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A ride to remember

A "Light the Night" community bike ride was held on Wednesday at Barker Park to promote community engagement and bicycle safety.

Councilmember Alex Garcia coordinated the special affair.

"If even one young person had a good time and walked away with a new sense of bike safety, then I consider that a success," he said.

He added that the turnout was great.

"We had riders of all ages that came out and took advantage of the free bike wear made available by the City of Wasco, and it was a fun new way to enjoy our parks and spend time with our neighbors."

The night's goal was to spotlight public safety, health and wellness through a fun, family-friendly event.

Garcia said of the added benefit of events like this, "Through active community, we are working towards being able to reclaim ownership of our public spaces at all times, day or night."

"Also, getting outside and spending time with our neighbors breaks down barriers and brings neighbors together to get to know each other better, creating a more united community."

The event provided safety resources to those that attended, and the non-profit Bike Bakersfield was there to encourage bicycling as a safe, fun and environmentally friendly means of everyday transportation, which was right in line with the message of the event.

Tony Renteria, education and outreach coordinator, said, "We are out here fixing bikes, making sure they are ready to go on their bikes. We do this for the community and really enjoy coming out and especially helping the youth. We're here providing information on how to be safer on your bike."

The riders siad they had a great time.

"I was excited to come today because I love meeting new people and making friends. I liked decorating my bike with flashing lights," Desire Coleman said.

Another rider, Tony Bernal, said, "I think it's nice. It is what we need; to bring the community together. Plus, it's good exercise and good for your heart."

Dolores Lopez brought her three boys.

"I thought it would be something fun for them. They ride their bikes a lot. It's important for the kid's safety, and if they needed help with their bikes, they could get that here."

Volunteers were on hand to help.

Petra Rueda said, "I think it's an awesome event for everyone to show their bike skills and light up the night with the cool glow sticks they gave out to the community."

There was music by DJ Bob Fuentes from Forge 103.9 and raffles for bikes and other prizes.

Abuelita Mexican hot chocolate and pan dulce was provided by LifeHouse Church.

Pastor Manuel Cantu said, "It gives the opportunity for everyone to come out and enjoy the holiday with friends and family. We want to thank Alex for inviting us."

Some of the key sponsors of the night included Strata Credit Union, Kern Family, Good Samaritan Health Clinic, Canyon Hills and LifeHouse Churches of Wasco.

Garcia plans to hold more of these events.

"Stay tuned for a moonlight ride series in the summer of 2023."

Those interested in being involved in next year's series or other related events can contact Councilmember Alex Garica at 661-779-0427.

 

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