CicLAvia II – Bigger and Cooler Than Last Time

For more pictures from our mini-CicLAvia, go to ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/29300710@N08/sets/72157626471112698/with/5607395607/##LA Streetsblog##

Yesterday, with more fanfare and riders than the maiden ride in October of last year, CicLAvia rolled back to the streets of Los Angeles.  The route for what is fast becoming the largest car-free party in the country was the same as the 10/10/10 CicLAvia, stretching from the East Hollywood Bike District to East L.A.’s Hollenbeck Park via 7th Street and the Downtown.  Media estimated a 30% growth in participants as the number of bike riders, runners, roller bladers, dodge ballers and just walkers swelled to 130,000 people.

Amongst the dozens of friends we saw on our stroll was Joe Linton who reported that early estimates showed a much larger crowd than in 2010.  “It’s so crowded that not all the bikes are making it through the lights,” Linton said gesturing at a mob of cyclists at MacArthur parked.  Later, Streetsblogger Eric B. joked that “it’s like rush hour up at the Bike District.”

Among those joining the fun were Lance Armstrong, who’s been on a couple high profile rides in his life, and Samuel Newton whose legs are almost long enough to reach the pedals of his first tricycle.  I was joined by my wife, child, mother and an out-of-state friend for a stroll on the road from McArthur Park to Figueroa Street.  In addition to the walk, we kicked some soccer balls, dined at food trucks, ran around the plaza in front of the Ernst and Young Building at the corner of Figueroa and 7th Street and chased the ducks in McArthur Park.  I missed riding a bike, but CicLAvia is just as amazing an experience on two legs as it was on two wheels.

The kids hanging on the fence shouted encouragement at passing cyclists and were rewarded by ringing bells, waves and hand pumps.

But the lack of wheels did lead to some limitations.  We didn’t get to see the dodgeball games, or group dances, or anti-coal rallies, or any of the events in Downtown Los Angeles or points east.  I trust that there’s plenty of people reading this post who can fill in the gaps on what they’re favorite moment of CicLAvia was.

No, really, what the heck?

One of the great things about being able to leisurely explore the city is all of the things that you see during CicLAvia that you might otherwise miss.  For our group, that missed thing was the statue in front of the Ernst and Young Building of a person smashing their head in to the wall.  My mom, a tax accountant, joked that it was probably just there for tax season.  To the rest of us, it just seemed an expression of the frustration so much of the country has in an era where nobody seems to have the answer on how to bring the American economy back.

But for five hours yesterday, from 10-3, the city had an answer of its own.  At no cost to taxpayers, the city transformed itself into a giant outdoor party, and 130,000 people showed up and reveled in the city and the weather that make Southern California so famous.  For anyone that missed the party, you have another shot in just a couple of months.  See you on the streets on July 10.

  • effelarr

    The statue is “corporate head” by Terry Allen; the poem is by Philip Levine. You’re absolutely right: you begin to notice all sorts of details when go go at a slower pace, whether by foot or by bike.

  • My favorite part was the two old ladies in front of an apartment on 7th Street near downtown who were sitting in the shade and clapping for the riders.

    Some more information on the statue: http://www.publicartinla.com/Downtown/Poetswalk/ahead.html

  • Me

    Yesterday while randomly stopping to take pictures and then frantically trying to catch up with my boyfriend, I ended up in a group behind a super tall bike going through downtown. That was pretty fun to randomly and suddenly be part of a mobile bike party…

    I took one picture that is still on my DSLR that is by far my favorite for the day. I think it was on New Hampshire.. but in the foreground is this older gentleman on a bike absolutely beaming… behind him you can see all sorts of people on bikes…. a kid, a guy in spandex, younger people.. also a pedestrian… to me it was the ultimate happiness and a great summary of the day… but the whole day was so awesome (except for my sunburn.. oops.. at least when ppl ask about it, it gives me another excuse to bring up Ciclavia! :)

    Once I started walking and biking, LA in general took on such a different perspective… sometimes absolutely amazing and other times heartbreaking.. but it’s all part of the city….

    my cell phone pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51221241@N02/sets/72157626350032331/

  • DaylightSavesWhat?

    Just one person’s opinion but I feel it was a much higher increase than 30%. I attended the first cicLAvia and I remember stretches on 7th Street where one could go fairly fast on your bike without any obstacles. This time around it felt that there were twice as many people. I even heard a couple of people mention that the original route has reached its capacity. Now of course it hasn’t but it was the general impression I was getting from some people. It’s still hard to believe that Bogota does this every Sunday and opens up 80 miles of roads! Perhaps one day we’ll get there.

  • I think it was double at least the ’10 turnout, it was very hard to ride from MacArthur Park thru to Downtown in particular and there was no room for chalk art like we had last year! The lines at the food trucks were also twice as long at least — next time we’ll need more roads and distance to cover and more food vendors to make it work! A great day, but harder to connect with others…..will be developing a CicLAVia game to play so we can get to know each other and spot more of the hidden treasures like this art piece together.

  • it’s like we need today off – the day after cicLAvia and I want to just look at all the awesome pictures, read people’s blog posts about it and just enjoy this – two of my favorite things about yesterday: the awesome people watching all day long and who knew there were that many bikes in LA? super awesome day

  • it’s like we need today off – the day after cicLAvia and I want to just look at all the awesome pictures, read people’s blog posts about it and just enjoy this – two of my favorite things about yesterday: the awesome people watching all day long and who knew there were that many bikes in LA? super awesome day

  • it’s like we need today off – the day after cicLAvia and I want to just look at all the awesome pictures, read people’s blog posts about it and just enjoy this – two of my favorite things about yesterday: the awesome people watching all day long and who knew there were that many bikes in LA? super awesome day

  • it’s like we need today off – the day after cicLAvia and I want to just look at all the awesome pictures, read people’s blog posts about it and just enjoy this – two of my favorite things about yesterday: the awesome people watching all day long and who knew there were that many bikes in LA? super awesome day

  • it’s like we need today off – the day after cicLAvia and I want to just look at all the awesome pictures, read people’s blog posts about it and just enjoy this – two of my favorite things about yesterday: the awesome people watching all day long and who knew there were that many bikes in LA? super awesome day

  • Gary

    Just so amazing. The route needs to be doubled. There were so many people out it was difficult to cross or turn around.

    This is beautiful on so many levels. In just a few years LA has snowballed itself from a small group of hipsters leading renegade night time group rides to more than 130,000 people riding a city backed event. The message is clear. PEOPLE WANT TO RIDE BIKES!!!

  • Anonymous

    At one point I was passed by a much older gentleman who had a seat on the back of his bike with his wife (presumably) in it. Her back was to his and she was waving at the other cyclists as though she were the star of a parade. I wondered how many years those two had biked around like that.

  • Irvinite

    We Orange County people find a trip to LA very intimidating. The traffic, the crowds. So, we just avoid it. I’m so glad we broke through the bubble to take part in one of the most memorable Sundays ever! The people were awesome, the police had so much patience and were so good natured with all 10 thousand of us! I stood on the steps of city hall (I’ve only seen it in the movies), walked through MacArthur Park and had a popsicle on Melrose. Yes, I know, I need to get out more. That’s my point. Thank you LA, you’re awesome!

  • Jake H

    Loved it! And I love that sculpture too. There’s actually a poem at its base, which you can read at http://you-are-here.com/sculpture/corporate_head.html

  • JeffreyC

    This event was one of the most fun things I have done in L.A. in quite a while. I have already abandoned the 50 miles RT “I want to blow my brains out” commute via car to use public transit and walk from home to work and man is it liberating!!! And now this! In the land where the car is king we are leading the charge with rethinking how we move around the city and how we use public space. Go CicLAvia!

  • Glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully ideas like CicLAvia can spread to OC.

  • Glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully ideas like CicLAvia can spread to OC.

  • Took the Metrolink in from San Bernardino. By Rancho Cucamonga all the “official” bike racks on the train were full. The conductor tried to turn cyclists away, but gave up- by LA there were bikes in the seats, in the aisles, had to have been 20-30 bikes a car on my train. Should’ve gotten a picture, but I was finishing a paper.

  • dgoshilla

    Way more fun than Coachella plus you don’t have to shell out $350, sit in the heat or listen to Kanye West!

  • Was the best CicLAvia yet! I had so much fun taking in the city and feeling like I was part of my community. CicLAvia brings out the best in everyone. I met new people, saw old friends, and loved soaking up the LA sunshine. Here are all the pictures I took: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crisdobbins/sets/72157626347932991/

  • Me
  • Lisa Marie

    Took the train from Fullerton Station to Union Station—noticed the crowd boost instantly from the Oct event, as soon as we rolled onto the route. I think this is exciting—to see people of all shapes and sizes—all walks of live enjoying the Ciclavia route, enjoying the day. Most memorable visual: the guy with the gangster decked out bike, can I say that? The handlebars poking straight up so long, it seems arms length, then with at least ten mirrors attached to these shinny sliver handlebars. He looked proud and pleased walking along side his bike showing off his opulent bicycle. Also a girl maybe 4 years old, was peddling so fast on her tiny pink plastic three-wheeler in full concentration like she was in pursuit of expelling all her energy, a moment of freedom to peddle at length not confound to a section of sidewalk or a patch of front lawn. Also, guys wearing funny hats. Someone had a rooster type hat that blew wildly in the wind as he zipped along the route. All this made me smile….

  • I counted an average of 60 bikes per minute per direction, while sitting at a restaurant on 7th street across from MacArthur Park, at a little past noon. That’s a rate of over 7000 bikes per hour in one place. And due to the lights, the flow was inconsistent; 30 bikes in one minute, then 200 the next (too fast to count).

    It really was at capacity. That street, with two lanes each way, can only carry 4000 cars per hour max. We had twice that many bikes! It was like bike rush-hour.

    I vote to double the route, at least, so things can spread out, and so it becomes possible to get across intersections in less than two cycles of a red light.

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