L.A. Experience – Ciclavia

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Attending ciclavia has become an event that I look forward to every time the opportunity is presented.  This was my second time attending this experience, so I had a good idea of what to expect, and ended up being pleasantly surprised at how amazing the day turned out.  I carpooled with a classmate to Union Station, and we met up with the rest of our classmates at the east starting point of the course.  What immediately caught my attention was the large number of people that were taking part in the event this time around.  It was astounding to see the sea of people that filled the streets throughout the course.  There were people from all walks of life there, old, young, disabled, and everyone that was present was there to have a great time.  Nothing mattered more than the experience of biking down the streets and experiencing Los Angeles from a different perspective.  I knew that the actual distance was a lot longer than what was advertised, so I came prepared.  But as we proceeded down the course, there were people in full costumes, some riding circus bikes and carrying their pets, and others on rollerblades and skateboards, and although I figured they wouldn’t make it to the sea, what mattered was being able to experience the characters and interesting sights of each unique neighborhood that lined the route, and really get a better understanding of what Los Angeles is all about. The one thing I remember vividly from this ride is the feeling of being enveloped completely by the people and bikes that surrounded me at each red light.  There were thousands of people around you, and at each red light it became very evident as everyone squeezed in to any available space while we all waited for the light to turn green again. It was a bit claustrophobic, but everyone made the best of it at each red light, and after about 10 of these, we all became accustomed to it.  I really enjoyed seeing some of the neighborhoods that I grew up in from a different view, and see just how much change has taken place throughout the years.  As we rolled into Venice Beach a couple of hours later, we were met by huge crowds that had just finished the same journey we were on.  We stopped to grab a drink, and quickly headed back towards downtown.  We knew we were going to be short on time, and soon realized we wouldn’t make it back before the streets reopened to vehicular traffic.  Having no helmet on, it felt a bit unnerving being in the same lane as traffic the whole way back.  But having a couple thousand of our newest friends in the same situation made for an enjoyable and interesting ride back home.

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