My CicLAvia Experience

October 8, 2012

by Sarina Tounian

CicLAvia is a community event that temporarily closes streets to vehicle traffic, creating a web of public space on which residents of Los Angeles are able to bike, walk, skate, socialize, celebrate, and learn about neighborhoods and cultures.

As a daily commuter to downtown LA, I was intrigued by the idea of Los Angeles being traffic-free and open for pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters and more. I regularly sit in Los Angeles traffic and gridlock in my Insight, and I couldn’t wait to experience the streets on a bicycle.

So, a few days before CicLAvia, my friend and I went to Linus Bike, a bike store in Old Town Pasadena, and purchased our dream bikes. I am now the proud rider of the Linus Dutchi 3 (in Sage). I also walked down the street to Incycle Bicycles in Pasadena and got the best accessories for my bike, including a bike rack, a powerful lock, a frame adapter, and a click headlight and taillight.

 

We excitedly arrived at CicLAvia at 10:00AM. From a distance, I saw hundreds of bicyclists on both sides of the road casually riding their bicycles as though Los Angeles streets were truly meant to be this way. I power-biked my way to the crowd, feeling extremely liberated and stress-free. As we slowly hit our brakes at a traffic light, we moved closer and closer together, and I felt an immediate sense of community and camaraderie with my fellow Angeleno bicyclists. We passed through every street in downtown Los Angeles, experiencing the streets, restaurants and businesses from a new perspective.

CicLAvia organizers estimate that 100,000 bicyclists, pedestrians and skateboarders participated in the event, which closed nine miles of city streets stretching from Boyle Heights to MacArthur Park and from Chinatown to Exposition Park to motor vehicles for five hours.

I watched thousands of interesting people skate, rollerblade, play music, dance, and play amongst the crowds. And, I received a lot of compliments on my new bicycle. Although it got a small scratch from the ride, it bears its scar proudly like a war wound. This is truly one of the greatest events I have ever been to, and an event that Los Angelenos should cherish in their lifetime. It helps residents of the city rediscover their love for the bicycle, get great outdoor exercise, and spend time appreciating their community. I will definitely attend CicLAvia in the years to come, and hopefully get all of my friends to join! See you all next year.