Maybe it was the extended hours, from 9 am to 4 pm, instead of 10 to 3.
Or maybe it was the scorching sun that made it too hot to get too worked up, and may have kept some people home for the day.
Either way, several people I talked with said this seemed to be the most relaxed CicLAvia so far.
The eighth version returned to its semi-traditional Downtown roots, and routes. Even though Downtown itself had changed, with the addition of Grand Park and the subtraction of the green bike lanes on Spring Street.
Everyone appeared to be in good spirits and ambulances seemed to be few and far between.
Although I took the afternoon shift, arriving at MacArthur Park a little after noon, so I missed anything that might have transpired prior to that.
For once, the semi-official 150,000 estimate seemed reasonably accurate; the streets I rode were nowhere near as crowded as they had been on previous events, making it more pleasant and safer for everyone involved.
And I saw far more walkers and skaters, and less spandex, than on any previous CicLAvia. Which is a good thing, suggesting it’s moving beyond the hardcore riding crowd.
If I were to offer any constructive criticism, it would be that it’s time to stop routing riders through industrial areas with blocks of closed businesses. The South LA leg saw a fraction of the riders along the other routes, at least while I was there.
Which is not to say CicLAvia shouldn’t visit South LA. But can’t we find a more interesting way to get there, like the previous route down Figueroa?
Especially on hot days, effort has to be made to make inexpensive refreshments more easily available. I spent much of my parched ride looking for a convenient cold drink without having to stop and lock up my bike; one of the highlights was finally finding an ice cold horchata in Mariachi Plaza.
And thanks to the Coke plant on Central, which placed a bucket of iced soda in the middle of the street so riders could help themselves.
Word is that next year could see four events, including another CicLAvia to the Sea — by far, the most popular event so far, at least in terms of attendance if not complaints — and a return to Wilshire Blvd, with a first foray into the Valley in December.
CicLAvia is maturing into a regular event.
In doing so, it’s losing that unique sense of wonder the first few events enjoyed, as we were all in awe the opportunity to experience an LA free from motor vehicles, and discover what the streets could be.
And far from what anyone could have predicted when is founders first brought the idea to the LACBC for help in getting started.
Instead, it’s becoming part of the fabric of our city. While still a revelation to those experiencing it for the first time.
But sadly, it’s only a respite, and only for a few hours.
At four pm, the barricades come down.
And the streets once again became unfriendly territory for anyone on less than four wheels.
A few video images from Sunday’s CicLAvia.
This is what your Spring Street green bike lane will eventually look like, even though the city broke its promise to finish it in time for CicLAvia.
Maybe it’s just me. But I loved watching this kid on his bike.
And finally, this was may favorite part of this year’s CicLAvia, as DanceLAvia took to the streets between traffic cycles with a bike-powered soundtrack.