A no-car day in L.A. Quite the concept. While the CicLAVia event has been around since 2010, I've only recently joined the fun back in March with their car-free street event in the San Fernando Valley, where I currently reside. I took my mom to the event, and we had so much fun we couldn't wait for the next one, which just wrapped up this past Sunday in Downtown Pasadena. For those who haven't heard of CicLAVia, it's a one day event (usually on Sundays), where a high-density main street in a Southern California neighborhood is closed off to vehicle traffic, and only bicyclist, skateboarders, rollerskaters, rollerbladers, and pedestrians are allowed on the road. It's a simple but fun 7 hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) where you can truly explore a town and it's shops, restaurants, and parks. Now that the uninformed have been brought up to speed, Let me tell you about our car-free experience last week in Pasadena.
Since our first CicLAVia was in our neighborhood, we got to "metro rail-it" to the one in Pasadena by way of the Red Line Subway to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles, and the Gold Line light rail from Union Station to Pasadena. There were already signs of the event when we transferred to the Gold Line at Union Station, with a crowd of bikes all over the station platform. In a fantastic example of planning ahead, Metro added a third car to each of their Gold Line trains to accommodate the added bicycle passengers. They also allowed non-bicycle passengers to board and exit trains first to prevent any boarding gridlock. We exited the train at the beautiful Del Mar Station in Pasadena, which is surrounded by a large TOD (Transit Oriented Development) containing an apartment complex and two cafes. I definitely wouldn't mind living there If I had the money. The bike/pedestrian route, which was 3.5 miles altogether, started at Raymond ave. near Pasadena Central Park, and continued several blocks east and west on Colorado Blvd. After taking numerous photos at the start, we began our trek through Downtown Pasadena, occasionally stopping to observe some of the other participants crazy outfits or bikes----and there were bikes of all kinds and sizes there: Tall bikes, small bikes, unicycles, even low-rider bikes, complete with accompanying music. The unprecedented star of this event was clearly a participant's large pet turtle, who could actually move faster than some of the CicLAVia walkers. While the route included alot of bars and small restaurants (who were more than happy to have the added foot traffic), the food trucks at the end of the route, which fronted Pasadena Community College, took center stage when it came to eateries here. The two best trucks were The Original Grilled Cheese Truck that I first tried a few years back at a Grilled Cheese Festival in Downtown LA (you must try the Fully Loaded Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Macaroni & Cheese, Pulled Pork, and BBQ Sauce), and Cousins Maine Lobster (The Connecticut Lobster Roll with Garlic Sauce is dangerously addictive). My mother who is a seafood-lover, tried that sandwich once, then had the urge to come back 30 minutes later, so she's already addicted. I even ran into a good friend of mine at the truck, and got to catch up a bit with him.
Toward the middle of the afternoon, we decided to head back to the south end of the route to catch the train back to North Hollywood. Amazingly, we ended up staying there through almost the entire duration of the event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It was another great CicLAVia with lots of people, pets, bikes, and shops to look at, and we can't wait for the next one in August which will be through Culver City and Venice Beach, starting from the Metro Expo Line's Culver City Station and running down Washington and later Venice Boulevards, before ending right at the Venice Beach bike/skate path. Because of the flatter surface street terrain and endpoint of this route, I will be bringing my rollerblades with me so I can be an even bigger part of the action. It's been too long since I've last skated, and this needs to happen again. So thanks for reading, and tune in next week as I will be talking about a great childhood TV memory of mine------just in time for my birthday next Thursday. I will see you then!