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CicLAvia: Thousands in L.A. ditch cars for bicycles for the day

April 10, 2011 | 11:35 am

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Like thousands of other people, Junue Millan rode his bicycle on Sunday morning to downtown Los Angeles for CicLAvia.  But unlike most, Millan ditched his bike for a moment to hula hoop in the street wearing fuzzy faux-fur handmade boots.

“I’ve been car-free since 2005,” Millan, 29, of Silverlake, said as he swiveled his hips near the corner of 1st and Spring streets.

The property manager, who wore a gray and green sweat shirt proclaiming him a champion at “cow tipping,” was one of thousands who abandoned their cars for bicycles and other modes of transportation for L.A.’s second CicLAvia.

The event, which drew in-line skaters, pedestrians, skateboarders, the young and the old, was designed to give L.A. a break from its car-dependent culture. About 100,000 turned up for the first CicLAvia last October. LAPD officers said it was difficult to give an accurate count for the latest event, but they said it was clearly in the thousands.

The family-friendly route takes riders from Boyle Heights and downtown L.A. to Westlake, Koreatown and East Hollywood. Although some stuck to two-wheeled forms of transportation, others used scooters. Some left their bikes to toss footballs or jump rope in the street.
“There’s no specific plan, no agenda. It’s just about people taking the streets back,” said Bob Vanech, a treasurer and founder of railLA, one of the event supporters.

Like others, Vanech said he wanted to see Los Angeles move away from its reliance on cars to using other ways to get around, including bicycles, public transportation and rails.

“I’m also a believer in electric cars,” he said.

As Vanech spoke, Millan showed up and asked if he could use a patch of asphalt nearby.

“Is it OK if I borrow it for now?” he asked. Then Millan took out his hula hoop.

He said he used to commute 16 miles a day to work before ditching his car for his bike. “It was hard initially, but eventually it became a breeze,” Millan said. “It’s completely possible and doable.”

For the record, 6:37 p.m., April 10: A previous version of this post referred to Bob Vanech as an organizer of CicLAvia. His organization, railLA, supported the event.

-- Hector Becerra

Photo: Los Angeles holds its second CicLAvia event, closing 7.5 miles of roadways to cars and opening them up to bicyclists, runners, walkers, skateboarders and in-line skaters. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For the Los Angeles Times