If you’re not a car (and I’m most certain you aren’t if you’ve read this far), this Sunday is the day you can bike, walk, jog, stand or skip in the middle of street without question. Los Angeles’ fifth free CicLAvia event shuts down 9.1 miles of city streets from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., opening the roads to anything but a motor vehicle.
More than 100,000 people participated in the first-ever CicLAvia in 2010, and the event has since expanded from its original seven-mile route to cover not only the heart of downtown Los Angeles, but also parts of MacArthur Park, Chinatown, Boyle Heights, and Exposition Park. Many businesses along and near the route will open their doors to CicLAvians, and once again, I will not be among the 100,000-plus others pedaling around.
This time, I’m only slightly bummed to miss CicLAvia for the fourth time. Instead, I’ll be watching two close friends tying the knot, and it’s an event I wouldn’t miss for the world – not even for the chance to jaywalk in downtown an infinite number of times.
But for North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch readers who are planning on attending CicLAvia (don't forget to have fun for this absentee rider writer!), here are a few ideas to prep yourself for the no-cars-allowed event.
Get Your Bike Ride-Ready
If your bicycle needs to be dusted off from sitting in that dark, back corner of the garage, its sad, flat tires might mean it’s in need of a tune-up. Not a bike mechanic? Here are some local bike shops that can help get your bike in gear.
Metropolis Bikes, 4660 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood
G&K Bicycles, 6326 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, North Hollywood
State Bicycle, 11223 1/2 Magnolia Boulevard, North Hollywood
Bent Up Cycles (specializing in recumbent bikes and trikes), 11522 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood
Nic Bicycle Shop and Repair, 6102 1/2 Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood
Velo Studio, 4150 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake
Van's Cyclery, 11407 Victory Boulevard, North Hollywood
Plan Your Route - Take the Metro!
Whether you're walking or biking to CicLAvia, you'll need a way to get there, and the Metro Red Line is the best way to stay true to the spirit of the event.
The subway line starts in North Hollywood and takes riders right through the route. The line's last five stops - Westlake/MacArthur Park, 7th Street/Metro Center, Pershing Square, Civic Center, and Union Station - will drop you off at several points along the route (but be sure to check out the route map and determine where you want to stop first).
If you don't already have a TAP card, you'll need to get one - Metro is no longer issuing paper tickets, and the reloadable TAP cards can be purchased from the ticket vending machine at the North Hollywood subway stop. One-way fares are $1.50, but a day pass can also be purchased for $5 and allows for unlimited rides each way.
Metro will also operate more frequently and will run their longer three-car trains to accommodate CicLAvia attendees.
Meet Up With Fellow Riders
We rarely stop for a chat with other drivers as we're stopped at a red light, so now's your chance to get social with your fellow Angelenos on bikes!
CSUN Bike Collective will host a ride for bicyclists in Northridge and Van Nuys.
The ride will meet in front of the Oviatt Library at CSU Northridge at 7:30 a.m. and will leave at 8 a.m. Another group will meet at the Van Nuys Orange Line station at 8:30 a.m. and will depart once the Northridge riders arrive.
The ride will then head to the North Hollywood Metro station and will take the Westlake/MacArthur Park stop to the event. For cyclists wishing to meet up with the group once they arrive at the NoHo Metro station, the estimated bicycle ride ride time according to Google Maps is about 15 minutes from the Van Nuys Orange Line Station to North Hollywood. See CSUN Bike Collective's Facebook page for more details on the ride.
About this column: I'll be your adventure guide through the bustling arts district, Toluca Lake and the rest of North Hollywood, surveying theater, film, books, music, politics, places and people for your daily culture intake.