Daily 49er

Uptown puts on Beach Streets

Bikes speed past local businesses in North Long Beach.

Participants+stand+near+their+bikes+during+Beach+Streets.+
Participants stand near their bikes during Beach Streets.

Participants stand near their bikes during Beach Streets.

Joel Vaughn | Daily 49er

Joel Vaughn | Daily 49er

Participants stand near their bikes during Beach Streets.

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A stretch of Atlantic Avenue in North Long Beach clamored with the sounds of bicycle gears clicking and locals chattering.

Beach Streets is a biannual cycling event that showcases local business and the community. The event, which moves locations each time, returned to its original site in North Long Beach Saturday.

Since its inception four years ago, the event has added food trucks and seen an increase in participation from local businesses. Tasha Hunter, the executive director of the Uptown Business District, has sought to draw more small business owners to the event.

“In addition to providing opportunity to see businesses that they would have never seen if it hadn’t been for [the event], Beach Streets also allows us to get active [and] get moving,” Hunter said.

Pedal Movement, a bike rental service operating throughout Long Beach, provided bike rentals, basic repairs and bike valet. Justin Harris, who ran their booth, has been working the event for a number of years and has seen it grow each time.

“It has gone from something that people in the bike scene talk about to something that families are all joining in on,” Harris said. “It’s really cool to see people kind of getting into it now.”

Harris sees the event as a handy way to engage the community while getting them out of the house and active.

“You get to see your city from a more manageable speed, when you’re in a car you miss so much.” Harris said.

Another active participant, whose been slinging records and tapes in Long Beach for the last 39 years, was Kelvin Anderson of World Famous VIP Records. Anderson described the event as allowing him to share his love for vinyl that he’s been cultivating in the in the business since 1972.

“I know a lot of people come to town just to be able to go to the Beach Streets’ swap-meet.”

Along with selling t-shirts and other merch, he described the event as a rendezvous for old friends to gather.

“A lot of the old school cats get to come, reminisce and run into old friends,” Anderson said. “Then a lot of the younger cats get to see how things used to be in a major way.”

Kurtis Colamonico ran and showcased Skate Kids at this weekend’s event, an after-school skating program that set up a mini skate park by Houghton park to give introductory skate lessons.

“I’m a professional skateboarder myself, I’ve been through the whole line, and I just always wanted to be a teacher,” Colamonico said. “So I though put my passion in kids and skating together and let’s get it done.”

Colamonico described his skate program as a discipline through repetition to master various skate tricks.

“If I didn’t learn how to kickflip, I wouldn’t have thought I could run a business,” Anderson said. “It’s just repetitive failure till you succeed.”

Keyona Montgomery, a Cal State Long Beach alumnus who manages Uptown Business District’s social media, described the massive amount of work behind putting on the event.

“From the outside it’s just fun you know,” Montgomery said. “But when you’re working it, you’re trying to get people to come out and show support.”

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