CicLAvia

Update 10/11/10:
the LA times reported ~100000 people attended CicLAvia.
I tried several ways but didn’t manage, somehow the slide show is blocked in germany.
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Less than 12 hours from our LA opera outing, we excitedly started another one. It’s the first ever CicLAvia in Los Angeles:

As the organizers said, it’s an event to promote people to get off the car, explore the city, and see that you can get from point A to point B easily via walking, biking, buses, metro.  We decided to bike to CicLAvia instead of taking the metro.  I was very glad we did, as I had for the first time a chance to explore the connection between Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles via in-city streets.  We weaved through several small cities, saw many nice buildings, came across a green-energy festival,

a nice Mexican festival with people in sombreros and beaautiful dresses dancing.  I regretted not stopping to snap a pix, mainly because we were late and a couple of friends were waiting at CicLAvia in downtown.  Just as we approached Chinatown, still on the way to CicLAvia, the sound of drums and dragon dance, and this sight

parade in Chinatown

stopped me on my track! I immediately hopped off my bike and snapped pix away.  We were confused about the flags.  The announcer said it’s “China Independence Day”.  However, we were later told by my friends that Chinese independence day is on Oct 1st, and Taiwanese’ is on Oct 10th.

Finally, I arrived at near the beginning of CicLAvia around 11.30am, one hour later than expected :-).  The route was impressive,

CicLAvia route, from http://www.ciclavia.org

covering Little Tokyo, downtown LA, Hollywood, Korea Town.  These are places I would avoid like plague driving through.  But there we were, biking to the event, i was beyond happy.

Back when I was in Boston, we used to also have such an event, every sunday afternoon from 3-6pm (i think, must check the time again), a section of very busy Memorial Dr from Harvard to near MIT was closed up for pedestrians and cyclists.  On these occasions, I’d take out my roller blades and practice.  So, CicLAvia was no exception.  As soon as I heard “closed to traffic”, I packed my roller blades along.  Off we went, 2 friends on bicycles, 2 on roller blades.   I’m NOT a creature on blades of any kind.  Already 1/2 hour in, a nice fall on the butts just crawling from the side-walk to the street.  LA streets are full of what we call “chicken holes” in Vietnam, they’re supposedly great traps for rollerblade-beginners.  I was actually ok running across these holes, albeit very stressed out, arms waving trying to keep balance.  It’s the rolling hills that got me in trouble.  How is one to stop while going downhill?? After a couple of spectacular dives ripping my favorite pair of shorts and acquiring nice streaks of scratches and bruises on both sides of legs, I had enough, and switched back to something more agreeable:

So the walk back, around 4 miles or so, was rather very pleasant.  I had time to snap many pictures using my phone-camera (darn real camera ran out of battery again, grrr).  So many cyclists, such HUGE streets LA has…

and the idea you can walk from Korea Town to downtown LA is absurd! it can take up to 1 to 1.5 hour driving! a distance which I walked in 1.5 hour.  And as the organizers have envisioned, it’s a fantastic way to explore the city!!  I found out where MacArthur Park

MacArthur Park

and Levitt Pavilion are.  I saw local people pouring out on their balconies to enjoy the day and car-free streets with us.  I also saw some really nice drawings

I can even say I know where to take visitors for a tour in LA now!  Prior to this event, I would only take them up the mountain, away from any crazy driving.

Finally, I arrived back to near Little Tokyo where my friend (on bike) had been waiting for a while.  We proceeded to our favourite eatery, Daikokuya Ramen, and had a satisfactorily filling bowl of special ramen:

By then, we were done with cycling and roller-blading, so we walked to Union Station to take the train back.  Along the way, we ran into another festival,

Altogether, a near car-free enjoyable day exploring LA.  I put together a slide-show (combining with LA opera screening), in case you want to check it out

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About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

One Response to CicLAvia

  1. This is very heartening, I thought LA was forever lost to cars.

    When it comes to cycling, I’ve become a mad soap-box lady. I think everybody should do it. (I know, not all Canadian and American cities are amenable… but things can change in this regard) It always improves my mood – hugely. There is no routine, even if you take the same trip every day. There are always different people, trees change through the seasons, constructions come and go, protests and pedestrian Sundays redirect traffic, patios open then close, winds and sun light are different… I love it.

    Like

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