CicLAvia did it again: surpassed its previous iterations in both numbers and joyfulness. On a stunning day that had been washed clean by a recent rainstorm, a hundred thousand or more Angelenos and visitors flooded onto downtown streets to bicycle, skate, stroll, board, or dance their way back and forth across town. Most were on bikes, traveling on every form of pedal-powered conveyance at speeds ranging from a rolling saunter to the occasional mad dash of exuberant teens high on the pure joy of being able to wheel freely through streets usually hemmed in by lurching masses of cars.
I myself rode from the Miracle Mile to the South LA portal to start, and then rode to Boyle Heights, back to Olvera Street, back to the 4th Street bridge (my favorite part of the route), then finally down to Hel-Mel, taking pictures on the way:
In fact, as I was leaving the bridge after my fourth traverse of it, I had the great fortune to encounter Pigeonmaster Josef on his mighty bakfiets, along with Jim from Riverside who had taken Metrolink out for the occasion, so I turned around and hung with them for a while…and the many Friends of Josef who pulled over to chat upon seeing him and his rig.
Pigeon Pal Jim wasn’t the only rider to have come from somewhat far: I saw a large group wearing T-shirts indicating that they had come out from Tucson just to ride CicLAvia!
Now, we have a long way to go before we can catch up to Bogotá, Colombia, where ciclovías originated forty years ago, and where they close seventy-five miles of street every Sunday! Or even Mexico City, which has held weekly ciclovías for a good five years. But it is indisputable now that Los Angeles loves CicLAvia, and that it will continue and grow.
In fact, there are plans for CicLAvias in Santa Monica, the Harbor area of South LA, out in Pomona, and two locations in the Valley.
Nothing but good can come of this. Not only did participant after participant note that they traversed the route as fast on their bicycles as they do in cars, they also noted that they had never before really seen how beautiful the streets of Los Angeles can be! And many businesses have had their best days ever during CicLAvias past.
Indeed, we may be safe in saying: LA, welcome to the world of carfree happiness!
And: Thank you, CicLAvia!