I headed out to Boyle Heights to run the route east to west. The not-a-race event is mainly marketed to cyclists. I don’t own a bike, but that didn’t matter to me. The 7+ mile route of LA streets were closed to automobile traffic and open to cyclists, skateboarders, kids on scooters, pedestrians and runners. I missed the first CicLAvia when I was in New York last October and didn’t want to miss another free opportunity to run car-less LA streets (free!).
I had a lazy morning and didn’t get out to Boyle Heights until 1:30. Sean dropped me off by the Shakey’s at Cesar Chavez and State. He was too bummed about his broken MacBook to join me on foot or his bike so he went home to troubleshoot. From Cesar Chavez and State, I ran South past White Memorial to 4th Street where I joined a swarm cyclists heading west on the 4th Street bridge (traffic was going in both directions).
Since I’d read El Chavo’s post on the first CicLAvia I knew I’d be way outnumbered by cyclists. And I was. I didn’t feel too safe in the street with cyclists weaving in and out (mainly the kids who weren’t really paying attention and don’t know how to drive), taking pictures and texting. Most were riding at a leisurely pace, but occasionally some guy would come speeding by. I stuck to the “gutter lane,” as El Chavo called it, or jumped up on to the sidewalk where I’m accustomed to running. The sidewalks through Little Tokyo and most the Historic Core of Downtown LA were too crowded, so I had to go on the street. I kept the sound on my iPod Shuffle low, but I probably would’ve been safer turning it off.
The streets weren’t completely shut down to automobile traffic. There were several points along the route where cyclists and pedestrians were required to stop at crossing points for cars. Traffic officers directed motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. It all went pretty smooth. I think we stopped at every intersection through downtown, which was a nice breather. It was a pretty warm day (high 60s and sunny) so the rest helped me get through my first long-ish run since the marathon. I didn’t stop at any of the rest stops at Hollenbeck Park, City Hall, MacArthur Park or the Bicycle District. I did stop for a few minutes when I ran in to Pachuco3000 (above) and bought some lemonade from some kids at a lemonade stand in East Hollywood at the end of the route (below). When I finished I called Sean and we arranged a pickup spot for me a few miles south in Koreatown.
Even if it was a little lonely for a runner, I’m glad I got out. I did 10 pretty flat miles through areas of LA I never run through and don’t visit often enough. I saw a friend, had some great lemonade and got a nice tan from my racerback tank and capri running pants. Fun times.
All photos by srd515 and used under Creative Commons license.