When an estimated 150,000 happy Angelenos take to the streets of their famously car-dominated city for a day of bicycling, you know a movement is happening.
Urban bicycling is showing signs of taking off.
L.A.’s 6th CicLAvia event yesterday took bike riders for 15 miles along a car-closed route from downtown to Venice Beach. Event organizers noted that attendance was up significantly from previous CicLAvias. This is perhaps due to the longer route that crossed more neighborhoods. Or maybe the word is getting out: Bicycling offer a more enjoyable way to see your city than does a car.
CicLAvia riders wait at one of the occasional traffic crossings along Venice Boulevard.
But, as fun as CicLAvias are (the next one is June 23), city biking can and should be more than just mass events. It can also mean riding to work or school, running an errand or getting exercise.
To help you put a bicycle into your day-to-day life, REI’s latest Expert Advice article, Urban Cycling: The Basics, offers new riders general tips such as:
- How to cycle safely (hints: be visible, be legal, be predictable).
- The 4 best ways to carry your things with you.
- How to deal with flats and basic maintenance.
- Bike-locking strategies.
CicLAvia's car-closed route extended 15 miles from downtown L.A. to Venice Beach.
To encourage ridership, cities across the country are improving their long-ignored cycling infrastructure. A few examples:
- The number of protected green bike lanes in the U.S. nearly doubled in 2012 and are expected to do the same in 2013.
- In Salt Lake City, bicycling increased 27% in one year due in part to a 50-mile bikeway expansion.
- More than 200,000 people ride a bike per day in New York City, up 102% since 2007, thanks in part to decommissioned parking meter poles being repurposed as bike racks.
Will you be getting out on your bike more this year?
Cyclists of all ages made it to the Venice Beach endpoint at CicLAvia.
All photos by Steve Tischler.