Bumper to bumper traffic, the constant smell of car exhaust, and smog amongst the constant congestion of people walking are just a few unhealthy attributes used to describe Los Angeles. However, CicLAvia brings new positive insight to the city by creating a day of fun for everyone, while also helping the environment.
CicLAvia originates from the word Ciclovías which means bike path. As an alternative to the pollution and congestion in Bogotá, Colombia, Ciclovías began over thirty years ago and continue throughout Latin America and the United States, today.
On October 6, 2013, CiLAvia completed its’ seventh successful, free event, gracing the streets of downtown Los Angeles in its’ “Heart of LA” ride. CicLAvia is a fun event for not only adults but children, as well. Families are encouraged to join the route, created for walkers, runners, skaters, strollers, “rollerbladers”, and of course bike riders.
“CicLAvia has embraced downtown Los Angeles since our first event in October 2010. Six of our events have been held exclusively downtown and our two other CicLAvias have gone through parts of downtown.
Los Angeles as we know it sprung forth from downtown, and today it is still the heart of LA,” said Robert Grad the Director of Communications and Marketing of CicLAvia. This is not your ordinary “bike ride”, however, CicLAvia is an adventurous learning experience for all,exploring unknown territory and history in Los Angeles. Grad says, “CicLAvia connects people to that heritage by allowing them to learn about and explore downtown outside of the confines of a car. Participants can study the architecture, see the street art, smell the aromas from restaurants and street vendors, and feel their feet on the pavement that is really the foundation of the city.”
CicLAvia also provides health benefits allowing people to get exercise and fresh air without feeling the pressure of actually “working out.” CicLAvia encourages restaurants and businesses to open their doors along the route, bringing everyone together as one to enjoy the great city of Los Angeles, and all of the things that make it what people love and admire. Free of automobile traffic, free of fumes, and cost free, CicLAvia continues to grow and hopes to expand to “Pomona/Claremont, the Southeast Cities region, West Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Valley.”
CicLavia describes it’s mission “through its four core areas of advocacy – improved public health, increased public space, enhanced community and economic development, and the promotion of bicycle, pedestrian and public transportation advocacy. Though CicLAvia is free to anyone who participates it is,however, not free to produce for the city of Los Angeles. “Each event costs approximately $350,000 to produce. Funds used are a public/private split: with the CicLAvia organization covering 40% of the costs and the City of Los Angeles covering the other 60%.” CicLAvia accepts support for its organization through donations.
Like the spinning wheels of each bicycle that takes to the streets of Los Angeles during CicLAvia, community is strengthened, turning some participants into regular customers of business along the route, slowing some participants down to value the true city of Los Angeles , while speeding up the progress of CicLavia as it continues to impact the nation.
For more information about CicLAvia or to learn how you can be apart please go to http://www.ciclavia.org.