A Perfect CicLAVia?

CicLAVia_June_20133Today’s CicLAVia was, in my opinion, almost perfect. It was always my dream for it (long before it actually got off the ground) to be an event that closed all of Wilshire from Downtown to the beach, to allow the city to celebrate car-free-ness on a regular basis. For me, having Wilshire be the route would make it a core location that meant the city was serious about the event, would mean a lot of participation linking East and West, and perhaps most importantly, would give a lot of room, since Wilshire is a really wide street. Perhaps that it is a long way off to have the whole of Wilshire be used, but they came close to the dream by having a Wilshire one today. The route ran from where Wilshire starts (at Grand) all the way out to LACMA at museum square at Wilshire and Fairfax. I rode it with a friend in the middle of the day and it was a lot of fun. See below for some of the things we did. Also, watch the timelapse video I made (embedded later) which has some fun stills embedded in it as well.

CicLAVia_June_20130You might recall some of the things that I felt the need to mention concerned me after the last CicLAVia. In that post I was most concerned about the narrowness of the route (they only used half of Venice for much of the way) and the fact that the resulting compressed group of people got even more compressed with the numerous traffic stops that there were. It was unpleasant and possibly dangerous. Well, there was not a hint of that here. They had both sides of Wilshire open, and relatively few traffic stops. This meant a lovely free flow of traffic for people of all speeds, ages, and mode of transport. The other main concern I had was that the event did not leave enough time for people to explore the route, leaving a number of people stranded, which is not good for a lot of people who are infrequent riders – they’ve got to get home cycling in traffic that they might not be ready to do yet. Well, today they extended the time by two hours, making it run from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Brilliant. I suspect that helped also with the potential congestion since people participating get spread out over a longer time.

Overall, I must congratulate the organizers for a nearly perfect event. Now if only we can have Wilshire open all the way to the beach for a CicLAVia, I’d be in heaven.

(Actually, just a few weeks ago I did my own all-Wilshire CicLAVia when I was heading to a couple of events at Westwood and Santa Monica. I started out planning to take my bike on the 720 bus but ended up giving up on the whole thing – there was a dreadful 45 minute hole in the schedule that made me horribly late for the first event and too many pushy people fighting to get on when the bus did show up – so I just cycled the whole way. It was a lot of fun, and helped me let off steam…but I’d love to participate in a whole group of LA residents doing it one day…)

So it was great. Having started Downtown and enjoyed the ride West, my companion and I CicLAVia_June_20132hung out at LACMA for a short while and visited the Levitated Mass. Remember the post I did some time back about going late into the night to find the transport truck slowly moving a giant rock from Riverside county through the city to Los Angeles to be in an art installation? Well, that’s the installation. You can see the rock in place in the video (below), because I could take my bike into the trench that runs underneath it. Of course, people there were discussing the possibility of there being an earthquake just as you’re standing under the rock. For lunch, I’ve learned to avoid food trucks at big events now. Too much waiting. (They get overwhelmed. CicLAVia_June_20134CicLAVia_June_20139Remember back when they were thought to be a bit sketchy and so it was a bit of an underground thing to be using them? You could get good food in a few minutes back then. Good times. Anyway…) Rather than wait in the food truck lines – I am sure a lot of it was delicious, and to be fair the lines did not look too bad since there were several of them (another good bit of organization?)- we cycled the few blocks up to the Farmer’s Market where one of my favourite places can be found – Loteria! Delicious. Then back through LACMA and back East along Wilshire, and then home.

A grand day out.

The video below is my usual timelapse of the event, with some stills embedded in it here and there for more detail. Enjoy!

-cvj

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