Twelve Tips For This Sunday’s Iconic Wilshire Boulevard CicLAvia

CicLAvia opens Wilshire Boulevard this Sunday. 9am-4pm, Fairfax to Grand. Photo: Chris via Flickr
CicLAvia opens Wilshire Boulevard this Sunday. 9am-4pm, Fairfax to Grand. Photo: Chris via Flickr

This Sunday is CicLAvia! Wooot! Wooooooot! The route is all along Wilshire Boulevard – from Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. all the way to Fairfax Avenue in Miracle Mile. There are lots of great guides already published on-line, including at the CicLAvia website, so SBLA won’t be encyclopedic here, but we do, in honor of April 6th, have six general tips for all CicLAvia participants, and six tips specifically for cyclists.

Six Tips for Everyone:

  1. Don’t plan ahead. At least don’t plan too much. Be spontaneous. If you’re zipping from your 9:30 a.m. yoga appointment to your 10 a.m. kids bike safety lesson to your 11 a.m. architecture tour, then you may be missing a lot of what makes CicLAvia great. Yes, maybe plan to do something at a specific place and time, but also leave time to run into friends, make new friends, listen to music, etc. Be spontaneous. Be open to the unexpected – and you will see something or someone you didn’t expect. Don’t try to get from one end of the route to the other quickly, or you might be stressed and disappointed.
  2. Get there early. There’s a lot going on. Things – restaurants, bike parking, hubs, streets – fill up and actually get congested as the day goes on. The streets are much more wide open right at 9 a.m. (Don’t tell LAPD or LADOT that I told you this, but the streets are pretty much entirely closed to cars by 8:30 a.m. or so.) Get there early, stop for lunch, and take other breaks.
  3. Walk tours. Wilshire and CicLAvia aren’t just about bikes, people walk too! If you’re on a bike, you can actually walk with the bike alongside you, for comfort, kind of like a security blanket. If you’re looking for a somewhat-structured walking experience, L.A. Walks recommends three different tours:
    9 a.m. – departing One Wilshire hub downtown – L.A. Leggers walk and run – details
    9 a.m. – departing Miracle Mile hub – City Planning Department walks – details
    11 a.m. – departing Wilshire/Western – Koreatown architecture tour – details
  4. Check out great architecture: Wilshire’s got great buildings; you might even call them iconic. See plenty of detail in CicLAvia’s and the Militant Angeleno‘s guides. Pick up a printed guide at a hub. Some of my favorite historic buildings, on and very near the route – listed east to west, include:
    Park Plaza Hotel – 607 South Park View St. – gorgeous stately former-luxury-hotel, amazing huge sculptures
    Bullocks Wilshire – 3050 Wilshire Blvd. – incredible former landmark department store, now a law school
    Chapman Market – 3465 W. 6th St – elegant, and arguably L.A.’s very first strip mall
    Wiltern Theater – 3790 Wilshire Blvd. – sweet green-tiles historic skyscraper
  5. Explore and photograph. Support local bike groups by doing New Belgium’s photo scavenger hunt. CicLAvia images and videos are changing the way Angelenos (and the world) think of L.A.’s streets. Help people imagine Los Angeles’ safer, saner future by taking and sharing pictures of it today! Well, er, this Sunday.
  6. Spend money. Bring your wallet. Don’t pack lunch and snacks. Don’t even bring bottled water. Go into a store, a restaurant, a museum, etc. along the route (or a block or two nearby), and buy something. You don’t even have to spend a lot because there’s so many of us that it adds up quickly. There are studies that show that merchants think parking is key to their success, but it’s really foot traffic. Please spend. Prove to Wilshire’s merchants that walking and bicycling is actually really good for business. Spending a few dollars makes merchants happy, which leads to them being more receptive to their streets being car-free more often.

Six Tips Specifically for Cyclists:

  1. Don’t wear lycra. Don’t wear those clickity-clackity shoes either. There are a lot of people out there who think that we cyclists are all young, fit, daredevil olympians who need space-age wicking fabrics, tricked-out sunglasses, tight-fitting shorts, and all kinds of other expensive accouterments before we put foot to pedal. CicLAvia is one great chance to show that everyone can bike in the same clothes we wear every day. (If you’re really into wearing lycra, maybe bring a t-shirt and a pair of shorts to wear over it.)
  2. Bring a friend. Bring families, kids, husbands, domestic partners, nieces, etc. Your non-cyclist friends probably think that three miles is a long way to ride. CicLAvia is a great way to demonstrate to them that, especially for short trips, cycling is, gasp, easy – let’s do more! Tell your non-biking friends that you’re only going to ride an hour or two (don’t talk distances, just times), with plenty of stops for snacks and lunch. Your friends may be surprised at how far they can go.
  3. Bring a lock. If you have them, bring a couple of locks, and a cable. This goes with number 6 above. You’ll be stopping to spend some money. Some less-enlightened (meaning someone who hasn’t read Streetsblog L.A. daily for at least a couple years) friend of yours won’t have brought a lock. Make it easy on yourself to stop and lock and spend money.
  4. Bring bike tools. Bring your pump, a spare tube, chain grease, etc. There are a lot of new and infrequent riders out there at CicLAvia. Some of them are on borrowed bikes. Some of them have their seats too low. Some of them have their tires not inflated enough. Some have whiny chains you can hear from a block away. CicLAvia is your chance to lend a helping hand to a stranger and make their day. Let them think that bicyclists are so much nicer than they perhaps expected us to be – so the next time someone proposes a bike lane in their neighborhood, they’ll  welcome it with open arms.
  5. Slow down, and where it’s called for, walk your bike. There are pedestrians, skaters, wheelchairs out there. Very young children, too, including Streetsblog writers’ baby daughters (And pre-school age children on bikes! – DN). Especially when it gets crowded, later in the day and around hubs, you will need to slow down. Slow way way down. At speeds less than ~5mph, it’s easier to just get off your bike and walk it.
  6. Be nice. Remember the way many drivers treat us every day? Well, now you’re the faster one with more speed and momentum. There are plenty of vulnerable road users around you: pedestrians, of course, but also beginner cyclists, kids, elderly. It’s not a race. It’s not really even a workout. There are pedestrians that want to cross the route – yield and stop – and, if needed, help them get across. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Respect.
  • tangertick

    spot on! #7 – remember how great the day was the next time you waffle on whether to drive or walk/bike/take the bus

  • lacyclist

    Its the largest walk your bike event in the world and I love it.

  • Will Campbell

    Unless it’s a restaurant or event with a strict dress code, I tend to get a bit cringe-y anytime I’m told what I should or should not wear. I know where Joe’s coming from and I’m personally Lycra-averse, but I say wear what you want. Besides, an over-entitled roadie on his tricked-out ride is probably still gonna clip in and roll like an over-entitled roadie regardless of what disguise he or she puts on. Get ’em to change their mindset, not their outfit.

  • David Huntsman

    Yeah, the last few Ciclavias I came to, I drove the family up from a long ways away (OC) with the bikes on the back of the car and so I wore the same blue jeans, shirt and sneakers I would have worn on a picnic or a bike ride around town. My wife wore a dress and my son probably wore his usual bathing suit. It feels wrong to drive or pay $36 to take the train from Irvine. But tomorrow it’s just me and so, because I am capable, I was thinking of riding up from a long ways away, like 30 miles out, to minimize the car trip. This means riding my very light “over-entitled roadie” bike, as opposed to the old mountain bike with the basket. I really don’t have any long-distance cycling-specific pants other than snug, black, lightweight shorts (lycra? I suppose – never checked the label…) and I really enjoy the convenience and security of putting my wallet, house keys and phone in my cycling jersey pockets (as opposed to pants pockets). And, yes, this bike is equipped with racing pedals. So, I guess I have a dilemma!

  • Joe Linton

    I certainly don’t mean to exclude anyone – If you’re bicycling 30 miles to get there, then you have my personal special dispensation to wear lycra. Enjoy!

  • Joe Linton

    I thought that my lycra-reluctance might be kind of mean to cyclists. I certainly meant it as a tip – advice, not a hard-and-fast rule. I, too, chafe at people telling me what to wear.

  • joni

    9:30am yoga class? are you referring to me? :)

  • Metrolink has a $10 day pass on weekends. Unless you insist on taking Amtrak Surfliner?

  • David Huntsman

    Thanks Joe. In my CicLAvia experience, there are so few lycra clad roadies attending that I actually see kind of the reverse of the opportunity you see. That is, I wish more of the roadies – the ones who only have a racing bike – would come, hopefully with their families and friends, and discover that one can do more than “pedal hard and stop at Starbucks” every Saturday morning.

  • Sumi Allen

    So how much did the city embezzle to hold up traffic? I ran at least 10 miles and FINISHED when I saw this. Oh by the way, about that insipid patronizing attitude towards motorists (who need their vehicles esp. in widespread Los Angeles to take care of business- like drive to interviews/work, groceries, etc…), bikers are THE WORST drivers. :)
    I was following two yesterday in my car, trying to be polite. They violated EVERY street sign. I would throw rocks at cars if they posed a danger to me while running, I may very well do that to bikers.
    And whatever imposition that is the political theater crowd, that $5/gallon of gas was fine in Frisco when unlimited muni passes were $55/month and it was safe to ride during rush hour. The idiots up there ruined that. They’re ruining everything.
    Beware of the narcissistic ideologue. Especially in this town.
    There’s a few nice streets near mid-town, only because a specific minority group took care of it and took advantage of it. Until the nasty beaners show up to be lude to people in that area. Or the idiot realtors/landlords that water the sidewalks so you’re either getting wet or hit by cars.
    If you want to know why people are obese…look at K-Town and all of the skinny people there. The healthy grub is affordable. With gas at $5/gallon now in Los Angeles, good luck affording that $8.50 for a half cup of juice something or other or $9.25 for a tiny cup of raw milk when the FDA failed to get the xeno-Gnrh out of regular dairy. .
    And quit whining about the lycra attire. OMG. Stop acting like a bunch
    of losers. People wear swimsuits and wetsuits in the ocean. How dare they? People wear shorts when it’s hot. People dress up for church and job interviews.
    Oh noes!

  • Sumi Allen

    So exactly how does wearing lycra make one an “Olympian”?
    They can put mortgage broker sponsored blockbusting lude flashers, rapists, thieves, looters, rioters, carjackers, muggers and homicidal drug dealers on the mean streets of L.A. and nobody will do anything about it.

    But man oh man, wear that lycra and somebody’s calling the National Guard!

  • Sumi Allen

    “Don’t wear lycra. Don’t wear those clickity-clackity
    shoes either. There are a lot of people out there who think that we
    cyclists are all young, fit, daredevil olympians who need space-age
    wicking fabrics, tricked-out sunglasses, tight-fitting shorts, and all
    kinds of other expensive accouterments before we put foot to pedal”
    —So wearing Lycra makes one a “dare devil Olympian”?

    Seriously?

    We’re blocking traffic for the special needs crowd… omg.
    I’m sorry, since when does wearing Lycra make one a dare devil Olympian? A 4 year old could come up with a better theme.

  • Mexon2Wheels

    “Until the nasty beaners show up to be lude (Perhaps you meant to write “lewd”?) to the people in the area.” Well Sumi Allen, many of us “beaners” are rather nice people, although, as with all other groups, there are surely many nasty ones too. I guess that, sadly, you’ve only met the nasty variety ay? I suggest that you try meeting at least a few more before labeling us all “nasty.” Just a suggestion. But I am curious as to who it is exactly that you classify as “nasty beaners.” Is it directed towards us Mexicans, as I believe is the most common usage for that term amongst your fellow bigots? Or does it include Salvadoreans, Nicaraguans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, etc..??? Does it extend further South to Peruvians, Bolivians, Ecuadorians, and others as well? If you reserve that term specifically for us Mexicans, I wonder if you believe yourself expert enough to visually distinguish between, for example, a Guatemalan and a Mexican? These are just a few of many questions I might ask you. But start with those. I seriously would like to read your response. It’s not often that I come across such undisguised bigotry here in LA, or anywhere for that matter. I do find it disturbing, but also interesting. OK Sumi Allen. Have a nice day. Oh, and be a rebel. Wear that lycra!

  • none

    imbecile Joe Linton-lycra bike shorts are comfy on the butt. Clipless pedals make pedaling faster and easier. Learn to bike ride.

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