April CicLAvia: First Rides, Last Rides...

how long was Andrzej off the bike?
long enough for spiders to make webs in his spokes

CicLAvia was a last minute decision this time around. Honestly, I could have stayed away and been fine with the decision (I have been to all the previous ones) but the wife wanted to go, so we did. It was too late to make the earliest Metrolink train, so we fell back to Plan 'B'. It was only thanks to FBook that we even had a Plan 'B', which involved driving in to Highland Park to join the Milly's Riders feeder ride into downtown. It may have been too late for the 7:30 train, but the 8:30 Highland Park start was do-able. A smaller group met this morning (only five of us), but we did meet up with four more along the route. We took off down that funky Arroyo Seco bike path that I used to take to work, made a few zigs and zags, crossed the LA river on what I assume was the Broadway bridge, rode a very short distance on the green bike lane, before reaching City Hall and the start of this year's first CicLAvia. The rolling party was just kicking out, and we hopped right in.

Ride or Die on the Arroyo Seco bike path

downtown Los Angeles from the Broadway bridge

some Milly's Riders p/b Squadra Folgore

It will be interesting to hear impressions of this edition. To be honest, I didn't enjoy it as much as the previous rides. I find downtown interesting; Venice is interesting. But what comes between those two endpoints was just lacking and un-notable. We didn't even really feel like stopping at the "hubs". Venice Blvd was just - blah, and cramming everyone onto one side of the street was a big mistake. Heading to the coast at the time we did (still somewhat early) was fine, but returning to downtown was a completely different story. The coast-bound traffic was so congested that most people seemed to be walking their bikes. At the same time, the sheer numbers heading to Venice were pushing those of us heading the other way into a narrow corridor along the median. I kept expecting a head-on collision at any moment. In fact the joke amongst the Downtown directionally oriented flow was that we should just cross the median and ride amongst the autos. Faster, surely; safer, likely. The thing I like most about CicLAvia is being able to stop, either at the 'hubs' or at other points of interest and just watching everyone roll by. I don't know if it was due to the longer, linear route, the lack of any spots of note through the mid-portion, or the massive crowds, but it did not seem possible, nor did I really feel like doing so.

Venice Beach

tiger bike at Venice Beach

two-way, one-way, watch out

I am sure there are people who will take exception with my opinion, who thought this was the best route to date, and I am fine with that. CicLAvia should showcase different areas of the city, and that is what today was designed to do. I didn't particularly like it, but I can't wait to see what the organizers cook up for the next one. By the way if the media say 100,000 participants again, they are nutso, or need to update their standard quote. There were far more.

Now, what exactly do I mean by that "first rides, last rides"?  Well, the Milly's Rider's own, the venerable Andrzej, marked his return to two wheels after crashing and breaking a hip during a standard Sunday ride a number of months ago. CicLAvia was his first ride back. And last? I briefly talked with a rider who's rig, a single-speed fully loaded for touring, caught my attention. He was finishing up a 2,000 mile ride, which included spins (and grinds?) through both Zion and Grand Canyon. He timed things so that CicLAvia would be his last day of the tour. Nice; firsts, lasts, and everything in between. That's CicLAvia.

must have had some uphill grinds

Finally, I will put up a few more 'rider' photos under a separate post in the next couple days.