CicLAvia—Spring 2012—What’s It All About?

Just some of the fun-loving people in Los Angeles for CicLAvia

CicLAvia—Spring 2012—What’s It All About?

CicLAvia.   In the months and weeks leading up to this event, I took the opportunity to mention it to many friends.   Some were bikers and some were not.   Some knew about it and others didn’t.   As we discussed the possibilities, different ideas about it were tossed around.   Most people thought it was a good idea and wanted to know more.   One person had a question I couldn’t seem to answer to their (or my own) satisfaction.

“What’s it all about?”   I went on to explain how ten miles of downtown city streets are closed to cars for the public to use as they wanted.   How it would be fun to take over the roads and cycle, skate and walk with no worries of interference.   How we could pedal about at our chosen speed and relax.   “Nice”, they said, “But what’s it all about?”

So onto the talk of clean air and saving natural resources.   How we need a break from things that harm our world and show that you can get around without oversized machines.   That things could be a lot safer and more comfortable in the big city if we use better and cleaner types of transportation.   How personal travel could be smarter with bikes, skates, and walking.   “Makes sense, but what’s it all about?”, seemed to be the theme of the conservation.

“You get to see the city in a whole new light”, I countered.   At a slow pace and the ability to stop where you please, you can see this great old town in ways that you seldom do.   There will be booths, food, and all kinds of exciting things going on during the day.   This being the 4th CicLAvia, many great activities will be in full swing as the roads get closed down.   Yet that burning question—”What’s it all about?”

So as we packed our two folding E-bikes in the wagon and started the 2 hour trek to Los Angeles, I was determined to find out for myself.   There is an answer and it will be mine, was my internal goal.   We arrived a half hour before the scheduled start and parked easily (and for free I might add).   A short ride got us to the center of town.   The roads were empty except for a few bikers, police and the volunteer personal who were setting things up.

As the day continued, the streets started to fill with more and more people.   I was starting to get a clue.   With up to 100,000 people expected, the paper claimed the next day that they all showed up.   We noticed bikes of every description.   Booths with free bike goodies were all over.   A bike polo arena was being assembled in a parking lot.   Skaters pushing baby carriages were spotted.   The smells of good food and the sounds of exciting music were noted at every turn of the road.

With me on the E-Brompton and Barbara riding the new Richen Warrior 20 folding E-bike, we enjoyed CicLAvia to no end.

We rode to the far east end of the route, on the bridge over the rail yards to Hollenbeck Park.   This was one of the five ’Hubs’ of the ride.   More and more people were showing up every minute.   Many had used public transportation to get there.   Lots just made the ride from their own neighborhoods.   People were smiling and some were shouting with joy.   Costumes were seen on some of the participants.   People were having fun.

That’s when it finally hit me.   This event is all about people.   Not streets or bikes—people!   As we rode back towards the center of the blocked areas, the crowds swelled.   The excitement was contagious.   Bikes were everywhere.   Regular bikes, tall bikes, custom cruiser bikes, decorated bikes, all kinds of bikes.   And yes, each bike had at least one person riding it.   People, people having fun, people enjoying their day, people enjoying each other.   Young people, old people, people of every description and age were there and happy.  That’s what CicLAvia is all about.

And Barbara and I were amongst them.   We were having the best time.   Riding through town, seeing the sights, enjoying the food, riding our bikes.   For lunch we had planned to meet-up with the ’Small Wheels Group LA’ a Facebook organized bunch of bikers.   Gathering by City Hall, we got a chance to meet people I had conversed with online, but never met in person.   They all loved my E-Brompton and got a chance to see Barbara’s new Richen Warrior 20 E-bike.   Many of them had Bromptons or classic folding bikes.
As a group we rode to Little Tokyo for some sit-down time to eat.   Yes, meeting new people was one of the themes of the day.   And meet new people we did.   It was a great atmosphere for that.   Lots of liked-minded people in one big place.   That is what CicLAvia is all about.   I was loving this event more with every passing minute.

This type of event started in Columbia years ago.   Many countries and cities have embraced it well.   I can see now what the attraction is.   The Mayor of Los Angeles was smart to bring it to this big city.   It is just a five-hour event for now, but I can see it growing to much more.   I heard talk of extending the route to meet the coastline.   I heard talk of making it a two-day event.   I heard no talk of ending or reducing it.   This kind of thing is here to stay and I would love to find that every city world-wide would host their own version.

So, I will do my best to attend and promote CicLAvia.   I would hope you do the same.   The people loved it and I am sure to return with each scheduled date they plan.   For now, it seems that it will happen here twice a year.   More often?   That would be nice and some feed-back to our leaders could bring it about.   I am hoping the word will be spread here in San Diego and brought to life.
Go CicLAvia, Go people, Turbo Bob.

“To the bicycle tourer, one minute’s realism is worth an hour’s imaginings, preparatory to the event.”—James E. Starrs, The Noiseless Tenor.

Check Wikipedia for more info on CicLAvia

See the CicLAvia Facebook page for videos and updates!/pages/CicLAvia/108479692572281

Plan on going to the next CicLAvia and / or organizing one in your town


About Turbo Bob's Bicycle Blog

E-bike Enthusiast Vintage Bike Enthusiast
This entry was posted in E-bike general interest, General bike stories, Opinion, Out-of-town bike rides. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to CicLAvia—Spring 2012—What’s It All About?

  1. Bob, what a great description of CicLAvia for those of us who couldn’t be there. I’ll do whatever I can to be at the next one! I love the ideas you mentioned of taking it all the way to the coast, and of making it a 2-day even. And how cool would it be to see a recurring event like this in our own beloved San Diego?

    • Steven, it was great fun and I hope to see you at the next one. We get to join in on some fun rides here in town, but they pale in comparison to CicLAvia.
      I’ll see you at a ride soon and we can talk more about this day, Turbo.

  2. Hey, I think I saw you guys there at CicLAvia! I was the lady on the new green Brompton.

    You are so right: CicLAvia is about people. Bringing people together.

    • Hi Michele, yes I remember you too. I think we said hi more than once. I am always on the look out for Bromptons and Brompton riders and you were easy to spot on that new beauty of yours.
      Thanks for reading the article and being part of our fun day. See you at the next CicLAvia?

  3. Pingback: I’ll take Pedaling Los Angeles for 100,000, Alex | 16incheswestofpeoria

  4. Mick Blackman says:

    Good morning Bob.
    I read this with relish.
    The picture in my head was that of bikes everywhere and people just having fun.
    It is amazing, if you think about it, just how many problems are caused by cars, levels of tension and pollution go up, people get angry, Ill feelings against one another and everybody on the defence, all in all, not a nice world at times.
    Now, I am a car driver and, as you are aware, an enthusiastic Brompton owner/rider, a car does have its place but, give me a bike any day of the week and I’ll be out riding it.
    The thought of the area that I live being closed to fuel petrol/diesal driven vehicles for even a few hours is a magical thought but, I doubt that it will happen here in my lifetime.
    I have, in my bucket list a bike ride with you and Barbara and all the nice people that I have been able to meet (via the Internet and not physically) and this is, to a great degree, due to your blogs and Facebook.
    Keep up the blog and good work that you do.
    Mick (you know my family name)

    • Yes Mick, the CicLAvia is a magicial event. We are working hard to get our own version here in San Diego. I do hope you and the mrs can come for a long visit with many rides in the wonderland we call home.
      Thanks for following along with our journeys and the great words of encourgement.
      Next time we cross the ‘pond’, we will be sure to ride to your doorstep for a visit.
      Keep your Brompton on, Turbo..

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