CicLAvia’s Downtown-centric “Heart of L.A.” route has taken place in October every year since its inception in 2010 (with the exceptions of 2018 — the L.A. Phil 100th Anniversary route effectively took its place in late September and HOLA happened in December) and in 2020 (because of the ‘Rona). This time around, Los Angeles’ flagship open streets event (the largest and most frequent in the U.S., The Militant might add…) celebrated entering its teenage years.
This year’s HOLA was much like last year’s, with the incorporation of Los Angeles’ newest icon, the 6th Street Viaduct, likely here to stay as a HOLA route staple. But this time, the route also extended south along Figueroa to Venice Boulevard, in front of the Convention Center’s South Hall, and a branch of the route in Boyle Heights ventured farther east along east 1st Street to Evergreen Avenue (more on this in a bit…).
The weather was a Summer-like 88º under clear skies, a mere one degree hotter than the inaugural CicLAvia 13 years ago. Other than that, this CicLAvia seemed pretty routine – bikes and likes, smiles for miles.
Well, except for one place: the aforementioned east East 1st Street branch. Maybe CicLAvia didn’t let enough people know about it, but it was pretty much uncharacteristically vacant compared to the rest of the 7.8-mile route. The Militant did discover a neat little outdoor mercado at the Metro (E) Line Soto station plaza, as well as a couple sights that he’ll plan to include in an upcoming Epic CicLAvia Tour guide (if indeed CicLAvia does roll through there again). But the end of the route – not designated a hub, but a “Pit Stop” by the CicLAvia folks – was…well, let’s just say that all those deceased Angelenos laid to rest at nearby Evergreen Cemetery had a lot more life in them than that part of the route (no, really). Another disappointing feature was that Eastside Japanese restaurant holdout Otomisan decided to close for the day (Booo!), which meant The Militant had to resort to Plan B for his CicLAvia noms.
By the time The Po-Po Party Pooper Patrol had swept the route (“Move to the right!” they told us – dunno whether they’re giving us safety directions or political advice), The Militant decided to chill at the suddenly-vacant 6th Street Viaduct to contemplate life, the view of the San Gabriels from there and how the 520 Mateo Street project (i.e. That Big-Ass Arts District Skyscraper) totally ruined the view of the DTLA skyline from the bridge, grrr.
Normally at CicLAvia, The Militant either recognizes fellow operatives and other people he knows along the route, or others are keen on spotting him. But neither of that happened on this particular day. The Militant, who thrives on anonymity, was ironically even more anonymous, having run into none of them. There was like 100,000-plus people there, yet The Militant was all alone…[cue the sound of howling wind]
After his deep contemplation session on the 6th Street Viaduct, he rode through the Santa Fe Street bike lane in the Arts District and stopped by an unspecified restaurant in Little Tokyo, after which he rode back though what was the CicLAvia route in the dark of evening, and hopped on the appropriate Metro Rail train at 7th Street/Metro Center to return to The Militant Compound. Number 48 was in the books. See you or not see you on December 3 in the Crenshaw District!