CicLAvia Explores East LA
CicLAvia celebrated their 4th year by taking us on a 10 mile journey spanning Echo Park, downtown LA, and East LA. The first CicLAvia was on 10/10/10, the global day of action against climate change. As always, the weather was perfect and the route was fun. The best thing about CicLAvia is that it gets people who wouldn’t otherwise ride a bike to try it out and bike around their neighborhood. The next best thing is that it gets all of us to slow down and discover the streets we’re usually zooming down. There’s always something new to see from a bike, like these stunning wooden bikes, above.
CicLAvia organizers do their best to pick a route without too many hills, and on roads with easily accessible parallels for motorists to take. This month’s route was easily visible on Google Maps, by the road blocks and red lines. The red lines on the freeways are normal, even on a Sunday. The traffic never ends in LA, which is why more of us need to bike there instead of sitting trapped in cages. Mayor Garcetti is following in Villaraigosa’s footsteps in making sure LA continues to grow without traffic bringing us to a standstill. The city can fit more people, but not more cars. The small lake by the “LTE” is Echo Park, and the route extends east to the East LA Civic Center. There participants were treated to live music, fun activities, and free bikeshare sponsored by Lululemon Athletica.
Cyclists were also treated to this lovely view of downtown LA from the 4th street bridge, with an adorable puppy. The routes usually cover popular bike routes, which is a great way to introduce them to new cyclists who might not have known about them. This route included the iconic 2nd street tunnel, featured in many films and car ads, and now featuring LA’s first “protected” (by silly plastic tubes) bike lane.
Enjoy this brief video I shot on Cesar Chavez in East LA, which captures the essence of the ride.
The next CicLAvia will be on December 7th, through South LA. Yes, these routes are primarily through the poorer sections of LA. But what better place to celebrate affordable transport? Why be a slave to big oil, when one can spend that money on better things, like healthy food for the family? CicLAvia and Mayor Garcetti plan to expand the events to become a monthly happening, just like the Ciclovia that inspired them, a monthly event in Bogota, Colombia. This will only work if the events are held in different neighborhoods each month. The one problem with CicLAvia is that almost all the routes have passed through downtown LA. DTLA, as it’s called these days, is also a film set for just about every car commercial and plenty of other filming. So DTLA residents experience more street closures than most, and some are very disturbed by this. Others, like myself, saw that it was coming and decided to try this whole “bicycling” thing. I borrowed a bike from a friend for the first CicLAvia in October 2010, and love pedaling around LA more each day. Other cities are coming on board now too. San Diego will be hosting their third CicloSDias on November 9th. Will your city be next?