This last Sunday was cicLAvia: a giant open streets initiative where the streets are closed off to motor vehicles and people can ride bikes places they might never before venture, re-discovering their city. As a former New Yorker, I was a little unimpressed at the hype over something so simple: I’m familiar with Summer Streets and similar open streets projects. But the beauty of it really is local: LA is a magical city in it’s own right with an incredible variety of people, things to see or delicious things to eat along the way. It’s also a lot more family friendly and I was impressed at the number of kids and families that were out, many commenting that this is the only time they’d feel safe enough to explore by bike.
I got to experience cicLAvia from the other side: as a vendor, working for Orange 20 Bikes. We had already planned to participate completely car free: our mechanic Mauricio would ride the Surly Big Dummy cargo bike his tools and stand over to our booth at Mariachi Plaza, Fabian would ride a SOMA demo bike with a Burley and I’d haul a small mountain of oranges on the Surly Steam Roller with another Burley Trailer loaded with a giant plastic bucket and bungies. We later made a second trip with a Jamis Coda and another trailer, plus a few super large Ortlieb messenger backpacks, also filled to the brim with oranges. Together we hauled 750+ lbs. of valencia and clementine oranges to give away to people riding and walking by.
Though getting there was definitely half the fun, it was amazing to see the bikes people were riding (people and bike watching was super fun!) cicLAvia is also pretty amazing because it gets people who might not own or ride a bike to find a way – anyway – to get a bike for at least a day. And it’s a great opportunity to show people what’s possible and challenge some ideas about what a bike can do. The idea behind all the demo bikes was to put together attractive, fun to ride and affordable city bikes. Then add affordable cargo hauling capabilities using the various burley trailers carried at Orange 20. It’s not only possible, it’s fun!