Gary’s CicLAvia Journal – CicLAvia a New Experience When You Leave the Bike at Home

CicLAvia Lemonade
Walking with friends & enjoying lemonade purchased for a dollar & made with love by a little girl.

(Throughout the day we’ll be adding personal stories from our three regular writers who were at CicLAvia about how they spent their Sunday. – DN)

Having cycled CicLAvia multiple times now, and inspired by recent renewed interest in pedestrian advocacy in L.A., I decided to leave the bike at home this time. My wife Meghan and I set out to catch the opening ceremonies with just some good walking shoes and bus fare.

Traveling by foot made CicLAvia a new experience again. I noticed details I never noticed before. We stopped into small businesses I otherwise would have rolled past. We also found lunch at a little booth called Southern Fried Vegan at the back of what is usually a parking lot, along with a few other pop-up establishments. The booths were all advertised from the street as a biker pit stop on a hand painted banner. Had I been riding my bike however, I had to admit I probably would have glanced my head over for a moment, and would have just kept rolling. In the pursuit of trying to see everything by bike, you can so easily overlook the smaller attractions in between the big destinations on the map.

There were a few moments where those on bikes came a little close for comfort as we walked in the street. I see more clearly now the concern to keep it all slow, chill, and inviting for all participants. Although it never once came close to the threatening feeling of cars roaring and blundering around. On the whole it was delightful, liberating, and spontaneous traveling CicLAvia on my two feet instead of two wheels. I hope to see more walkers enjoying the event next time in October.

  • A colleague who attended for the first time with a group walking on the far right side with two strollers and a kid on a trike said the worst part was getting yelled at by fast cyclists. Some shaming of jerky cyclists would help improve the event.

  • Dennis Hindman

    Why aren’t more bicycle advocates volunteering at CicLAvia? I spent six hours handing out LACBC stickers and brochures, hoping that some of these people will participate in community or government meetings. Do people honestly believe that when people start showing up at meetings to try and stop bike infrastructure from being put in their community, that somehow there will be a significant amount of bicyclists that will show up to counter this without reaching out and trying to get much more people involved? Getting bicycling infrastructure installations needs the support of many people, and trying to get much more people in touch with what is happening has been my whole activiity while at all four CicLAvia’s. I anticipate a tsunami amount of backlash coming as travel lane are replaced by bike lanes and so far I have seen scant few supporters of bicycling showing up at meetings in support.

    At the third CicLAvia, a LADOT bikeways staff member said that I should try and get these people on bikes to meetings, and I couldn’t agree more with that insightfulness. 

  • Katie M.

    I love the idea of CicLAvia, but have to admit that I’ve always found the name a little off-putting for those of us who travel on foot instead of on wheel (I mean, it’s not called walkLAvia…). With the LAWalks reboot, maybe we’ll have extra incentive to work on that.

    Katie M.
    http://www.wherethesidewalkstarts.com

  • If you’re suggesting I’m a deficient bike advocate because I did not spend my entire day at CicLAvia handing out LACBC stickers, you’re welcome to your opinion, but I’m afraid I have to disagree with you. I also don’t believe that attitude is going to attract people to work together, to have advocacy reduced to a metric of hand outs delivered & browbeating people that didn’t also spend their time that way.

    Not that I don’t appreciate those who pitch in handing out materials, it’s an important approach to include in advocacy efforts, but there are a number of ways to influence our culture and different roles to play within it.

    I also happen to spend a significant portion of the hours of my day outside my busy day job work to work at culture change, write about what’s going on, and participate in numerous public meetings, in addition to financing the efforts of others doing good work with extra money I have to spend. If I did not take occasional moments to enjoy life and enjoy the atmosphere created by events like CicLAvia, I would burn out and drive myself into the ground. Advocacy work for sustainably, must itself be sustainable within the context of one’s life, or it will diminish in lasting influence if one gives it up from burn out.

    While walking CicLAvia, I chatted with people, I stopped in local businesses to encourage good will along the route, and contributed to the pedestrian presence in the street, which is still quite lacking by comparison to bikes at CicLAvia. It’s my hope to foster more cross over between bike and pedestrian interests, and I thought by walking the route and documenting it, while being known largely as a bike advocate, it would encourage more bicyclists to try walking more, and thinking about pedestrian issues and coalition building with other street users.

  • I also walked yesterday’s CicLAvia. I was yelled at by several people on bikes to, “Get off the street!”

  • Anonymous

    I love CicLAvia, but I ran instead of bicycled, and I also got yelled at by cyclists. You’d think cyclists would be more empathetic since they’re often crowded by cars. CicLAvia is for everyone, not just those on two wheels! 

  • That is unfortunate, I didn’t encounter any yells, a few bell dings. It’s going to take some time to soften up the Angeleno mentality and learn to chill out a little on wheels. A lot of people are hoping into the route biking like they are in a hurry to drive somewhere in their car, which isn’t the point. I think it’s getting better than it was on the first event, but still has some ways to go.

  • John k

    I walked the route in downtown for about an hour beofre hoping on my bike to go further.  I really enjoyed my walk, did not get yelled at, and ended up buying some nice goodies I wouldn’t have otherwise. 

  • I’m a cyclist and I welcome EVERYONE to CicLAvia.  Trust me: for every cyclist that passed you and said nothing, the vast majority have no problem with pedestrians.  Hope you do the next one too.

  • Aztlan979

    I skipped it. I was there enough to know when a good thing is going to hell. Didn’t miss it at all.

  • calwatch

    Well I walked the Ciclavia route again from Chinatown to the end, which I’ve done the last few times (ironically I have never biked Ciclavia). This time I made a deliberate effort to walk in the street, instead of being forced onto the sidewalk like the first one, in my floppy hat and sunglasses. I got bell dings by bicyclists occasionally, one person asked “are walkers allowed?” to which I responded “absolutely”, I stopped traffic a few times by waving my arms frantically to let wheelchairs, kids in strollers, and senior citizens cross along the straight away sections (which no bicyclist seemed to walk to stop or dismount for, and one person even made a sarcastic comment when I was doing that); despite walking on the “oil line” down New Hampshire I was STILL passed on the right by bicyclists unhappy at my speed (fortunately they weren’t going too quickly), and one girl wearing an Eastside Ciclavia T-shirt went “beep beep” when I was trying to corral my mom near Macarthur Park, never mind that it was already pretty packed and should have been a mandatory dismount zone. On the other hand, most bicyclists moved over or passed at a reasonable speed; I saw very few bicyclists trying to pass slow traffic on the sidewalk (which was a problem in Ciclavia 2), and I did see a few fellow joggers and skateboarders/rollerbladers, which was nice. 

    Ciclavia needs mandatory dismount zones… one at Macarthur Park and one outside City Hall. That would help manage the bicycle and ped congestion.

  • One of the things that’s fairly common in San Francisco’s Sunday Streets that hasn’t caught on at CicLAvia: walk your bike when it gets crowded. I’m a little astonished by some commenters that say things along the lines of: “it was so crowded that I nearly fell over from going too slow” – hmmm? Cyclists: when you’re in a crowd – hop off the bike and walk!

  • Eric B

    I love these ideas – turf carpets as traffic calming.  The crossing guards at MacArthur Park were super helpful – although it’s truly ironic that they were necessary.  I know I used them just to be able to cross the stream of bikes while trying to walk my bike across to the right side of the street.

    I have to say, though, it seemed like most people on bikes were much “slower” this time around in a good way.  Once all the intersections bogged down it seemed like people realized that the whole thing isn’t a race and just took a leisurely pace.

    Programs in the middle of the street, like LA Walks’ jump rope, are probably the best way to make the mental switch that this isn’t just about bikes.  I’m not sure about the four square going on next to City Hall – stray balls could be a little too much of a hazard.

    Maybe the folks that do installations for Parking Day could bring their features and adopt a median (or a traffic circle) at CicLAvia.

  • Joe B

    I notice some people are mentioning ringing bells like they’re a bad thing. To me, a bike bell means, “Hello, I’m here, just so you know.” or “Wheee, I like ringing a bell!”. I hope others don’t take it as a “Get out of my way.”

    As for rude cyclists, there will always be rude cyclists. Please also notice the vast majority of cyclists who were safe and polite.

  • El Barto

    people dont want to go to meetings they want to ride bikes.

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