On April 15, 2012 at about 1:00 pm I got to experience downtown LA from a different perspective than ever before. On 2 wheels, traveling at about 5 miles per hour, without the constant fear of vehicular interruption, and with about 100,000 of my closest friends. CicLAvia
The most striking element of the event was the quietness and peacefulness we in the megalopolis of
Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks in particular ever get to experience. A very close second was the sense of safety riding a bicycle on a public street. Being a lifelong casual biker, I don’t often feel comfortable traveling the streets on 2 wheels, even on designated bike lanes or bike paths. The constant threat of a car infringing on my space creating a dangerous situation is just too much to allow full enjoyment. But this was not the case on Sunday.
The enthusiasm, camaraderie and pure joy of the situation were palpable. I approached the ride with some trepidation as these downtown streets and some of the neighborhoods they pass thru are not known to be the kindest to outsiders, in fact they can be downright inhospitable. But it seems the pure joy of propelling oneself and the collective attitude of being there simply for enjoyment overcomes these influences. The massive diversity of the event creates an atmosphere that everyone gets along wonderfully.
The trendy “fixies” mixed with the vintage Schwinn tandem as well as the flashy decked out lowriders, just as the hardcore enthusiast rode alongside the first time riders, the bike messengers and the merely casual recreational rider. The Chinese, Caucasians, Armenians, African Americans as well as the Hispanics all rode side by side in harmony with one goal in mind. Enjoying the beautiful sunny day! The best Los Angeles has to offer.
Many restaurants and bars have specials during the events. Many of the bars were jam packed on this Sunday afternoon that I suspect would normally be deserted.
The next event is scheduled for Oct 14, 2012. We drove there as the train was not the most expeditious route from our home in Sherman Oaks on this day that was busy. But, in the spirit of reducing traffic we will take the subway there from the Lankershim NOHO station next time and get off at the Vermont Stop. We were able to drive straight to the event and parked for a very reasonable $5 in an open lot at Broadway and 3rd. This place is just 1 block from the Hill Street Route. There is no official beginning or end or check-in or out (this is so L.A.) so you just jump in wherever it is convenient. We meandered around hitting ChinaTown, East LA over the 4th Street Bridge into East LA and BoyleHeights, over to Hollywood by MacArthur Park and zipping by City Hall into China Town and Union Station. The event starts at 10am but we did not get there until about 1:00 and we still had plenty of time to enjoy, we will start earlier next time. The official end time is 3:00 but when we drove by at 3:45 the main intersections were still closed down to vehicular traffic. As participation is un-official, there is no “entry-fee” however this is a non-profit organization and you can donate to help insure that it is able to continue.
This is a Los Angeles backed event that actually works. These are the times that you just have to say “I Love LA”!