CicLAvia

BY GAREN YEGPARIAN

There it was, a dynamic-digit-day (a term stolen from my somewhat quirky high school geometry teacher, Mr. Lucas), 10/10/10.  That was the first time Los Angeles tried what Bogota, Colombia has been doing for about four decades.  In that city, the streets get shut down to cars on Sundays and everyone has a jolly-old time on bikes or their feet, even playing football (soccer) there.  Some other cities have experimented with this, too.

For a first time, things worked out fairly well along LA’s 7.5 mile route of closed streets- from Boyle Heights to Hollywood.  Newspapers reported some 100,000 participants.

As it seems is ever the case, I had too much to do.  Burbank’s ARS Chapter was holding a breakfast that was starting too late and conflicting with CicLAvia.  I asked, and the ladies were kind enough to allow me to do a “ride-by-breakfast” before their start time.  I cycled to the ARS Regional facility where the event was scheduled, ate, hopped back on the bicycle and pedaled to Hollenbeck Park, the starting point of CicLAvia.

There, I bought the obligatory T-shirt, chatted with people, then, rode off to see what else was going on.  Many had started at the other end of the ride, in Hollywood, behind LA City College.  Along the way, Greepeace had a band of drummers, performing quite enjoyably, to call attention to the dangers of coal as a source of energy.  On the South Lawn of LA City Hall, also along the route, various groups, from the Sierra Club to a health clinic, had tables set up.  After walking around, chatting with friends, and getting my blood pressure checked, I retrieved my bike and was off to Hollywood.

The terminus of the ride was right in front of the Bicycle Kitchen, a small, packed shop that does repairs at greatly reduced cost for people who can’t afford it.  This is in the Armenian neighborhoods, though the southerly fringe.  For that being the case, I encountered nothing Armenian along the way or at either end with one exception— I thought I heard Armenian being spoken by a couple of guys riding in the opposite direction.

Hopefully, CicLAvia 2011, already being planned, will see a bigger Armenian presence, both as riders and perhaps some tables along the way, since it’s in part of Little Armenia.  Multiple events are on the drawing board, one being in April.  Does that look like a Genocide related opportunity to anyone else?  Let’s get on it.

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