Los Angeles has a hub of cycling groups from Armed With A Bike to Trash Panda Cycling. All groups range from spicy to nice and chill. But one of those groups is doing something special for the LA cycling community that’s hosting some classic underground races. Meet Edin Barrientos and Victor Marquez from Chief Lunes and inventors of Los Angeles Underground World of Cycling (LAUWC).
On a chilly Sunday morning, I joined Wild Wolf Cycling Collective. They are another awesome group who celebrate and connect non-binary, trans, gender queer and women riders in Southern California who put together a dirt clinic showing Chief Lunes sad boy cross course and basic cyclocross skills that can be used on the upcoming race on April 24th.
As the Wild Wolfs practiced on, I sat down with Edin and Victor to talk about Chief Lunes and LAUWC race series. Both guys as young adults participated in many rides in the 2013 era of cycling groups of Los Angeles from Critical Mass to Midnight Ridazz but Edin decided to just go ahead and host his own ride for his friends in the area he lived in. “It started with high school friends going to all these rides and just big fans of them ranging from party rides to putting in miles,” says Edin. “I told the whole crew, ‘Let's just start our own group closer to home in the South-Central area,’ and on a Monday night at Hoover Park it started.”
Living in Torrance, Victor would commute to LA and join various groups to ride. It wasn’t until the 3rd year of Chief Lunes when Victor would meet Edin. Victor started coming out every Monday from Torrance, Edin says, “One of the dedicated ones. Remember you started a chapter of Chief on your side of town!” “The South Bay Chiefs,” says Victor. “We meet at El Camino college parking lot and do the same thing and, of course, from time to time I ride my way down to LA to hang and here we are now and still doing it.”
Attending races themselves, seeing how they were done, and how it was always the same style of races, they thought why not try something that’s different and change it up a bit. Both having the same passion and drive, they did it! From hosting a crit at an abandoned go kart track to a night gravel race which had a nice addition to it by having you jump through a U-Haul van. They did something that welcomed everyone to the race scene; by just hosting these events, it brought people together. Building new friendships, connections and being part of a new movement of racing in the LA scene. “We don’t want to have that vibe where everyone is super serious and arms cross chilling at a tent, heck no! Everyone out here that races are friends, we bump shoulders and go at it but the best part is it's not a super serious environment everyone from the audience to racers enjoy themselves and have a fun time !” said Victor.
Spirits are high for the upcoming race number 2 of the 2022 race series. Edin and Victor are excited to get the community together for another awesome day of racing. With equal payouts to all categories, they want to ensure that everyone in every field is respected and, of course, having a great time. If you are in the LA area, check out a LAUWC race on April 24th; but if you can't, don't worry, this is only race 2 of 7. Head over to LAUWC’s and Chief Lunes’ Instagram to find out more info on the future races and rides in the 2022 season.
To close out I want to thank Victor and Edin for sitting down and chatting about the community and events planned out for the 2022 season. All photos shown were taken on my Pentax K-1000 using Kodak Portra 800 film because I mean films not dead! One final thing Victor and Edin want to thank you,“Thanks for believing in us and our goal to bring the community together! We appreciate the help and the love!” says Edin. “And our sponsors, local and out of state, we appreciate everything,” Victor added. As a cycling community either from California to Arizona, city or town let's support one another, respect one another, and, of course, just have fun and not take things too seriously. Let’s keep communities thriving and continue to make it a safe space for all.
– Matty Skipper Lopez