Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CicLAvia III, October 2011...

Sorry for the repost all. I know many of you have already seen this, but there was a problem with searching, so here it is all over again.

Before I get to the big event, I need to send an apology to the three ladies of the Butts on Bikes group who, like my family and myself, arrived at the Claremont Depot before 9:00. Now that I see it, the information, concerning departure times I had passed on, was for the Saturday Tour de Fat. Apparently Metrolink runs on different schedules for Saturday and Sunday. Therefore the six of us had to wait until the 10:30 train, and missed out on much of the early fun. I imagine they will never trust anything I say again. Other than that foul-up, I hope you all ended up having a good day.

On with the show. 

Once we got straightened out, the Metrolink experience was great. As the train pulled into Claremont there were at least 25 riders waiting to board. The bike car was already filled beyond its capacity, but the Metrolink personnel accommodated us all, and then even more at the stops between Claremont and Los Angeles. By the time we pulled into Union Station the bike car had more than 50 bikes in it, and the regular cars were all also beyond capacity. The Metrolink people were amazed, surprised and completely in to it. No question we will do it this way again; it was much better than driving. Oh, and because it kind of ties in, cicLAvia, the extension between Union Station/Los Angeles Plaza and the main route, was brilliant. Not a long distance, but it really made things go smoothly.

beautiful morning in Claremont, waiting for the train

bikes in the aisles

Ok, anyone else have the impression there were again more people than previously? I ask because it seemed like there were fewer gaps between groups; it was almost a constant stream of riders. One might almost be excused by thinking that, as the Occupy Wall Street / Occupy LA protesters suggest, We (the cyclists) are the 99%. Then you cross and look down onto a freeway, see all that miserable traffic and are thankful to not be a part of it, but realize that 99% might be a bit optimistic. 

What can you say about cicLAvia that has not already been said. It brings people together in all our diversity, and shows that when you share a cause, differences are really insignificant and immaterial. Human powered was all that mattered. You can meet your neighbors - the family sitting on the bench in the photo above for instance. Turns out the husband / father reads this blog, and the daughter is in the same art class as my son. There is a lot of that greeting, talking, sharing which takes place at cicLAvia. You can't underestimate the power of that interaction. 

I do have one warning: Beware of a little guy riding a Spiderman bike. My son met this rider up close and personal when he (Spidey) decided to make a U-turn without first checking, and did so right in front of my son, both going down in a big heap. Neither was the worse for wear and bounced right up. My son amazed me with his composure, and immediately asked Spiderman if he was alright. Unfortunately Spidey didn't learn from that and, after we turned around at the end of route, we came upon him a second time, and he did the exact same thing again. Luckily my son saw him and went wide around, just missing a second collision with the same little guy. I do have to wonder where the parents were, as there did not seem to be any around; he was riding in a small group, but all the kids seemed to be under 10. Can't say as I understand that.

All in all it was a great afternoon, I just wish we had not missed out on those first two morning hours, as it didn't leave us with enough time to ride all the way to Boyle Heights, or take in the southern extension to the African American Firefighters' Museum. Maybe next time. Hey Tall Bike Jason, did you hear me yell out when you rode past in the other direction? Best looking tall bike out there.

Here are some of my favorite images (for various reasons) on this day (if you want more, here is the link to a slideshow of the remainder):

this guy got on the train with us in Claremont, and i happened to see him on the route. too dark to see it well here, but he has this great old Raleigh, of which everyone on the train was commenting

indeed, we are

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