Exercise enthusiasts and road safety advocates banded together for a joint cycling and running event held in West Creek Park on Sunday by the nonprofit organization “Streets Are For Everyone,” or S.A.F.E.
“Finish the Ride,” an event for cyclists, featured three courses mainly through bike paths that varied in length and intensity, with each track stretching across 12, 25 or 62 miles. “Finish the Run,” an event for runners, featured a 5k and 10k run, each one taking participants across scenic bicycle and pedestrian paths. While awards were given to the top finishers in various categories of each sport, both were promoted less as races and more as forms of community engagement and advocacy for road safety.
“We aim to make roads safe for all road users,” said S.A.F.E. employee Kylea-Rose Devitt, who’s also the wife of the organization’s founder, Damian Kevitt. “So, cyclists, pedestrians, anyone who uses our road. We are trying to basically get traffic fatalities, serious injuries down to zero.”
The event also featured multiple vendors promoting their companies and products, most of which were focused on athleticism and road safety. One such vendor, Victor Rodriguez, was promoting Doom Rehab and Recovery, his small business based in the Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles.
“We’re a small recovery space that helps people implement recovery and wellness in their lives,” Rodriguez said. “When people are more active, they’re more likely to get injured, so we’re just helping teach people how to implement preventative care, maintain their bodies, and then recover from injuries.”
For many of the participants, Sunday’s event was not their first time engaging in long-form cycling or running. Many have done so for years for various reasons such as competitions, exercise, and mental and spiritual wellness.
“It just elevates me. It just makes me stressed-free,” said runner Preeti Reddy, who marked Sunday’s event as her seventh of ten 10k runs that she hopes to complete this year. “It brings me a lot of excitement and purpose for life. They do a great job in this organization. They’re so well-organized.”
The event also featured a Halloween theme, which included various spooky decorations and a costume competition. The love for dress-up extended to the staff of the event, with various employees and volunteers donning a wide array of costumes.
“Earlier, I was turning people in, getting them ready,” said volunteer Bharath Krishnen, who took part in the costume competition as the video game character Pikachu. “And I just did a water station where I was giving people the water where they were doing the run and jog.”
According to Devitt, all of the funds raised through the event will go to S.A.F.E.’s various programs such as its high school film competition, support services for those impacted by traffic collisions and legislation advocacy.
“We just got eight laws passed last year that we supported,” she said. “So, any of our work is fully funded by this run and ride.”