In 1960, Ron Holden dropped an album called Love You So… That phrase and its sentiment turned into a motto within his family throughout the years after its release. Now, his grandson, also named Ron Holden, spreads positivity and unity with the same Love You So slogan.

Holden saw how the pandemic affected his community and realized the message of Love You So was needed now more than ever. Naturally, he combined his background in marketing and art with his passion for cycling. Enter Ride For Black Lives.

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He scheduled the first official ride for the summer of 2020, not expecting many people to show up. On the day of the ride, 250 people came out, and since then, he has organized countless more events. The rides are less about technicalities and more about the spirit of community coming together to lift each other up during hard times. Whether you own a fancy bike and have been riding dozens of miles per week or you have no helmet and borrowed wheels, you’re welcome at the rides.

Can you explain the meaning behind the slogan Love Me So? Everything you’re doing feels like it comes from a positive, encouraging place. What you’re putting forth into the world, I could see this being a global thing. Everything you’re touching feels very meaningful and purpose-driven.

My grandfather, his name is Ron Holden. In 1960, he dropped an album called “Love Me So…” He was somewhat of a one-hit wonder with that song, and not everyone knows his songs or knows about him as an artist. Love You So turned into this family mantra. Our family says “Love you so”; they don’t say “I love you.” I started to use that message of love and togetherness in my expression of art. I grew up with this positive message within my household, and I felt like sharing it with people. I also felt like honoring my grandfather with this as well. I was raised pretty heavily by my grandparents when I was younger. My grandfather died in ’97, but he was super impactful in my life in the early years.

Love You So doesn’t drop [items] all the time. I’m not on that normal fall, winter, spring schedule. I do it whenever I can or whenever I feel inclined to because it’s more so about that message, as opposed to doing the numbers and being on top of everyone. I’d rather focus on doing this in an organic way and making sure they’re as pure as possible.

That’s where Love You So starts. I’ve done a couple print series with Love You So, a couple hoodies, a couple tees. They were just a way for me to express my creativity and use the skills that I’ve learned over the past 12, 15 years and exude that positive energy into the world as much as we can. Because I definitely believe when it’s all said and done, our legacies as individuals should be based upon how much positive impact we’ve had in the community, and that could be something different for everybody.

Tell us more about Ride For Black Lives.

At its core, it’s just a bike ride. It’s a peaceful ride with a peaceful message of love and unity. Ride For Black Lives spurred off a few things. I moved back to L.A. ’cause I was at this company working out there in Chicago. I didn’t want to be locked in a house in Chicago during COVID just because it’s not tight weather out there. I’d rather come home. My stepmom was fighting breast cancer, my little brother was here, all my family’s here.

Then George Floyd happened. Ahmaud [Arbery], all those situations happened. I was riding a lot just because it was helping me with my mental and physical health because we weren’t doing anything, but work was stressful, life was stressful, the news was stressful. So I started to get back into cycling again, and it helped me push through, and it turned into this act of meditation that I laid my hat on every day just to get through the day without being anxious or angry or upset.

I wanted to share that feeling with everybody, and, if anything, that was the main catalyst for that. My buddy Geo [Delgado] had opened a burger [place] right before COVID hit, and he graciously let us use the space to start the ride. Him and I both posted the ride organically on our page, and in three days, there were over 250 people taking up all of La Brea.

The goal for me is to continue to impact. It’s super inspiring hearing what the ride has done for people and how it’s changed their outlook on life
—RON HOLDEN

I had never done a group ride in my life, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m one of those people where I don’t really need to know everything. Sometimes I just have a feeling, and then we’re going to follow the feeling and see what happens, and the universe will always support you in what you’re doing if you’re doing it in the right way. Stars aligned. They continue to align for the messages and the causes that we want to push through the community. At the end of the day, everything’s in a positive light and a positive space, in a loving space. It’s all about doing what we can for others within the means. 

The goal for me is to continue to impact. It’s super inspiring hearing what the ride has done for people and how it’s changed their outlook on life. Some people were super stressed, and this got them through their mental health. We created a community of safe spaces where people were like-minded. People are fully into cycling, where they pulled up to the first couple of rides with no helmet and a borrowed gear bike, and now they’re doing 100 miles a week. It’s amazing to see what this one idea has turned into. The community is so diverse, and the impact continues to roll.

When you do something that really changes culture, brings something to light or changes the way that people do things, that’s the value of it. A $5 ticket doesn’t mean you can’t give people a $20 show.

There’s so much space and opportunity for so many more people. There’s so much money out there, too. There’s a lot of everything out there. Everyone doesn’t got to fight for one spot. Everybody can be there. We live on a planet. The world is huge. The platform is big enough for literally everybody to stand there and still have their own space and do it solo and together.

This interview appeared in issue #403 with cover star Dominic Fike, available here.