Trials riding is over at UCLA
UCLA Group Ride - Tuesday night, June 15, 1999

The University of California Police Department at UCLA means business now: they are ticketing people left and right, and not only giving warnings, but checking your IDs to make sure you haven't been warned before (if you have, off to the police station you go!)! Trials riding on campus now is really risky business! If you do, be safe, wear a helmet, be respectful, and claim to not know anything about this if you're caught (if they know that you know it's illegal, you're in big trouble). For all the details of the last unofficially official UCLA group trials ride, read on...
8 bicyclists rode on the UCLA campus for their last time tonight.

Poor saps involved: 3 trials riders (me on my Monty mod, Jun, and Jon on their stocks), 4 street mountain bikers (jumping stairs at speed) on a mix of full-suspension and hard-tails, and 1 bmxer.

We were riding on campus, enjoying ourselves and not hurting anybody. I was having a good night riding. Coolest thing I did that night was the last thing (which, luckily, the cops didn't see me do, but I'm getting ahead of myself..). I rode the tough tree roots section by Haines Hall and the flagpole. There are two 4+ foot gaps from tree root to tree root. I started off with a pedal-up gap to rear wheel onto the first root at like 6 inches high, then to one a foot high, then to the last one about 2 feet high, then down to concrete... all rear wheel, all super smooth and accurate. I made it all the way on my second try, it was so awesome! Two of the guys watching actually clapped for me. After this, we headed down a bit, in front of Schoenberg Hall, and some of the guys started jumping down the stairs.

A cop pulled up and saw 3 guys jumping down stairs, while the rest of us were watching on in silent horror, wanting to tell them to stop. They notice his arrival too late... The cop asks the three guys he saw jumping down the stairs to come over there, and then he asks the rest of us just sitting there in a group not riding to "park our bikes over there." He cites the 3 guys for jumping down the stairs on their bikes and gives the rest of us warnings (2 more cop cars pull up to help out!). They gave the 5 of us who weren't being ticketed a "Field Interview," which essentially means they take down all of your information: name, driver's license #, address, phone, social security #, height, weight, hair, eyes, birthdate... They even asked me if I had any tatoos or scars on my body, I'm like tatoos? Heck no... Scars, you betcha... He checked over my arms, asking me about the scars (scars upon scars, let me tell you...). Anyway, my name is now on record with the UCPD. If I get caught riding on campus (besides just to class), they'll check back at the station, find that I've been warned, and then I won't just be given a $104 ticket, I'll be taken down to the police station, where I'll be thumb-printed, photographed, the whole nine yards crap they do for criminals... I'd have to appear in court and there'd be like a $200-500 fine, and I think I'd then have a criminal record! Hmm.. worth it to take the risk?!

What's more, if you (yes, YOU!) get caught riding on campus, and they ask if you know anybody else who rides here, say NO! Claim ignorance, you'll get off with either a warning or a $103 ticket, both better than a ride down to the police station. If you ride UCLA, ride in very small numbers and stay away from streets to minimize your chances of running into cops (although sometimes UCPD bike cops ride around campus at night, so watch out even far from any street). What's more WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR! (at least a helmet). Police are more likely to be nicer to you if you wear protective gear (they told me that I definitely get "points for wearing protective gear," because I was wearing my helmet, gloves, and Roach dual-slalom shin/kneeguards). The reason that UCPD is cracking down on skaters and bicyclists is for liability reasons... UCLA can be held liable for any injuries or deaths that occur on campus, even if you're breaking the law (as in this case, you would be). I was chatting with one of the cops about liability, and he mentioned that a guy's family sued UCLA because he became a vegetable after riding his motorcycle at 60 MPH in a 35 MPH zone on Sunset, running over a wet spot in the road caused by UCLA water sprinklers, losing control and crashing...

UCLA is trials heaven, and I'm really going to miss it. I'm going to ride at least one more time during a weekend in the summer just by myself, and have some friends come along without bike to keep a watch out and get some video footage very carefully and quickly! I do not want a criminal record... This SUCKS!

It was nice while it lasted... 1 year, 6 and a half months of trials riding on campus. From my first time trials riding, trying to learn to trackstand, all the way through trials fundamentals, beginner level, sport level, to just about to compete in my first expert competition. I estimate I rode on UCLA campus more than 250 hours over this time period! A lot of fond memories (sniff! I'm getting all welled up): Hours upon hours of trials practice and entertainment during the day and night on the best campus for trials of all time (that I and everyone I know has seen so far), countless little scrapes, zero serious injuries, two photographs (1 | 2, in the "A Day in the Life of UCLA" section, ironically) published in the Daily Bruin (UCLA newspaper), countless hundreds of people entertained and intrigued, one $104 ticket, 6 encounters with the UCPD,

...and one eternal banishment from riding on campus ever again.

Do I have a right to ask how is this deserved? Where am I gonna ride now? I'm going to miss you, UCLA campus, this page is dedicated to you. I'm going to take pictures to put up here of all the spots I used to ride. I'm gonna go cry now... just kidding! barely...