CicLAvia – To the Sea, consisted of biking through two regions of the Los Angeles County, Central L.A. and the Westside. I decided to take a glance at the event’s map, and almost didn’t go. One of the main routes was Venice Blvd, and being an Angelino, I’ve ridden Venice Blvd thousands of times, as it is one of the few streets with a continuous bike lane to the beach. Even though the event meant riding through streets I knew up and down I still decided to attend.
Riding CycLAvia allowed me to capture Los Angeles in sections. Before riding, I didn’t notice the subtleties of how the neighborhoods connect, while still separated by many boundaries. Downtown is the central start of Los Angeles, and then it spreads outward. The event changed the status quo, removing me from my car and forced me to see the change in city planning spreading from the center of the city towards the west.
Downtown, smooth roads and narrow streets clear of cars, yet full of bicycle traffic. Different shadows casting through each block made up of tall buildings. The loud noises of people and music bounced off the walls of dense buildings. Homeless people staring at all the bicyclists with confused looks.
Mid-City, a couple of miles west, the streets became wider and rough. The sound of people decreased but the wind became louder. To the left and right of the road, there are older styles of residential homes and chain-businesses. In this part of the city it’s dry and there is more concrete than vegetation. This is what I call my home sweet home.
Finally, at the coast, the breeze becomes colder and the streets become greener. A graffiti artist paints on a canvas in front of an art store. The scene starts filling up with more and more people. More contemporary styles of buildings are seen throughout the neighborhood along with many small unique stores; and a crowded beach that is a place of gathering, known as Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California.
This is what I call Los Angeles while riding a bicycle.