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04/05/2012: "CicLAvia Returns to Los Angeles"
CicLAvia, LA's take on the open streets pioneered in Bogotá, Colombia, nearly forty years ago, is returning to the city for its fourth iteration on April 15th. Once more, miles of streets in a notoriously car-crammed conurbation will be cleared of heavy metal to make room for people cycling, walking, running, dancing, or just standing around enjoying the quiet of real life, LA's often-stunning Art Deco downtown, and the company of their fellows.

Mayor Villaraigosa speaking at CicLAvia press conference

Los Angeles being a city of self-promoters, there was of course a press conference, which yer editor attended, happily surrounded by fellow cyclists, politicians, media mannequins, and just plain folk fired up by memories of the happiness the last three street openings brought to the city. Our ever-dapper Mayor, Tony Villaraigosa, introduced City Council members, NGO coordinators, and various city staff that had had a hand in organizing CicLAvia--and also unveiled a new PSA, a poster addressing the Spanish-speaking residents of LA, reminding them to be careful around cyclists, because "your family also rides a bike."

Spanish-language poster asks respect for cyclists

In truth, the speeches were (mercifully), pertinent, clever, and short, and everyone, from the functionaries bound in their dark grey suits to the Real Rydaz lowrider bike crew from South LA, felt relaxed and joyful--perhaps in anticipation of another few hours of the city's biggest and most inclusive party, soon to come.

Several speakers noted that merchants are also gleeful with anticipation, many having reported record crowds at their establishments during the last CicLAvia. In a city where neighborhood commerce is often neglected in favor of the megacorporate chains, this is good news indeed--and the speakers went on to state that dollars spent during the ride largely stayed within the city's economy, turning the ripple effect into the tide that lifts all boats.

For photos from the first three CicLAvias, see the Bicycle Fixation Flickr page:

CicLAvia, October 2010
CicLAvia, April 2011
CicLAvia, October 2011

And if you're in LA in a week and half...don't miss it!

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