A brief look at Sunday’s successful, stress-free Wilshire CicLAvia

Let’s take a quick photographic tour of a few outstanding moments from Sunday’s CicLAvia on Wilshire Blvd.

Only in LA — Cyclists at the Fairfax hub get to ride the red carpet.

Only in LA — Cyclists at the Fairfax hub get to ride the red carpet.

Evidently, bikes really are good for business.

Evidently, bikes really are good for business.

A boy on a bike circles the moving memorial to Robert F. Kennedy in front of the former Ambassador Hotel.

A boy on a bike circles the moving memorial to Robert F. Kennedy in front of the former Ambassador Hotel.

A homeless man sleeping behind the memorial shows we still have a long way to go to live up to RFK's ideals.

A homeless man sleeping behind the memorial shows we still have a long way to go to live up to RFK’s ideals.

Long time LA residents might not recognize the new, pristine and junkie-free MacArthur park, where cakes no longer melt in the rain.

Long time LA residents might not recognize the new, pristine and junkie-free MacArthur park, where cakes no longer melt in the rain.

Just a small fraction of the crowd walking through the Dismount Zone at the DTLA hub.

Just a small fraction of the crowd walking through the Dismount Zone at the DTLA hub. And one guy riding anyway.

There were a lot of very cool ridden on the route. This classic Sting Ray reproduction was one of my favorites.

There were a lot of very cool ridden on the route. This classic Sting Ray reproduction was one of my favorites.

This was my first chance to ride the new Wilshire Blvd Bus — and bike — Only Lanes.

This was my first chance to ride the new Wilshire Blvd Bus — and bike — Only Lanes.

As promised, much of the architecture was beautiful. And too often unnoticed behind the wheel of a car.

As promised, much of the architecture was beautiful. And too often goes unnoticed from behind the wheel of a car.

 

This little guy was very winded after riding up a small hill. And deservedly very proud of what he'd accomplished.

This little guy was very winded after riding up a small hill. And deservedly very proud of what he’d accomplished.

Children and adults took advantage of the opportunity to add their artwork to this van.

Children and adults took advantage of the opportunity to add their artwork to this van.

One final reminder that bikes are good for business. And if restaurants and other business owners work for safe bike access. they'l be rewarded.

One final reminder that bikes are good for business. And if restaurants and other business owners work for safe bike access, they’l be rewarded.

……..

Just a few other notes.

Just like last year along the same route, this was one of the most relaxed of the eight CicLAvias I’ve attended.

This was also the first time I didn’t witness a single downed rider. That’s not to say no one was injured, but I saw a lot of very bored people in the First Aid booths.

There were a lot of very young children riding on training wheels and small bikes, which spoke volumes about how comfortable their parents felt in letting them ride. And sets the stage for a new generation of bike riders.

There were also more people walking than I’ve seen in years past. Maybe the message is finally getting out that CicLAvia is for everyone, regardless of how you choose to travel. As long as it’s without a motor.

Businesses that reached out to CicLAvia participants in some way were richly rewarded. Those that remained closed or ignored what was happening on the street in front of them were largely ignored in turn.

If bike riders had a safe way to get to those shops and restaurants, proprietors could enjoy a boost in business more than once a year.

Twelve miles an hour isn’t fast. Except when everyone else is doing eight. If you find yourself alone in weaving in and out of other bike traffic, you’re the problem. Note: In response to a comment from Chuck below, I am not suggesting any kind of speed limit for anyone. What I’m saying is that when the traffic around you slows down and bunches up, it is both rude and dangerous to try to force your way through at a higher speed. Slow down and wait until it is safe to pass, just like we expect drivers to do.

And if you find yourself bombing downhill in a dismount zone, or weaving uphill when everyone else observing the requirement to walk, you’re more than just the problem. You’re a danger to everyone else on the street — which is putting it mildly.

More still needs to be done to keep motor vehicles off the CicLAvia route. I saw many drivers pull up to the barricades and turn around after realizing the road was closed. I saw others try to inch their way past despite the walkers and riders in their way; evidently, the idea that a street could be closed to motor vehicle traffic is incomprehensible to some.

An online acquaintance set out looking for me in the massive crowd, and vice versa. Instead she met Conan O’Brian. I’d call that a significant trade-up.

Finally, after one of the most exceptionally pleasant CicLAvias yet, the October return to Downtown LA seems a very long way off, indeed.

 

11 comments

  1. David says:

    It was a great day at CICLAVIA!

  2. Frank Peters says:

    October does seem like a long ways away. This was my first time attending, plus I was at the Open Streets Summit Friday and Saturday — the complete CicLAvia Immersion Therapy! I hope to bring the concept to Orange County…

  3. Chuck says:

    For a “pro bike” blog I find the insinuation that people riding faster than 8mph are reckless…laughable. I can rarely coast that slow without riding the brakes hard.

    And we wonder why people in cars don’t take us seriously as a form of transportation when apparently we aren’t even taking ourselves seriously.

    • bikinginla says:

      My point was not that bicyclists should ride no faster than eight mph. It was that when traffic bunches up and everyone else around you is riding 8 mph — or 12, or 15 — it is rude and dangerous to try to cut through the group at a higher speed, even if it means riding your brakes for a few minutes.

      It won’t kill you or anyone else to slow down for a few moments until the group breaks up and it’s safe to go faster. That’s exactly what we ask drivers to do when it’s not safe to pass.

      Part of being a “pro bike” blog is giving a damn about slower and less experienced cyclists, and ensuring that everyone has a good time and gets home safely. That shouldn’t be too much to ask of anyone.

      • Chuck says:

        I support people being “safe”. I don’t support arbitrarily low speed limits.

        If people are going slow maybe we should behave like drivers, and keep to the right to allow faster traffic to pass? Is that such a crazy idea?

        I recently attended CicloSDias in PB. Many sections had few people or bikes. Others were crowded. To suggest that 8mph or slower in all these areas was appropriate…is just silly.

        • bikinginla says:

          Read my response again. I am not suggesting any speed limit for anyone. If the road is clear and you want to go fast, go fast, as long as you don’t jeopardize anyone.

          All I am suggesting that it is rude and dangerous to cut through slower groups of bunched up rider and pedestrians. If you can’t slow down for even a few minutest, you and everyone else will be a lot happier if you go on Gran Fondo instead of an open streets event.

          As for expecting slower traffic to keep to the right, that has been one of the basic rules of all nine CicLAvias, starting with the very first one. It hasn’t happened yet, and probably never will. Human nature dictates people will ride where they feel most comfortable on an open roadway, regardless of any rules or expectations to the contrary.

          • Marty says:

            Excellent response, bikinginla. Chuck must me one of the guys I saw cutting in and out of the crowd like he had something to prove. It wasn’t that kind of party. There is plenty of other places to go fast, but how often do we have the chance to chill and enjoy a leisurely, car-free ride with a couple hundred thousand of our closest friends?

  4. calwatch says:

    I agree this seemed very relaxing and spacious, especially outside of the dismount zones. Providing additional time really helps since there is no need to finish the course in a rapid manner.

  5. MarkG says:

    There is at least one cyclist that is unhappy with Ciclavia, or atleast the Metrolink supportfor the event. In a thread over on bikeforums, an every-day Metrolink bike commuter claims Metrolink pulls the bike cars out of regular service in the weeks leading up to Ciclavia to make up the “bike trains” they use to support the event. This often leaves their regular customers high-and-dry: http://www.bikeforums.net/southern-california/941632-2014-ciclavia.html

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