Inspired by the Sunday ciclovías, or bikeways, in Bogota, Colombia, where streets are blocked off to automobile traffic allowing cyclists, pedestrians, and street performers to take over, a small group of bike enthusiasts banded together with environmental activists and urban planners to bring the concept to LA. After months of persistent lobbying of local government officials and fundraising from private donors, they finally received the green light for the first CicLAvia on 10/10/10. Seven miles of roadway were transformed into an open space where an estimated 100,000 of the city’s residents were able to bike, walk, and skate freely while discovering parts of the city they’d never been to before. Since then, other CicLAvias have opened up streets in different parts of the city, including one that took participants from downtown all the way to Venice Beach.
On Sunday, October 5, the tenth CicLAvia will be held from 9am to 4pm. Dubbed “The Heart of LA,” this new route will be an exciting adventure for those who are unfamiliar with the Eastside of Los Angeles. It will pass through many ethnic communities, from Historic Filipinotown on the western end, through Chinatown and Little Tokyo, to the largely Latino-populated communities of Boyle Heights and East LA on the eastern end. Once again, streets will be closed to motor vehicles, with police positioned at intersections to ensure everyone’s safety. Hubs will be placed strategically along the route for information, souvenirs, first aid, bike repair, and food trucks. Participating businesses will welcome visitors with entertainment and special deals.
A new “CicLAvia Explores” program was launched to highlight the food, culture, and architecture along each CicLavia route. There are two more planned for the October 2014 event: walking tours of the Broadway Theater District on September 7th, and a culinary tour of East LA restaurants on September 14th.
If you’ve never experienced the joy of biking, running, or walking down streets without having to dodge speeding cars, you owe it to yourself to dust off your bike, dig your running shoes out of the closet, or break in a pair of walking shoes and join the crowds at the next CicLAvia. And best of all, it’s free!
For more information about all CicLAvia events, visit their website at ciclavia.org
Joni Yung, the Accidental Yogist, has been immersed in LA’s yoga culture for over 10 years and hosts the internet radio talk show, Yoga Chat with the Accidental Yogist on killradio.org. An avid bike commuter, she has enjoyed every CicLAvia and is looking forward to seeing everyone on October 5! yogachatshow.com/Twitter: @ayogist