Subtropics bassist Dana Chavarria just got a master’s degree in Peace and Justice from USD after completing studies on both sides of the border. He knows what an American president who decries Mexican “rapists” and what an escalating TJ crime rate can do to cross-border harmony.
On Saturday, August 19, Subtropics and other local bands are going to make a statement via two-wheelers, bicycling en masse from Barrio Logan, through Chula Vista and Imperial Beach, and play a show at Tijuana’s Moustache Bar as part of the 15-mile Los Cruzadores transnational bike ride.
“If this is the land of the free and home of the brave,” asks Chavarria, “how are we going to be brave if we don’t conquer fears, get off the couch, and not only cross the border but engage in the richness of culture that exists [in Tijuana]?”
Other than Subtropics, Mt. Pleasant, Doc Hammer, Dream Joints, and Tijuana’s San Pedro el Cortez will play Moustache Bar. The show is the first time a live-band after-party event has been held in TJ in connection with the Los Cruzadores bike trek, which has been held four times a year since 2006. About 50 people biked down last time.
“We meet at Chicano Park at 11 and take off at noon,” says participant Peter Graves about his new band Mt. Pleasant. “There is a new route each time. The Cruzadores organizers keep the exact route secret until that day. They stop at breweries and other points of interest along the way. I’ve done it three times....
“The point is to bring the border community together, to explore communities on your bike up here as well as in Tijuana, and to show people how mellow the ride is.”
Graves says there is just one “tough hill” along the way, and if there are any problems there will be a Cruzadores rescuer “to make sure you don’t get left behind.”
“There is a lot of stigma about what’s on the other side of the border,” Chavarria says. “Some people say the murder rate down there is the highest it’s been in a long time…. Those are drug-contract enforcement [murders]. If you break a drug contract, you can’t take it to court. Drug-contract enforcement does not affect people like us. I will say every time I’ve been down there, I’ve never encountered a problem.”
Those who don’t ride are welcome to attend the Moustache Bar/Cruzadores party, which starts at 9. The Cruzadores ride and the after-party are free of charge.