Blends brings the community together one bike ride at a time

Matthew Martinez, staff writer

For Jacob Ferreira, store manager of Blends, a street boutique located in downtown San Diego that offers the latest styles in street wear and footwear, biking has simply always been a part of life.

“I’ve been riding bikes since I was a kid,” said Ferreira. “I skateboard, I rollerblade, and biking was another mode of transportation that I like.” With COVID-19 still affecting the closure of gyms, Ferreira wanted to offer an alternative way to stay active and promote healthy habits in the community he loves.

It started with an Instagram post on the shop’s account, inviting their followers to a bike ride at 7:30 p.m. Ultimately, the first ride was composed of Ferreira and a few friends. They headed south toward Barrio Logan and looped north toward Little Italy and then back to Blends on 8th Avenue. Since then, every Monday evening the group gathers for what they now call Monday Mash, and begin their bike ride through the city. Lately, they’ve established a route from Blends up towards Liberty Station and back. Ferreira says there have also been times where people meet up with them at random points along the biking course.

Now a couple months into the year, the riding group continues to grow. Ferreira says they’ve tried new routes since the first ride in January. They have experimented with new routes such as starting from Imperial Beach and ending at Coronado. “That one was pretty intense,” he explained when talking about the alternate routes the group has experimented with for Monday Mash. “At night it’s a different kind of beast … probably won’t do that one again.” Aside from the new routes keeping interest within the group, he added that the goal is to expose members to different parts of San Diego. He hopes to soon add more routes from Balboa Park to City Heights as well as around the National City/Bonita area. This way, he hopes to bring awareness and promote Monday Mash with the people they encounter on their rides and bring in new members for the following week.

Another one of Ferreira’s main goals with Monday Mash is for bikers to learn how to share the road with cars. “Once you get the hang of riding in the street and get that feel for it, it becomes a whole different challenge” he said. “Sometimes, you have to make that extra push to make the light so you don’t have to stop at the red.” Making sure bikers stay safe while enjoying their route is something he said he hopes his fellow riders take away from Monday Mash.

Ferreira uses his platform working at Blends to gather the community through the outlet of bike riding. In a conversation with him, he compares the boutique to businesses like Arts-Rec in Barrio Logan and 1835 Studios in Sherman Heights noting how they are making a positive impact in San Diegan communities. With Monday Mash, he envisions it being his way of contributing to overall community morale. “I feel like people look at Blends as a cool store to go shop at, but at the same time we’re a part of the community just like them. I wanted to do something different, doing something active for your community is something good to do,” he added.

Taking these weekly rides has become an outlet for many of the participants. If you want to spend some quality time with friends, meet new people in a socially-distanced way, and test your biking abilities, then Monday Mash is waiting for you. The experience is open to anyone who is willing to get out and be part of the community, while pushing themselves mentally and physically. Head over to their Instagram page @blendssd for the latest information on meetup locations and times.