I got my butt on a bike today and rode about 15 miles of the CicLAvia route from Olvera Street to LaBrea and back. It was fun to drive over those familiar left turn arrows at intersections, to flow in a river of happy, healthy pedalers taking over Main Street, Alvarado, and Venice Boulevard. Let me tell you, L.A. looks smells and sounds completely different when you're on a bike.
Smells: Pupusas, fresh laundry, BBQ, urine, dry cemetery grass, corn on a grill, and suntan lotion.
Music along the way: rap, rock, R&B, cumbia, Sinatra, ranchero, hip hop, and drumming from the ladies on the balcony.
Sights: A 10-foot tall bike on stilts. Someone in a cow costume on a bike. Three little dogs in the basket on the front end of a skateboard. But the best was the "movable feast" - a dining room table top complete with gourmet food and a chandelier being pedaled down the street by six diners who were cycling and eating at the same time. Too clever!
But hey! You don't have to wait for another Ciclavia to experience L.A. car-free. Check out these excursions all laid out and ready to go by "Car Free LA". You can explore Hollywood, WeHo and Museum Row, beach cities, San Pedro, and L.A.'s ethnic neighborhoods by bike, Metro, and on foot. They've worked all the details for you - or for your cousin from Cincinnati who you don't trust with your car. Check out all the cool options at www.discoverlosangeles.com/CarFreeLA.
Also, my thanks to Bikes and Hikes for lending me a bike today. These guys are so nice. Their company offers guided bike tours of L.A. You can see Hollywood, L.A. in a day, or even combine biking with sailing. Check them out at www.bikesandhikesla.com.
Finally, congrats to Aaron Paley whose hard work was key to bringing this fabulous event to L.A. Aaron, you made thousands of people really happy even though most have no idea who you are.
Next time I'm going all the way to the beach!