Born in Bogotá, Now Living in L.A., He's Experienced Ciclovía and CicLAvia

Wilshire Boulevard in L.A.'s Westlake neighborhood is taken over by cyclists during CicLAvia in April 2011

CicLAvia took Los Angeles by storm for the second time ever this past Sunday. Some 130,000 people came out to enjoy 7.5 miles of city streets on bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades and on their own two feet. What was missing were cars--and that was the point.

The event's roots are found in Bogotá, Colombia where Ciclovía occurs weekly. There, mile upon mile of streets are closed to a plethora of car-free activities, whether it be exploring the city on two wheels to taking dance lessons or an exercise class.

For Juan Devis, producer of KCET's Departures, CicLAvia is a remix of his younger days of growing up in Bogotá.

"It really connects L.A. and Bogotá for me in a very, very, very special way because both cities are very congested, they have a lot of pollution--lots of the same issues," he told KCRW's Warren Olney on Monday during an interview on Which Way, L.A.? "I spent my morning in downtown L.A. and I was remembering when I was 9, 8 years old. I would wake up very early in the morning--all my family would be sleeping--and I would take my bike, go all the way to one end of the Ciclovía, pick up my friends and we would go to downtown Bogotá to La Plaza de Naviño, have a squeezed orange juice, look at the pigeons, feed them and then come back. It would take five hours in the morning."

"One thing that I was observing though," he continued, "was that there is going to be a point when CicLAvia here in L.A. becomes not an event, but something that's really grounded in the social tissue of the city, and something that hopefully we can have every weekend without making a big hoopla about it, but just doing it and living it."

The full episode of Which Way L.A.? can be heard below:

The photo used on this post is by Flickr user waltarrrrr. It was used under a Creative Commons License.

About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCET's Director of News, Region and State, working on digital and on-air news products that relate to Southern California and beyond.
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