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Some turn CicLAvia into a family outing

April 21, 2013|By Samantha Schaefer and Abby Sewell

Jodie Escobedo, 41, said this was her first CicLAvia event and she loved it.

Escobedo and her family rode their bikes from Santa Monica to downtown and back. The four were split up in the sea of cyclists, but they'll meet up at home, she said.

"This is the nicest I've ever seen people in L.A.,” Escobido said. “Get them out of their cars and they're polite."

Kihana Crockett, 26, was forced into her first CicLAvia last year when her street was closed off for the event.

"I couldn't drive anywhere," the USC  student said. "So I figured I'd join it."

This time, she bought a bike and brought three friends along for the ride. Now that the weather is warmer, she said she plans to bike more often.

Alyssa Douglas, 20, of Echo Park, and Lauren Steinmetz, 22, of Burbank, bought their bikes just days before Sunday’s event.

The relaxed atmosphere and warm weather attracted Douglas. If it were a competitive event, she said, she probably wouldn't have joined in.

The two agreed they probably will bike more often in the future.

"You can see the city differently than you can when you're in your car," Crockett said. "It shows L.A. in a different light."

Alissa Hawker, 22, a USC student, said she's been downtown and to Venice but before CicLAvia hadn't had a chance to see many of the neighborhood in between.

The group started at the beginning of the route, in downtown L.A., and figured that at their destination in Venice Beach well deserved a chance to relax and eat whatever they wanted.

"It's my cheat day," Douglas said, laughing.

Most riders said they enjoyed the extended route but were somewhat frustrated by bottlenecks along Venice Boulevard, where the crowd backed up at a number of intersections while cars crossed. The boulevard was blocked to traffic on the westbound side, but cars continued to travel in the eastbound lanes.

"I think in the future they need to probably take over both sides of Venice and maybe prioritize some of the intersections for bikes," said Richard Parks, 45, who rode the route with his 7- and 9-year-old sons.

Robyn Shultz, 30, and Ernest Park. 30, agreed that the crowds and delays were a bit frustrating but said they still enjoyed the ride.

"It's one of our favorite days of the year -- it's one of those things you look forward to," Shultz said.


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