Cyclists took to the streets en masse today for the CicLAvia ride that turned a 10 mile stretch of Los Angeles into a cyclist’s dream for a fourth time since 2010. Judging by the crowds the event was a huge success. The weather was perfect, the crowds amiable and considerate, and the turnout – huge.
You have to be quick on the handlebars and weave in and around the other thousands of cyclists on the closed-to-auto-traffic route. But I saw no accidents (a few close calls) and was intrigued with how smoothly the entire event flowed. It was fun to see the variety of bikes, costumes and characters who were riding – some with music blaring out their back fenders, others sitting 8 feet in the air on crazy stretch cycles, and toddlers trucking along with training wheels.
We took 4th Street from Hancock Park all the way east (about 2.5 miles) with very little trouble or traffic, and connected with the auto-free route easily at Vermont.
Earlier in the day Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that LA would soon be following in the footsteps of other major cities (Washington DC, Portland, and Mineeapolis to name a few) and offer a bike sharing program. Bike Nation will be bringing 4,000 bicycles to kiosks in Hollywood, downtown, Playa del Rey, Westwood and Venice Beach where individuals can swipe a credit card, hop on a bike for a couple hours and return it to the same or different site with ease. The cost of setting up shop in LA is expected to be about $16 million for Bike Nation, and cost taxpayers nothing. The group makes money on the short-haul hourly rentals and membership fees.
Los Angeles should be a premier biking spot in the country. We have almost-perfect weather year round, a mostly flat landscape, a focus on fitness and health, and the casual wardrobe and lifestyle that fit so well with the biking culture. We just need to make space on the roads available and accessible to cyclists.
About Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.