The genesis of Inner City Cycling Connection, Inc. (IC3) started in 1983 when then president Ronald Reagan passed legislation that made Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday a national holiday. At that time Don Harris, IC3 Founder and President, was reading a Life Magazine article and came across a picture of Dr. King riding a bicycle during the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. After reading the article and seeing Dr. King cycling picture, Don, an avid cyclist, a health & fitness advocate, and a bike enthusiast, decided right then he wanted to form a philanthropic cycling organization that address the needs of our inner city youths. He was troubled by the tremendous gang violent and the crack epidemic that plagued Los Angeles at that time. He saw cycling as a vehicle that could encourage young people to channel their energies into positive behavior as oppose to engaging in negative activities such as drugs and gangs. Hence, he formed Inner City Cycling Connection, Inc., abbreviated as (IC3), where the (I) stands for Inner and (C3) represents City, Cycling, and Connection, respectively.
In addition to Dr. King cycling, an added inspiration and motivation for Don Harris to form IC3 was the United States Army 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps Regiment stationed at Fort Missoula, Montana in 1896. This racially segregated unit of buffalo soldiers used bicycle as a means of transportation and was used by the US Army to test the practicality of bikes for military purposes in mountainous terrain.
A third inspirational factor behind the forming of IC3 was Marshall W. Taylor, also known as “Major Taylor”. In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Major Taylor dominated the sport of cycling. He is considered by some to be the first professional black athlete because he got paid and was in high demand. Some say he was the second professional black athlete behind boxer George Dixon. In either case, Major Taylor was able to overcome a lot of racial discrimination during a time of tremendous racial prejudice. Don was amazed as to the cycling dominance of this black athlete during this time of America’s history. (See the bottom of this about us page for more information on Major Taylor). Don sees Major Taylor and IC3 as catalysts for exposing and promoting cycling in our inner cities, especially to young people. The masses in our inner cities are simply not aware of cycling as a career. They are not knowledgeable about the financial rewards and the health benefits associated with this sport. IC3 plans on ending this lack of knowledge by educating when we have our events.
A fourth motivational factor in the formation of IC3 was the obesity epidemic in this country. Don was alarmed at the increasing rate of type I and type II diabetes among young people in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He saw IC3 as an organization that can help the medical industry fight diabetes in young people by promoting health and fitness through cycling at an early age. He plans on accomplishing this part of IC3 mission by opening cycling clubs where youths can be trained for events such as the Watts Summer Programs, the Amgen Tour of California, the Olympics, the Tour de France, and other cycling events. Don views IC3 and cycling as vehicles to bring awareness to the many ills plaguing our inner cities.
The fifth reason IC3 was formed revolve around the environmental impact smog was having on the city Don loves. He was concerned about the lung-damaging pollutants in smog that triggers asthma attacks, causes other health problems, and destroys the ozone. He saw cycling as a way to achieve cleaner air which in turn will save lives and strengthen the lungs of Los Angeles children because more bikes on the streets will result in less polluting vehicles on the road. Going “Green” and maintaining a clean environment are two of IC3 core themes.
Official formulation of the organization did not occur until September 19, 2003, that was the date IC3 became incorporated in the state of California. On January 5, 2005, the organization received its 501(C3) tax exempted status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
From 1983 to 1999, Don had many meetings with prominent community leaders including Brigadier General Celes King III, Bernard Parks, Larry Grant, and Alex Baum. He lobbied them heavily for a major cycling event on Crenshaw Blvd. in the Leimert Park District in Los Angeles, California so he can expose the sport. Many of these community leaders also saw cycling as a healthy alternative to gangs and drugs for our inner city youths.
Below are the credentials of these community leaders.
1) The late Brigadier General Celes King III was a Tuskegee Airman, a World War II veteran, a prominent bail bondsman, real estate broker, and a longtime activist in civil rights issues. King co-founded the Brotherhood Crusade in Los Angeles and in 1983 helped change the name of the street where he set up his bail bondsman business from Santa Barbara Avenue to King Boulevard. He was founding state chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
Throughout his long career as an activist, King stressed that good race relations depended on the equal availability of education, jobs and housing. King himself had four college degrees in business and law.
2) The late Larry Grant was founder of the Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles, a World War II Veteran, a Korean War Veteran, and a Civil Rights Activist.
3) Bernard Parks is a former LAPD police chief and a former Los Angeles 8th district councilman.
4) The late Alex Baum was one of the principal organizer of the 1984 Olympics, deputy assistant to late Mayor Tom Bradley, and a Los Angeles bicycling advocate who over decades successfully pushed for bike paths, bike lanes, and a greater consciousness of bikes as legitimate transportation in a sprawling city built around cars. Mr. Baum was also a member of the bicycle coalition of Los Angeles and taught bicycle courses at the Los Angeles Police Academy.
Other proponents of the cycling idea was brother Akele from the Kwanzaa People of Color Foundation and then 8th district councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas. Mr. Ridley-Thomas gave IC3 a fee waiver in 1999 to conduct its first race. Mr. Ridley-Thomas is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for the 2nd District. He served as a California State Senator, representing the 26th district from 2006 to 2008 and was a California State Assemblyman representing the 48th district from 2002 until 2006. He was Chairman of the Assembly Democratic Caucus. Before his six years in the Legislature, he was on the Los Angeles City Council from 1991 to 2002.
In 1999, Mr. Grant allowed IC3 to have its first cycling event before the Kingdom Day Parade which Don called the Martin Luther King Jr. Bicycle Race Classic and Festival on Crenshaw Blvd in the Leimert Park District. The award ceremony was held at Krispy Kreme on Crenshaw Blvd. Various local news outfit were in attendance, including Channel 4, 7, and 11. This particular event had two purpose:
1) Keeping Dr. King dream alive through cycling.
2) Exposing our inner city young people to the health benefits and other rewards of cycling.
The event was a tremendous success and ended about 10am before the parade started. From 1999 to 2006, Don had the race before the parade. The event was growing and he was informed by Larry Grant that he can no longer accommodate IC3 under the Kingdom Day Parade, so Don moved the race to Crenshaw High School. He continued the cycling meet until 2010 before it was suspended due to lack of funding.
From 2009 to present, Don and the rest of IC3 governing body primary focus revolved around fundraising. Various proposals were submitted to both governmental and private philanthropic organizations in an attempt to acquire funding. Unfortunately, IC3 was unsuccessful.
In 2009, Shane McNeil, IC3 Secretary and Multimedia Specialist, joined the organization. Since 2009, he has performed web designing, web maintenance, graphic design, and administrative duties for IC3. A bicycle advocate and bike enthusiast himself, Mr. McNeil saw the passion Don had when he talked about IC3, cycling, and how they both can help eliminate some of the ills that plague our inner cities. Mr. McNeil first cycling event with Don occurred in 2009 at the Amgen Tour of California Los Angeles leg by the Staple Center downtown. At this event, Mr. McNeil saw the need for more minority cyclists and sees IC3 as a vehicle to help achieve that goal.
Around 2009, IC3 treasurer and accountant, Fred Minter joined the organization. Since then, he has assisted Don by attending the Interbike Convention every year in Los Vegas to try to secure funding from the participating vendors. Fred has a passion for cycling himself, and sees IC3 as organization that can help young kids stay out of trouble.
Besides submission of various proposals for funding, Inner City Cycling Connection, Inc. (IC3) engaged in various activities to gain exposure and to promote cycling. Below are a list of the events and/or activities IC3 were a part of from 2009 to present.
1) Since 2009, IC3 members have attended the Interbike Bicycle Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. IC3 members attended the convention to bring exposure to the organization and to solicit funds from the event participating vendors. Thousands of vendors from around the world attend this bicycle convention annually.
2) IC3 members volunteered for the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race every year since 2009. Some of our members participated as field marshals for the race. Participation allowed the organization to acquire additional exposure.
3) Proposals were submitted to both Hollywood Park Casino and West Los Angeles College to have cycling events and festivals at their facilities. Follow up meeting were held to secure the respective facilities for IC3 race and festival.
4) Our members volunteered in 2017 for Los Angeles Council District 10 Councilman Herb Wesson Christmas bicycle give away to needed children. IC3 members assembled bikes for the kids.
5) In 2014, Don Harris attended a cycling event with the late Alex Baum in Culver City, California where he assisted young kids with cycling techniques. The late Alex Baum was one of IC3 ardent supporter, one of the motivation behind Los Angeles Police officer riding bikes, a principal advisor to the late Mayor Tom Bradley, and was one of the organizers of the 1984 Olympics.
6) IC3 board member Shane McNeil assisted and is still assisting Citizens & Friends of Trinidad & Tobago, Inc., CFTT, another non-profit with website creation, flyers graphic, video creation, and multimedia presentation for the organization. Please visit www.cftt.us to see the work that was done.
7) IC3 Founder and President, Don Harris, has been an advisor to the Thomas Vincent Ramos Cultural Foundation, Inc., another non-profit organization in Los Angeles since 2016. Please visit their website www.tvramos.org to see this organization philanthropic activities.
8) Community Cycling 2019 is a local event organized by Don and some local minority cyclists. The event started at a local park on 136th and Gramercy in the City of Garden. This bike race occurred on Sunday August 18, 2019 and was designed to show young kids in the local area that there are black and other minority semi-pro and professional cyclists. In addition, the event was held to demonstrate to the community that a safe co-existence can occur between bicycles and motorized transports. See the gallery for a video of this event.
1) IC3 plans on working closely with local school administrators to develop a “Tour de Schools Lunch Time Program” for our inner city schools. This tour will be done in conjunction with BMX to show kids the entertainment side of cycling. It will be done at lunch time to minimize interference with regular class schedule and it will be used to help generate excitement about cycling.
“Tour de Schools Lunch Time Program” Highlights
a) A music DJ, A MC, Celebrity guests, Prizes and Surprises.
b) Target audience - Inner City Middle, Junior High, and High schools in the Los Angeles area.
c) Projected 100 school annually with an estimated audience of 200,000 plus students and staff.
2) IC3 plans on working closely with local school administrators to develop an "After School Bicycle Workshop Program" for our inner city schools. Schools have been identified within the Los Angeles Unified School District to start a program. They include Crenshaw HS, Dorsey HS, Manual Arts HS, Jefferson HS, Los Angeles HS, Freemont HS, and South Gate HS.
"Bicycle Workshop Program" Highlights
a) High school race teams development
b) Proper bicycle maintenance instruction.
c) Proper cycling techniques instruction.
d) Provide Information about cycling at the semi-professional and professional levels and its many rewards.
e) Total student population approximately – 15K.
f) Target audience are inner city high school students age 14 and up.
3) The IC3 Juneteenth African American Liberation Weekend Community Bicycle Ride and Festival, with the following themes:
a. Celebration African American Heroes.
b. Bringing visibility to the life of Marshall W. Taylor, also known as Major Taylor, a black cyclist and the first professional black athlete. IC3 will work closely with the Major Taylor Association, Inc. to introduce him to young riders.
c. Highlighting the contributions of the US Army 25th Buffalo Soldier Cycling Regiment.
d. Bringing cycling to the masses by having a community family bike ride and enlightening about cycling as a career.
e. Honoring Colonel Colonel Young, a Buffalo Soldier from the 9th and 10th Calvary,
4) An IC3 Community Ride to Bring Awareness to Prostate Cancer in Veterans. Don, a Vietnam War combat veteran, sees cycling as a way of highlighting prostate cancer in veterans, its causes, and its treatments. This event is under development. See our race/ride link for more information.
5) An IC3 Community Ride to Bring Awareness to Colon and Other Cancers in Women. This event is under development. See our race/ride link for more information.
6) The Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Bike Race and Festival in Los Angeles, California. Plans are on the way to initiate this event again in January 2021. See our race/ride link for more information.
7) The Martin Luther King Jr. and the Thomas Vincent Ramos Bike Race and Festival in Dangriga, Belize. This race and festival in Dangriga, Belize will fulfill two purposes:
a. Promoting health and fitness in Belize.
b. Exposing the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and Garifuna Settlement Day Founder, Thomas Vincent Ramos to the Belize public.
8) "The IC3 Junior High and High School Race Meet and Festival"
The goal of the race meet and festival is to “To Have Students, Their Parents, and School Administrator Be Informed and Entertained about Cycling by Doing.”
This first racing meet is scheduled to be on Hoover Street in Los Angeles, California between 47th Street and 49th Street. The festival and post-race ceremony will be held at the same location at the Julian C. Dixon Park | 4800 South Hoover Street | Los Angeles, CA 90037. The date for this event is pending. It will be from 8am to 12pm, while the festival will be from 12pm to 5pm. Participating school registration will be from 7am to 8am. Street closures between 47th and 49th Street will be from 7am to 12pm.
At the end of the bicycle race and festival, a junior high will be crowned LA Fastest Cycling Champion boys and LA Fastest Cycling Champion girls. Likewise, a high school will be crowned LA Fastest Cycling Champion boys, and LA Fastest Cycling Champion girls. Also at the end of the event, we would have crowned a best bicycle hip hop sound winner, a coolest bicycle contest winner, a best futuristic bike winner, and a cycling essay contest winner. ALL THESE WINNERS WILL BE FROM JUNIOR AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FROM THE SURROUNDING AREA. We are currently seeking funding for prize money, renting the tournament facility, purchasing equipment, marketing, and promoting the event. See our race/ride link for more information.
9) Cycling to Fight Obesity and Diabetes. See our race/ride link for more information.
10) “Environmental Impacts and Challenges 2022, Saving Los Angeles and Southern California from Smog” is another event IC3 has on the drawing board. This festival will use cycling as means of bringing awareness to the smog problem in Los Angeles and Southern California as a whole. The details for this event are still being developed. See our the Environmental Ride link under the race/ride category on the menu bar for additional details.
11) "The IC3 North, Central, and South American Bicycle Race Classic"
This event will bring cyclists from the Americas to participate in a tournament right in Los Angeles. The purpose of this event will be to expose cycling to our urban population and to further expose Los Angeles internationally. IC3 projects a 2025 start day for this tournament. See our race/ride link for more information.
12) "The IC3 Homeless Rehabilitation Shelter and Center"
This project is a long term project and will materialize when major donors start to participate. Beside providing shelter to the homeless, the center will be use to teach life enhancing and cycling skills. A report with preliminary drawings can be found on the community program link of this website.
The 25 infantry is one of Don's Inspiration and is one of the main reason IC3 was formed.
1) The very first IC3 meeting was held at Telford Vasquez home in 1997. Members from Major Motion, Bahati, BEL CAL, and other black bicycle clubs were in attendance. Most of the cyclists at that time were Belizean.
2) Lennox Harris, the brother of Don Harris and IC3 Treasurer, was instrumental in the acquisition of the organization IRS tax exempted status.
SPECIAL THANK YOU TO
1) David Pulliam,
When IC3 started, David Pulliam was instrumental in race coordination and cyclist registration.
2) Eric Smith,
From the California Cycling Association for helping IC3 grow.
3) The LAPD,
Who led the way at all of our races.
On November 26th, 1878, Marshall W. Taylor was born in rural Indiana to a black couple who moved north from Kentucky around the time of the Civil War. Taylor was raised and educated in the home of a wealthy white Indianapolis family that employed his father as coachman. The family gave him a bicycle which was the best thing they could have ever done for him. In 1892, Taylor was then hired to perform cycling stunts outside a bike shop. He used a costume which was a soldier's uniform, which earns him the nickname "Major". He raced in small meets and won every time.
Taylor moves to Worcester, Mass. in fall of 1895, with his boss and racing manager, Louis "Birdie" Munger, who wanted to open a bike factory there. Major performance on the bicycle became legend. From 1898 to 1904 he was called the fastest bicycle rider in the world. In 1899 he set seven world records -- in the quarter-mile, the one-third-mile, the half-mile, the two-thirds-mile, the three-quarter-mile, the mile and the two-mile. He did the mile (from a standing start) in 1.41, a record that stood for 28 years. He did the paced mile (behind a five-man windbreaker bike) in 1.31 and in 1.22 behind a motorcycle pacer. He also raced and won in the longer meets -- two-mile, five-mile, etc. He even once competed in a grueling six-day race at Madison Square Garden and came in eighth, having rode 1,732 miles over the 142 hours of competition.
Between about 1890 and 1910, the most popular sport in the land was bicycle racing -- far ahead of football, baseball and basketball. Crowds numbering 20,000 or 30,000 would show up at race. Major Taylor was challenging Middle America in a sensitive spot. Bad enough that he was allowed to compete against white riders. Far worse that he could beat them all in a fair contest. They decided to gang up on him, and they did. The white riders used a lot of dirty tricks against him. They would crowd him off the track, hem him in pockets, rough him up off the field, curse and threaten him. There is no telling how often he heard the "N" word, and other vicious words. After one close race (in Boston) a cyclist got him in a choke hold that made him black out before the police dragged the assailant off. In Atlanta, where he had planned to race, he was warned to get out of town in 48 hours or else. He finally gave up riding on the Southern circuit. He was refused hotel lodgings in St. Louis, San Francisco and other places. When the two big cycling organizations, the League of American Wheel men and the American Cycle Racing Association, got into a jurisdictional dispute, the ACRA tried to get him banished for life.
But Major Taylor remained strong. He had become so big an attraction that race promoters often had to swallow their own personal prejudices and invite him to compete. His name on a racing card guaranteed a huge crowd. Taylor became a symbol. He also became the first great black celebrity athlete. In his peak years, he made more than $35,000, a huge amount in those days. Always polite, always a gentleman, he paved the way for the rest of the black athletes that now exist in this country. Major Taylor is more than a sports legend. He should be recognized as one of the pioneers in punching a hole through the walls of segregation that had stood ever since the Civil War. And he did it in the field of sports.
IC3 cycling is promoting the sport of cycling by encouraging and developing the next generation of cyclists. We do so by grooming youths using discipline, principles, values, attitude, sportsmanship and teamwork. We do so by targeting the schools where the youths have sports as alternative to gangs and violence. This sport promotes a lifestyle of fitness and health. When we started our program 10 years ago we wanted the youths and adolescence of Los Angeles to partake in a healthy sporting activity. We wanted to include as many cyclists as possible for improvement and success. Unlike some programs and cycling organizations we do not target only the gifted and experienced cyclist. We look for candidates who have a good attitude and an interest in cycling. Our sole interest is in developing kids with those characteristics into competent and lifelong cyclists…some who one day will become champions.
American bicycle racer Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor (1878-1932) was the word’s first black sports superstar. He was world cycling champion in 1899, American sprint champion in 1900, and set numerous track cycling records.
1) Cycling exercises the heart better than walking without the pounding of jogging.
2) One can ride a bicycle almost anywhere, at any time of the year, and at low cost.
3) Little or no time has to be lost, as bike travel can be used to get to work, perform errands, or enjoy the outdoors.
4) Commuting by bike reduces pollution that causes asthma and bronchitis. A commuting cyclist is also less exposed to air pollution than a commuting motorists.
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