communities through the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency's Percent for Public Art Policy. We are excited to raise the funds for this fantastic art venue as well as raise awareness of the public art in Long Beach. This has been a great synergy between the Arts Council’s extensive public art collection, MOLAA’s fantastic resources, and Tony and Carlos’ vision for making this city more bicycle friendly.
WoBSoCal: Why do you feel the experience of riding a bike our Long Beach to discover (or rediscover) our public art will be more fun than say simply driving around in a car?
MG: Since the public will be riding on their bikes from each public art stop to the next, it is more of a journey than going from point A to point B. They will get to experience everything in between each location as well as standing up close and personal with each piece. Not to mention the activities that will make them interact with each public art stop. There will be nothing short of a good time on April 1st. This event will ultimately engage our community by taking a closer look at our surroundings and the lovely public art that we have in Long Beach that often times goes unnoticed while driving in a car.
WoBSoCal: It looks like this will be a day of fun for everyone with all kinds of activities for children after the "hunt" at the after party MoLAA. Why did the group of organizers feel it was so important to include so many fun things for children such as the "Safe Routes to School" bicycle safety rodeo?
MG: We wanted this to not only be a fundraiser for The Collaborative, but a chance to help improve our biking community in Long Beach. We want all ages to participate in this amazing event and know how extremely important it is to teach our children how to safely ride a bike. It is one thing to just pick up a bike and wear a helmet, it is another thing to learn and be aware of riding a bike around city streets. Bike safety is extremely important, especially learning it at such a young age.
WoBSoCal: Do you remember the first time you rode a bike? How old were you?
MG: I definitely remember the first time I rode a bike, I was six years old and I learned on the cul-de-sac where my parents still live today. There is this giant tree in the middle and as soon as I learned how to ride my bike without training wheels I would practice hours biking around that tree. It was the most liberating feeling with the wind in my hair and feeling the cold air on my face. Then I was biking all over the neighborhood, every chance I got.
WoBSoCal: What was your most memorable bike?
MG: My most memorable bike is the bike I had in college. It was a baby blue beach cruiser that I painted colorful daisies on the white wheel protectors. I would go all over campus on that bike from one art class to the next. The most memorable moment was when I tried to grab an actual daisy to put in my hair on my way to class and fell in the bushes. I never tried that again. But the sad ending to the story was because it was so dang cute, it got stolen.
WoBSoCal: After participating in our recent photo session for Women On Bikes do you feel even more inspired to get out and ride your bike?
MG: I absolutely love the growing biking community. When riding on bikes, you see people as individuals and not just drones in a car. You start to see the similar faces of people biking around town. Doing the photo shoot and meeting more people involved in the biking culture, there is definitely camaraderie with cyclists in Long Beach. They like to experience the city on their bike and encourage others to do the same. There are so many positives to riding your bike: gas prices are sky rocketing and people stay more inside these days than they do outside. Biking gives people a chance to create sustainable communities and getting quality exercise while doing so. After doing this photo shoot, I realized that I don’t have to wear hard core biking clothing to go on a leisurly stroll through town. I can use my own unique sense of fashion and enjoy my surroundings as I breeze by shops, cafes and businesses I never would know existed if I were just stuck in my car.
WoBSoCal: What do you think bicycle advocacy groups can do to entice more young women into getting outand riding bikes? Do you agree with Women On Bikes SoCal that fashion and style are smart engagement tools?
MG: Women on Bikes SoCal is such a fantastic way to get more women out and about without feeling like they have to look super sporty all the time. Women on Bikes SoCal has proved that you can look classy and fashionable while still riding your bike around town. Since I have to take my car to work everyday to Long Beach from Irvine, I know the benefits that driving has vs. riding your bike to work everyday. One simply experiences their day with more joy while riding a bike than sitting on the freeway, somehow angry at the people around you who are in the same situation you are in. I love when I see bikers in the morning going to work. They start their day off fresh, gets the blood going and you can’t help but smile! For women, we feel empowered by riding our bikes especially when we are wearing what we want to wear. It is definitely more of a chance to show off your style which is always fun.
WoBSoCal: You work in Long Beach but live in Orange County - what do you tell your friends about Long Beach's goal to become the most bicycle friendly city in America? Are we doing a good job?
MG: Long Beach has the infrastructure, the motivation, and the leadership to make this city the most bicycle friendly city in America. The advocacy groups such as Women on Bikes, Bikable Communities, Cruz cycling club, Long Beach Cyclists etc. are doing a great job of highlighting the ever growing cycling culture in southern California. When I describe the scene here to my friends in Orange County – it seems very foreign since Orange County is a bit more spread out than Long Beach. They are excited that there is such a lively community here in Long Beach and want to spend more time here. So in a nutshell, yes Long Beach is doing a good job and I think we are on the right track in becoming the most bicycle friendly city in America.