I arrived in front of the Pan Pacific Auditorium a half an hour before ride time, but there were riders already trickling in, with the trickle becoming a torrent within minutes, and soon we were handing round those silly waivers that are de rigueur for these rides, meeting and greeting, and preparing to warm up the crew with a bit of hot air before sounding the bugles.
A number of stalwarts of the LA bike scene showed up, despite the earlyish hour, with mr. rollers, John Vu, Brian C., Johnny Lam, and others having rolled in from far and wide, as well as LACBC folk, of course, including Ross Hirsch, Colin Bogart, Ramon Martinez, and of course JJ Hoffman who was co-leader (but had to speed ahead to get things ready at the other end). I was particularly glad to see Jeff Jacobberger of the Mid City West Community Council and LADOT bike blogger Chris Kidd as well, and too many other wonderful folks to name in a quickie blog post.
We took off on time, staring back at dozens of cameras and camcorders aimed almost ominously our way, wound through the back streets east of Pan Pacific Park, and gathered in a glittering heap at 4th and Cochran, where the ride, and the prospective boulevard, officially began.
Riders ranged in age from around 5 years old to quite elderly, and there were women along, and whole families. There were road bikes, fixies, hybrids, cruisers, tandems, and at least one recumbent, touring bikes, and one pair of training wheels (whose perky little pilot insisted on riding the whole route, though her mother offered to lock up her bike and carry her the rest of the way in the kid seat).
Among the highlights of the ride:
- Bad road surfaces that need correction (most of the route)
- The Highland Avenue crossing (no signal, wide road, lots of traffic)
- The Hudson River (giant potholes, slick algae, eternally running water)
- The detour to 6th and Hudson (longstanding landscaped traffic diverter island visible across 6th)
- The Rossmore crossing (another wide road with fast traffic and no signal
- The Wilton Place crossing (incorrectly tuned signal sensor ignores bikes)
- Sharrows! (All along 4th from Wilton eastwards)
- Joe Linton's chalk drawings of bulbouts, traffic circles, and traffic diverters (Normandie eastwards to Vermont)
- And Shatto Park for refreshments, speeches, and conviviality
Everybody loved 4th Street, loved the ride, and more important, loved the idea of a bicycle boulevard for Los Angeles.
Now, the hard part: getting it done!