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.
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.
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.