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Bike-friendly events like L.A.'s CicLAvia promote fun fitness

October 05, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Cyclists, walkers and others don't have to worry about traffic during CicLAvia, when 10 miles of L.A. streets are closed to cars.
Cyclists, walkers and others don't have to worry about traffic during… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Imagine a Los Angeles where you don't have to fight angry SUV drivers for a lane spot on Wilshire Boulevard or make a heart-stopping swerve around an abruptly opened car door. That day is coming, and it's called CicLAvia.

This Sunday, 10 miles of L.A. streets will be closed to traffic and open to cyclists, walkers, skateboarders and people in wheelchairs for a day of exhaust-free fun. Less like a race and more like an old-fashioned social, the event also features a variety of events that encourage people to slow down a bit, and maybe even stop for a while: dodgeball games, music, dance, a photo booth, street chess and, of course, food. This is the third CicLAvia, and it grows each time.

We're letting you know about it because we think it's a great way for people to get out of their cars and get some exercise in the fresh air --something we were all supposed to do during "Carmageddon," but instead we stayed inside and watched TV. Guilty!

"It's really fun and people don't realize they're exercising," says Joe Linton, one of the event's organizers. "I like to say that we trick people into getting exercise."

But exercise is supposed to be fun, a concept that gets increasingly difficult to sell when more and more workouts are touted as being bigger, faster and stronger. Cycling 10 miles at a leisurely pace won't knock off 20 pounds, but it may be the catalyst to make some healthful changes.

"The event is very beginner-friendly," Linton said, with a camaraderie found among all demographics. Volunteers will be on hand if you blow a tire or need other basic maintenance.

CicLAvia is part of a growing trend in urban areas to make streets cycle and walk-friendly, if only for a day. Linton said the movement started in South America decades ago but has since spread to the U.S. There's Sunday Streets in San Francisco, Summer Streets in New York, Oaklavia in Oakland and Bike Miami Days in Miami.

So dust off that bike, grab some friends and go for a ride.

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