“It is a Life-style”: Cruising Returns to Downtown Bakersfield Leisure

While some see cars as a tool to get from point A to point B, others are all about travel.

These brave and courageous souls are not afraid of getting their hands dirty with oil and grease to find the beauty of these machines.

On Friday night, cars of all styles roll through downtown Bakersfield on an old-fashioned cruise.

The tradition of driving on Chester Avenue and supporting local restaurants began in May. The Chester Ave Downtown Cruise Facebook group was created to inform and organize convoys in the area for eye-catching trips downtown. The cruises will be a bi-weekly tradition that alternates with rides in Hart Park, said participant Jordan Tyack.

According to May participant Todd Hansen, there were about 200 cars and about 50 motorcycles in attendance. Most of the drive is between Chester, Golden State, and Truxtun Streets.

“Bakersfield is a car town,” said Tyack.

The meetings are informal and no registration form is required. There are a few rules that the downtown cruise follows: assist downtown restaurants with roadside pickups, get out of the area cleaner than you found, and follow the road rules.

For most, their love for cars is passed on from their parents. Debbie Lee fondly remembers the vehicles her parents drove: a 1965 Wildcat and a 1976 Oldsmobile 442.

“It’s a lifestyle,” said Lee. “An appreciation for things that are still old to this day. There is a sense of pride to see something you build with your own two hands.”

“It’s a style,” said Tyack. “Comradeship is built into them.”

Lee and Tyack are part of the Loco Banditos Car Club, which revolves around custom modified vehicles known as kustoms. However, all types of show vehicles will be on display on Friday’s cruise: lowriders, muscle cars, hot rods, motorcycles, and more.

This also serves as an opportunity to be social while also creating social distance, Lee said. The cruise isn’t just for the drivers in the cars; It offers passers-by the opportunity to marvel at the automobile experience.

“It’s the smells, the sounds, the lights,” said Tyack. “Something for everyone. Some might like the bright lights, others like how expressive cars can be. You create your own fascination.”

The cruise departs downtown Bakersfield on Friday from 7pm to 10pm. If there is a protest downtown, drivers will be respectful of protesters and post a rerouted route on Facebook, Lee said.

Bowen West can be reached at 661-395-7660.

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