El Centro de las Américas brings you a chronicle of bike rides where we exercise, integrate our Latino population, and hit up local awesomeness. El Centro is a non-profit in Lincoln, Nebraska that strives to educate and empower the Latino community and the community at large.

Funding provided by Community Health Endowment of Lincoln.

jueves, 9 de septiembre de 2010

Ride 15

The mere four of us had the destination of our choosing. With perfect weather and two good hours until sunset, we decided to make the unofficial Latino Bike Tour ride an official record distance: 10.6 miles round trip. We set off to Lintel Park to pick up the Dietrich Trail, which took us east to 70th street. A one-eighty later and we were heading towards the picturesque sunset and Latino Bike Tour history.

Nice ride!

jueves, 2 de septiembre de 2010

Ride 14

Ride 14 marked the unofficial finale of Latino Bike Tour. To bookend the program, our group of 13 rode down to Sheldon once again to view part 4 of the Cuban film series. We watched Illogical Temple, a student-produced documentary made by UNL's 2004 College of Journalism. Afterward, we watched Cuba: La Solidaridad, a short doc made by John Daniel Walters and yours truly.

Further rides are scheduled for September 7 and 14.

Nice ride!

Ride 13

Not far from El Centro is the spacious new location of Monkeywrench. A quick jaunt down Q Street and we met up with co-owner Eric, who gave us a very thorough demonstration of bike maintenance.
He's been wrenching for 20 years, so it was laden with bike-speak and seemingly facile manipulation of bike components. Above, he shows the boys some finer points of brake calipers.

He had the brilliant idea of working on the kids' bikes, so the three in question are now running like butter. Afterward, everyone got a bell or a tail light, courtesy of Latino Bike Tour funds.

Thanks, Eric! Nice ride!

martes, 24 de agosto de 2010

Special Recognition

Before Ride 12 I stopped in the office and saw an envelope addressed to me with return address of "Latino Bike Tour families". The enclosed:

Thank you! Nice Ride!

Ride 12

Two things played against us for Ride 12's low attendance. First, being the start of the school year, none of the kiddos came because of Open House. Second, it was pretty cloudy with chance of some "weather". And here I thought the cool temp would bring droves.

So the three of us took Q street down to campus for a tour of the Kruger Collection, a miniatures gallery and one of UNL's best kept secrets (located in Arch Hall, if you're interested). I found out about it a few years ago because one of my best friends' sisters used to curate it. Full disclosure: Amber from the Great Plains Art Museum (from Ride 5).

Curator DiAnna showed us this year's exhibit, plus the back room where all the miniatures are stored. The collection is mostly furniture, but my favorite was a Japanese carving of a boy tugging a seated man's beard - carved out of a hardened peach pit. Maybe you can find it here, or just snoop around the thousands of other pieces. It's fun - as photos, they look like the real thing, but remember the pieces are 1/12 scale! For example:

Nice Ride!

martes, 17 de agosto de 2010

Ride 11

Sorry, no photos! Jorge the photographer was not present for Ride 11. You'll have to trust my prose:

A new, fourth component of this program would be heat. But last Saturday was bearable, so I had to boost the "community integration" piece to compensate. I took riders down to the Haymarket, this time for an exclusive visit to Maggie's Wraps. Special thanks to El Centro board member Staci Bell for donating some cash to sponsor a ride, and in this case, snacks. Maggie shared her history in the biz, and then some cantaloupe.

So the bike tie-in: I remember back in '06 when I bought my first awesome bike (you know, upgrade from a long run of Joe Schmoe mountain bikes to a Bianchi). I went down to Maggie's to show my friends who were working there, and we immediately called a "Maggie's Ride" and got a rad group of about 25 people for a nice Friday afternoon spin all over Lincoln that went well into the evening.

ANYWAY. Maggie is a cycling enthusiast and local food activist with a sweet restaurant. Thanks, Maggie!

Nice ride!

martes, 10 de agosto de 2010

Ride 10

Took 'er downtown to check out some arty activities and expose some of the charm of 14th Street. First stop was Gomez Art Supply where we were supplied with a key to Tugboat Gallery to check out the latest exhibit.

We poked around Parrish Studios for awhile before descending onto the Art of Rock street festival to find sidewalk art, a fashion show, and some live folk performances. Academy of Rock (from which came the Art of Rock event) is an interesting Lincoln program that focuses on empowering young people to develop their music/art/creative skills, deftly implicated by a sidewalk chalk rendition of Mona Lisa as KISS enthusiast.

More chalkies on the walk over to A Novel Idea Bookstore...

Our photo man Jorge standing proud:

Nice ride!

Ride 9

Ride 9 took us to 21st and Holdrege where we found the John Dietrich trailhead on the edge of cute Lintel Park. Dietrich twists quite far northeast after linking with the Murdock Trail on 48th Street, but we hooked a right at 33rd and pedaled around the leisurely East Campus Loop.

Along the way we had a few chain drops, but a quick tightening trick had us back on the road.

I'd like to think Latino Bike Tour has all the excitement to keep a child awake, but nevertheless...

Our ultimo destino was the UNL Dairy Store, where they make everything from ag dept animals and such, including ice cream. Everyone was happy.

martes, 3 de agosto de 2010

Ride 8

Well it was another hot one. Attendance suffered as a result, but fun didn't. We checked out Sunken Gardens, Re-Cycled bike shop, and then popped into Leon's grocery for some A/C and refreshments before sweating back to El Centro.

As ever, mil gracias to Jorge Palacios for the photography.

Nice ride!

jueves, 29 de julio de 2010

Ride 7

A casual Tuesday ride brought us out to the Salt Creek/Oak Lake area west of Lincoln via the historic Haymarket's long bridge over the train track leading to Saltdog Stadium. It was another hot one and we had some wee children riding, so we made a water/granola bar stop early on. Latino Bike Tour unfortunately succumbed to its first rider spill, but luckily the result was only a scrape on the youngster's knee and a broken brake cable coupling.

We pressed on, Salt Creek at our side, until crossing over to Oak Lake for a nice rest and great view.Given our trend for taking new and improved R street, your tour guide decided to switch it up on them, so we re-routed on the way back, taking the North Bottoms route up to Antelope Valley. The entire street/trail system is new and unfamiliar, but one bridge crossing gave us a straight shot back to El Centro. Nice ride!

martes, 27 de julio de 2010

Ride 6

Bit of a late start for Ride 6, but we managed to catch the exhibit "Within Reach" showing in the historic Haymarket's Haydon Art Center--a cozy pocket of art space on 8th and R. Thanks to a patient Carolin, the gallery tour guide who stuck around for our late arrival, we got a nice introduction to the show.

After that we loped a block over to From Nebraska Gift Shop and were at once inundated with Nebraska kitsch. Your tour guide's favorite pieces were wildlife delicately painted on feathers and bones, e.g. a bald eagle painted on an owl feather, a mountain lion painted on a cow scapula. Does anyone else find that hilariously awesome?

Next stop was The Mill, a favorite haunt of students, downtown professionals, retirees, and those needing a jolt.

Later we had a surprise stop up the road in the Near South barrio:

Mariachi! In a church parking lot!

The Breakdown:
Number of riders who hadn't previously visited any Ride 6 tour stops: Majority
Purchases: 1 jar jalapeño jelly; 1 granita; 1 empanada de fresa
Mariachi: present

jueves, 22 de julio de 2010

Ride 5

A quick skip across the new and improved R Street led us downtown to the Great Plains Art Museum, where Curator Amber Mohr led a very informative tour of the bucolic works. Some really nice sculpture in there, not to mention fantastic plains imagery. Thanks, Amber!

After that, a quick vote led us half a block up the street to Juice Stop for healthy refreshments before heading back to El Centro. Nice ride!

martes, 20 de julio de 2010

Ride 4

Saturday's high of 140 degrees may have deterred a few, but a strong baker's dozen made it on the trail. One casualty had to turn back from early onset "it's too hot out" affect, while those remaining pressed on until reaching the bike rack just across from our state capitol. A 3pm tour briefed us on the dense symbolism found in and around the structure (the heaviest state capitol in N America) and a rickety elevator to the 14th observation deck proffered a stunning view of Lincoln, most notably mi barrio, the Very Near South:

Once back on the ground and facing the sweltering ride home, we voted on a detour to neighborhood El Chaparro for some grub. Worth it.

jueves, 15 de julio de 2010

Ride 3

It was a hot Tuesday for wheeling up the Mopac Trail until Bethany Park at 66th and Vine, but a 10-minute breather and some granola bars helped us power back. At least the way back is always seems quicker than the way there. Love the new bridge over 27th street.

Thanks to Jorge Palacios for the great photos! 17 riders!

Ride 2

Went down to Cooper Park on 8th and E to take in a lecture on diabetes and then undergo basic health assessments by a few lovely nurses from County Health. After that, it was a quick stop at Pan Dulce (jalapeño cream cheese bread!) before returning. 16 riders!

Check out more photos HERE.

viernes, 9 de julio de 2010

First Ride - Sheldon

For those lacking the equipment, we provide bikes, helmets, and locks. Once everyone was situated, we took the new and improved R street straight to Sheldon to see their Cuban art exhibit Flowers, Lies and Revolution. Honoring our arrival was director J. Daniel Veneciano, who later handed things over to bilingual docent Britt to give us a tour. We even got snacks afterward--I think they deserve a return visit...

Left with daylight, we decided to wheel around campus before heading back to El Centro.

First Ride: hitchless. Next ride: Saturday, July 10 2pm, Cooper Park for health assessments and Cultiva Coffee for refreshments.

jueves, 8 de julio de 2010


Welcome to the first post. Over the next two months, this blog will report activity on Latino Bike Tour, a series of rides around Lincoln, Tuesdays at 6pm and Saturdays at 2pm.

Look at the official poster!