Cruising in his ’64 through the streets of Los Angeles County with his wife and kids, you can see Adam Medellin at least once a week. For him, low-riding is a way of life.
What You Need to Know
- In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced a bill that lifted statewide travel restrictions
- LAPD Officer Rick Webb has worked with the lowrider community for over a decad
- The San Fernando Car and Truck Club Council partners with the LAPD’s Mission Division to hold community events and fundraisers.
- The lifting of the cruising ban is seen as the start of a new chapter for the low-riding community
Medellin has been president of the San Fernando Valley Car and Truck Club Council for 14 years, and his wife and children also own lowriders.
“I’ve been riding low since I was 10 years old,” he said. “I joined my first car club when I was 13 years old. I joined the car club without a car, but I have a lowrider bike.”
But in the 1980s, while Medellin fell in love with low riding, cities across California banned the activity. Opponents maintain that cruising is associated with gangs and violence, but grassroots enthusiasts like Medellin say it’s a form of discrimination, especially against Chicanos and Latinos.
Medellin said law enforcement “can easily find your car, find you, and just put it in the system, and that’s what we don’t want.”
Now, lowriders like Medellin can breathe a sigh of relief. In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced a bill that lifted statewide travel restrictions.
“If they follow the rules, like everyone else, they have a right to be on the road,” said LAPD Officer Rick Webb, who has worked with the lowrider community for more than a decade.
Webb first approached Medellin and his fellow lowriders at a park in the San Fernando Valley more than a decade ago. Webb’s father owned a chrome plating shop in Los Angeles, so he already had an appreciation for lowriders.
“My goal and hope is to recognize them and help other officers recognize them so that they can have the same gratitude that I did. Instead, we developed a friendship,” said Webb.
Medellin remembers the first time they met.
“We just started talking, and he asked me what I was doing,” she said. “And he started talking to me about his involvement in the community, and I said, ‘Hey, we like to do things in the community.'”
Since then, the San Fernando Car and Truck Club Council has partnered with the LAPD’s Mission Division to hold community events and fundraisers.
Medellin hopes that with the passage of the “cruising is not a crime” bill, they will be able to cooperate with more law enforcement agencies.
“We have jobs; we’re educated,” he said. “Not your typical stereotype made to be a lowrider. You know, we like to do things in the community, and this is something that he sees in us. And he’s excited to start working with us; we have been working with him for over 15 years.
For Medellin, the lifting of the cruising ban is the start of a new chapter for the low-riding community.
“This is a great sense of relief for me, and it shows that our efforts as a group are not in vain,” he said.
It gives Medellin a sense of pride to know that future generations of lowriders will have the freedom to cruise and display their works of art.