Biking in the streets of Los Angeles??? I definitely was not expecting that when I heard of CicLAvia. CicLAvia is an event in Los Angeles where main streets are closed from traffic from Union Station to Venice Beach (approx. 15 mi. ea. way) and are open solely for people on bikes, skateboards, scooters, made up vehicles on wheels and for people simply walking or running on their feet. I decided to bike it.
This event took place on Sunday April 23 beginning at 10 am. Some classmates and I decided to group up and participate in this activity together. We had initially decided to take the Metro from Pomona to L.A. station but were not able to get onto the Metro due to it being over packed with people and bikes. I don’t think I had ever seen the Metro so full, there was literally people pushed up against the doors. Our next option was to wait for the next shuttle but we were also risking that shuttle being full as well, so we decided to carpool and drive to L.A. Once we got there we parked next to Union station and rode to the starting point of CicLAvia. There were hundreds of people there and it had not even started. We decided to start biking even though the event had not officially began, we were still able to ride through the empty streets. Being one of the firsts to ride through L.A. we were able to appreciate the emptiness a lot more. Riding through these main streets which are always overflowing with traffic was invigorating. It was a very strange but pleasurable feeling. I was able to enjoy the actual streets of L.A. a lot better and understand them from a different perspective than usual. I was able to admire the grand buildings which surrounded me and was able to look at them from different angles and views which are limited when driving. Most of us when we think of Downtown L.A. we think of chaotic traffic, but this experience definitely changed my opinion of L.A. and showed me a different side of it. As we drew away from downtown and got closer to the beach, the environment changed. The buildings were smaller, there were houses, schools, stores, gas stations, etc. we were obviously not in the heart of L.A. anymore. This part felt more familiar due to it just being like most ordinary streets which I have ridden my a bike or walked through. It was still slightly different though since there was no traffic. Speaking of traffic, even though there was no vehicle traffic there was plenty of bicycle traffic. We had to stop and vehicle traffic go through every 3 lights or so, so you could definitely see the multitude of people who attended. In total it was approximated to be around 350,000 people who participated. Once we arrive to Venice the flow of traffic slowed down, there was people all over the beach and walking through was not as easy as usual. We rested and ate at the beach for a couple hours to prepare for the ride back. We rode back about 7 miles until we reached the closest metro station which then took us back to Union Station.
This experience was very different and mind changing, not to mention great exercise. I was able to captivate a completely different aspect of Los Angeles which lead me to better understand the significance and impact of traffic. Also, I appreciated a lot more a different form of transportation and how traffic has an influence on not only this chosen transportation, but all types.