I participated in CycLAvia this past weekend. I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't even hear about it (so much for being an informative blog...sheesh) until a friend asked if I was going. I immediately ran through the list of bikes I had access to - my mom's, a friend's beach cruiser, or my own, rusted, Burning Man-ruined mountain bike that clicked awkwardly. While mine comes equipped with a handy basket, left over sparkle tape, and a cute flower, it would be impossible to ride. So I opted for mom's, made the arrangements, shoved it in the back of my car, and was all set.
CycLAvia started in Bogota, Columbia to combat the overcrowded streets. Now it's part of everyday life. And while biking seems naturally appropriate anywhere in Europe or South America, it's downright odd in LA. Walking is weird in LA. Nobody walks in LA, remember? And yet, thankfully, for one day, people did. They skated, they walked, they ran, they cycled, they cruised, and they had a blast. It was the most amazing 7.1 miles I've experienced in 2 hours. Riding a bike through LA allows one to stop, observe, and take it in the sights in a whole new way. Not from the window of car, but from the open air wonder of a bike. People were lovely too - helping each other out, saying hello, waving, smiling. Small kids would stumble and total strangers stepped in to help. People cheered when unicycles, or boomboxes, or anything rigged to a bike rode by, simply because it was crazy and wild and fun. One kid cruised the streets with one skate on his right foot, a sneaker on his other foot, and a trumpet in his hands, which he loudly played while whizzing by. It was incredible.
The route took us from downtown, up Spring Street, over the 4th Street bridge, into Boyle Heights. The turnaround spot had t-shirts, water, food trucks, music, you name it.
Back over the bridge, through downtown, over 7th Street, back up to 6th...
and through MacArthur Park and just under the 101 Freeway.
I ventured into neighborhoods I've never been to before, simply because I have no need. But I got to see great LA architecture, culture, a few soccer games...
We ended up back through downtown...
and into Little Tokyo where we had lunch at Senor Fish. We finished off our day with fish tacos and a beer. Perfection. I will definitely participate in the next one...likely in 6 months or less. http://ciclavia.wordpress.com/
It made me appreciate, yet again, how much I love this city. Sure, our Dodger fans leave a bad taste, but when we all get together in the sun, and forget our cares, and participate in something together, no matter how big this city might be, we feel a sense of community that is unlike anything else. My face hurt from smiling all day.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Interesting story on the site of the current central library in downtown. The Normal School, which eventually became UCLA, was allowed to cut off traffic flow and build itself. Who knew?
Great old photos of downtown.
Great old photos of downtown.