CRANK Mob, the Hedonistic Bacchanal, Don’t Hold Anything Back, Screaming, Drinking, Smoking, Screw Everybody Else, Bike Ride around Los Angeles.
Guest writer Teddy Leshnick often rides with the part-time fun, part-time rebellion group Crank Mob. Last Saturday, he and photographer Nathan Nowack took to the streets on the ride and took note of what they observed.
A typical CRANK is a party on wheels, where the participants visit various parks and supermarkets around West L.A. downing booze and causing a ruckus.
Last Saturday was the monthly bike mob, where hardcore commuter cyclists on tall bikes, two frames welded on top of each other, led a group of around 800 people around the Hollywood area. Mind you, the mob hit Hollywood Boulevard at around midnight when clubbers were out in full force.
“If this isn’t the last crank mob ever, it might as well be the last,” a mobber said while cop sirens wailed and angry drivers honked around the mass of cyclists.
This mob was different than others because of its disjointed start points. Usually, the everyone meets at Sawtelle and La Grange, and like the CRANK Mob website advertises, rides strictly around West L.A. Because of January’s large size, the mob’s council of elders decided to split into four start points, ranging from Los Feliz to Culver City. This set the mood for a hectic, disorganized and dangerous ride.
The four mini-mobs all merged at Pan Pacific Park, near Park La Brea. As the small group of around 100 riders from Westwood were cruising to Pan Pacific, the cops starting harassing the group because of its small size.
Around the Beverly Center, a young man ran a red light along with a group of bikers and was singled out because of his strange attire; he looked like a raver. A cop car sped up beside him. The officer in the passenger seat reached out the window and pulled him off his bike and on to the pavement. Bradley Russell and Darron Ravenborg, two college-aged riders, witnessed this act.
If most of the other cops on patrol that night felt the same way about the mob, it explained the vindictive and nasty actions of the cops.
For the next two hours, it felt like the police were herding the group around. They would speed along side the ride, to make sure everyone was in the right lane with sirens blaring.
On the way out of Hollywood a police cruiser clipped a young woman. Luckily, she didn’t fall as the cop car purposely jutted in and out of the bike stream. After hitting her, the cop did a fish tail burn out and sped away.
When ride approached Griffith Park, a police helicopter was shining its search light upon the mob.
In the police’s defense, some were very helpful by blocking major intersections and directing traffic. Unfortunately, this didn’t stop all the accidents. On the way back to Pan Pacific Park, where the ride officially ended, a girl got hit by a cabbie then yelled at by on-looking pedestrians.
After talking to more people, more horror stories of people getting hit emerged through conversation. The worst was a silver Porsche speeding through an intersection that hit a mobber and sent him to the hospital (see photo #2 above).
Riding around Hollywood on a Saturday night was not a wise idea. It’s fun when everyone keeps a good pace around the empty streets of the Westside, but a cohesive mob can’t gather amongst the screams and protests of angry night clubbers.
A solid roll couldn’t start because there were too many cars breaking the mob into pieces. As the mob became more dissipated more people were making dangerous solo dashes across busy intersections. Thus, people getting hit.
Out of the five past CRANK mobs, this was the most dangerous. CRANK mob can be fun under certain circumstances. The ride has to have a single start point and ride through West L.A.
After 11 p.m. the Westside is practically deserted. This means, no angry drivers and more importantly no angry cops corralling the ride. It was stupid planning the ride through a crowded part of town on a Saturday night. Keep it on the Westside and keep it safe.