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City Squashes Cyclists' Plans to Crash the L.A. Marathon

Calling themselves the Wolfpack Hustle, several thousand cyclists were planning to trek through the city's closed streets. Officials fear they still might.

The Wolfpack Hustle crashing the L.A. Marathon last year. YouTube screen capture.
The Wolfpack Hustle crashing the L.A. Marathon last year. YouTube screen capture.

By ELIZABETH HSING-HUEI CHOU

City News Service

Organizers said today they had to put the brakes on an unsanctioned bicycle race that would have started just before the Los Angeles Marathon and traveled along the same route.

The "Marathon Crash Race" was to begin at 4 a.m. Sunday on streets already barricaded for the 26.2-mile foot race to start later that morning, according to Wolfpack Hustle, a group made up of bicycling enthusiasts.

The city's Bureau of Street Services sent Wolfpack Hustle organizer Don Ward a cease-and-desist letter stating that going through with the race without a permit could result in misdemeanor charges and fines.

Bureau of Street Services officials learned of the planned race on Monday, after the city's police and transportation departments alerted them of "public safety" concerns, according to a BSS statement.

Ward said he is worried there will be bicyclists out on the course despite the cancellation. Between 3,000 and 4,000 cyclists participated in the unofficial race last year, and the majority of them had not signed up ahead of time, Ward said.

This year, more than 1,000 had signed up for the now-canceled race, he said.

After the Los Angeles Marathon dropped its official bicycle event in 2010, Ward said Wolfpack Hustle stepped in to offer cyclists an alternative, safe event with rules such as separating "competitive" riders from the rest of the pack and carrying event insurance, though the group lacked a permit.

Ward said his group in previous years had worked with the Los Angeles Police Department, which sent squad cars to escort riders and took other steps that "kept the race protected, and all indications were this was going to happen again this year."

The event had been free, but this year the group had planned to charge $5 to cover liability for casual bicyclists and $20 for competitive racers, Ward said. He said his group could not afford the cost of a permit, which could run as high as $250,000.

Penny Arévalo March 06, 2014 at 12:48 PM
My husband's run the L.A. Marathon a couple of times, including last year. He would agree with you (and he rides bikes and is a triathlete too). He said it was dangerous. In Bogota on Sundays, they close the streets for cycling and running (very nice practice, btw!). But they separate the two activities with barriers.
Tim Threetwothree March 06, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Looking forward to seeing major wipeouts and faceplants.
george abrahams March 06, 2014 at 01:33 PM
The City has been bowing to militant groups for a long time, always with major negative unintended consequences. They ban single-use biodegradable plastic bags and now the risk of communicable disease from the filthy reusable bags made from non-biodegradable plastic will go up, just as it has in San Francisco. They discourage incandescent bulbs and now there is a health hazard to children from mercury spills when the compact fluorescent bulbs that the DWP distributed with such fanfare break in your house. They let a rag-tag bunch of smelly bums “occupy” the City Hall Park and millions of dollars in damages have to be repaired. The militant bicyclists are no different in their demand for completely useless bicycle lanes stealing the space needed for cars and thereby increasing traffic congestion rather than reducing it. Our City leaders are weak in the way that they let themselves be stampeded like cattle to adopt half-asses schemes.
George March 06, 2014 at 01:51 PM
I'm flat footed and can't run long distances but I can ride a bike just fine and fully intend to ride my bike a long sire the runners. We should not be excluded. The people complaining about bikes on the streets need to know we pay taxes also and must share the highway. Shut your mouth complainers! You people drive way to fast and cause accidents then leave. Shameful!!!!
John jones March 08, 2014 at 02:49 PM
George Abrahams and Bill Miller, Bravo. Couldn't agree with you more. I'll buy you guys a cold beer. We should also ban low water pressure faucets in markets and restaurants. Totally disgusting with unintended consequences. Encouraging people to re use their bags is also disgusting. Florence Nightingale and Joseph Lister are crawling out of their Graves and are furious.

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