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Missing Out On CicLAvia Is a Reminder of Bike-Friendly NoHo

I've had to ditch the massive L.A. bike- and pedestrian-friendly event the last few occasions, but my neighborhood proves to be just as good as any to walk or ride.

I can never get the timing quite right when CicLAvia rolls through. 

Saturday family gatherings, forgetfulness, companions who are reluctant to exercise, friends without bikes – I’ve cited all of these as past excuses for missing . When nearly 100,000 Angelenos rode through 10 miles of car-free streets through downtown last weekend, I was again absent as I enjoyed an all-afternoon family get-together instead.

Though CicLAvia and I can never seem to catch one another, the missed opportunity also serves as a reminder that North Hollywood is a perfectly good place to bike, closed streets or not. Chandler Boulevard, which stretches from Burbank to Van Nuys, has already made it easy for bicyclists to ride safely through the Valley. And with Earth Day coming up this Sunday, this weekend would be as good as any to go car-free.

I’m thinking of ditching the steering wheel for handlebars this weekend. My ideal local Saturday bike tour would start from my home turf in Valley Village, where we’d pedal east along Chandler Boulevard from Laurel Canyon. Naturally, my husband would be my adventure companion, despite the fact that For the purpose of this week’s column, he’s got a new set of imaginary wheels.

We’d turn onto Bakman Avenue for our first stop at the , which takes place every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  There, we’ll grab breakfast or brunch – there’s plenty of fresh fruit or baked goods to choose from, and I’ve heard they now have coffee.   

From there, our ride would continue down to , where we would enjoy our breakfasts and people-watch – if there’s anything I’ve learned from trips to Europe, sitting and doing nothing in public parks is always a good way to de-stress and relax. Since I moved out of the Arts District, I miss living within walking distance from my favorite local green space: Once in a while, there’s a man that practices his saxophone as people jog, bike or dog-walk past him. There might be an occasional celebrity sighting, but the general rule of Angelenos tends to be “live and let live,” lest we scare the actors back into their cages.

When the cool grass and shade gets tiring, the would be the next stop on the urban trail. Just half-a-mile away, it would take less than a couple minutes to get there, and locking up bikes is much less of a hassle than finding a six-by-thirteen-foot space to park my car (on the downside, a bike chain is much easier to break than a driver’s side window). 

After the movie, it’s guaranteed there’ll be some tummies grumbling. At Lankershim and Magnolia, the hub of the NoHo Arts District, there plenty of lunch options. There are too many to count, but the ones we’d seriously consider are our comfortable favorites: , , , a few blocks down,  or around the corner on Vineland.

When our appetites are satisfied, we’ll get back on our wheels without an ounce of guilt about the pounds of carbs we just devoured. Home would be heading back west, but it's likely I'll talk my bike buddy into making a pit stop into , Valley Village's go-to for eco-friendly products. The store offers 10 percent off for customers who arrive sans car, and I’ll probably be eyeing a new bottle of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap (almond is my scent of choice) after a sweaty bike ride in the SoCal sun.

Laura April 20, 2012 at 05:19 PM
That's a great local bike tour. Wish they could do something to spruce up the bike path between Vineland and Cahuenga - more drought tolerant plantings, or a little public art maybe? I guess it goes back to lack of funding - but it could be a real star of the Arts District with a little attention.
Jean Jeunet April 20, 2012 at 09:25 PM
You've inspired me. Gonna buy a bike this weekend.
Danielle Directo-Meston April 21, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Yay!!! I'd recommend Atomic Cycles if you're looking to get a used bike...I got mine there. It's in Van Nuys though, but I'm sure there are plenty of local options too!
Pop April 22, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Nice article. I would recommend H&S bikes near the end of the Chandler bike path in Burbank. Great local shop and they do a lot to help out our high school cycling club. Ride on and stay safe!

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