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This Sunday, 125,000 bike riders, runners, skaters and walkers are expected to take to the streets for the second annual CicLAvia, a car-free event that stretches 7.5 miles through various areas of Los Angeles. Free to the public, the event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., as participants will make their way through sections of Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles, MacArthur Park, Koreatown and East Hollywood.
For the second year in a row, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will ride his bike in the event. The biking concept started over 30 years ago in Bogota, Colombia, as a response to congestion and pollution. Ciclovia means “bike path” in Spanish. Since then, numerous U.S. cities, including Portland, New York and San Francisco, have held similar car-free events.
“CicLAvia is an amazing opportunity for Angelenos to rediscover their city,” said Aaron Paley, CicLAvia event producer and board member. “It’s an open streets festival where families can explore Los Angeles together, in an entirely new way. It allows them to get to know neighborhoods they might not otherwise know.”
The event is a partnership between Villaraigosa, the City of Los Angeles, and the CicLAvia organization, which promotes public heath, public space, alternative transportation, community and economic development, and bicycle and pedestrian advocacy. Over 100,000 people participated during the inaugural event last October.
Organizers stress that CicLAvia is not a race, nor is it in the same vein as local guerrilla-style activist rides, such as those organized by Midnight Ridazz and Critical Mass, which attract scores of cyclists out to reclaim city streets without the use of street closure permits. CicLAvia is a more family-friendly event, with kids out riding Big Wheels in the streets, according to organizers.
With no official “start” or “finish” line, participants are encouraged to jump in anywhere along the route they like. Last year there were tennis and dodgeball games set up along the course, and organizers say this year there’s a rumor of a squirt gun fight being organized near Bicycle Kitchen on North Heliotrope Drive near Los Angeles Community College.
Local bike riders interested in riding with a group are encouraged to meet at I Martin Bike Shop at 8330 Beverly Blvd. at 8:30 a.m. There will be a free bike safety check, a basic road-riding workshop, and riders will depart together at 9:30 a.m. Bikers may also take the Metro with their bicycles at no extra cost. Anyone riding the Metro Red Line can exit at the Vermont/Beverly, Westlake/MacArthur Park, or 7th Street/Metro Center stations.
Riders looking for a cause can join Dreamers and Allies as they ride in support of rights for all undocumented immigrants and the California Dream Act. The group will gather at Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights at 9 a.m. and plan to ride by 10 a.m. They will be holding a CicLAvia work party Friday at the Downtown L.A. Labor Center at 675 South Park View Street from 5-8 p.m. painting posters to attach to riders’ bicycles.
For a complete list of street closures, visit www.ciclavia.org.
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