Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ciclavia Pasadena! 5/31/2015

Today I headed out to Pasadena, as I do about 5/7ths of the days of the week, but this time it was for the first Ciclavia completely outside the city of LA on the shortest route to date (3.5 miles).  As anticipated, it got rather crazy and the route kinda didn't feel long enough. This Ciclavia was advertised as being the "most walkable Ciclavia ever!" which I think was code for "hey, it would be cool if you don't bring your bike because bikes do take up more space than people and you'll probably end up biking back and forth on the route approximately 5 times while just leisurely biking all day." or something to that effect.

In other words, it was pretty busy! I took the Red Line, which wasn't too busy with bikes, but by the time I got to Union Station around 8:45 and went to the Gold Line, the platform was already pretty filled with bikes. To say the least the Gold Line train itself was pretty packed, but I have to admit that on the way to Ciclavia, people are pretty excited, so being on a packed train with bikes wasn't the worst thing in the world. Amazingly, I actually knew of the movies people were talking about ("Breaking Away" with the grumpy old man who hates bikes as much in real life as in the movies, which is something I unfortunately found out quite directly from my own experiences with said grumpy man actor and another documentary called "Slaying the Badger" about Greg LeMond. Thanks, boyfriend!) Still, I decided to get off the train in South Pasadena and biked the rest of the distance into Pasadena.

From there, I met up with a friend pretty much immediately and we set out on the route! I don't know how many times we went up and down the route... I think we hit the Colorado part nearly 5 times. I managed to run into a few people I knew, including unplanned coworkers (and also managed to miss planned coworkers! Bah.) Unfortunately, I left my Holga at home and realized this as soon as I was out of cellphone signal range on the Red Line. Luckily, this was resolved by a special bicycle delivery a couple hours into Ciclavia, but my photo shooting was decreased dramatically as a result. I did see someone else with a Holga taped to her bike though, so someone else was shooting with one! I also had left my Yashica Mat at my work during the week, so I used that some, but it is a little less spontaneous when it comes to taking photos while biking. Film photos to come!

In retrospect, I kinda wish I had taken photos of all the people dressed as food advertising for businesses because I think I saw 4 or 5 more...

 This was about 9:30, before tons of people showed up..

 I go on this street pretty much every day I'm in Pasadena and it was so awesome to see it people-on-bike filled over people-in-car filled...

I had noticed this weird thing in the past and wondered what on earth it was since it's just randomly in front of McDonald's near PCC. Then I learned last week that it's an old stone highway marker from the early 1900's for the 220/222 block of Foothill Blvd, which eventually became part of route 66. Thanks Militant Angeleno! Now it serves as a table for McDonald's snacking (also starring a decorated bike wheel!)

 Only 10:15 and Lake and Colorado already looked like this!!!! This Ciclavia got crazy quick.

So this was just weird and surreal. Lake is rather wide and usually filled with many cars and suddenly it was safe and empty enough to sit in the middle of the street. 

 Muir High School drum line

!!! Yes, yes it does.

This was called the "Bling Bike". The guy that decorated it works in a store with vintage jewelery, so he used some of it to cover this bike!

 On Colorado looking toward Old Town

Not only were there tons of people biking on Colorado in Old Town, but the sides of the streets were covered in bicycles all over the place. I'm sure the businesses, especially food related, were thrilled with the number of visitors.

 This was at 3:30, 30 minutes before Ciclavia was over and it was still super busy!

Gold Line on the way home....

Overall, this Ciclavia seemed pretty well attended (KPCC reports that the Pasadena police counted about 40k ppl.) It wasn't as bad as the Venice route in terms of congestion, but because of the length of the route and the number of dismount zones, it felt like you never could bike very far without having to get off and walk. The Colorado portion of the route was way more busy than the little spurs off of it. I saw a couple of small accidents, but overall, it seemed like people were pretty safe. I also feel like I still saw a large variety of type of bikes and other vehicles, although I didn't see some of the groups of people that seem to be at most of the previous Ciclavias. The police presence was very different than the LA Ciclavias.... I didn't see any bicycle cops, but there were some police positioned kinda on the edges of the route. I also noticed some cameras on poles attached to boxes and I'm not sure their purposes, but maybe it was remote monitoring?

 I don't know if this was my favorite Ciclavia in terms of the route, but I had my own appreciation for it since it was on streets I've spent a great deal of time on over the last 11 years, but never with so many bikes. Overall it seemed like another successful event!

More Pasadena Ciclavia Photos

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ciclavia - the Valley, 3/22/2015

It's hard to believe that it's already Ciclavia time again! It has only been a bit over 2 months since the last one and I've been especially busy in those 2 months, so in some ways the time has flow and (gasp!) I still have tons of photos I haven't gone through, from Ciclavia and beyond.

Last Ciclavia was a bit different for me since it was outside of my home and it's been interesting watching the contrast in how it's been handled in Pasadena. I've been working in Pasadena for over 10 years, partially because I find it to be a pretty awesome city to work in, especially without a car. With ample public transportation (I've used a combo of trains & buses to get home over the years... I actually have options!), areas where being a pedestrian is rather encouraged (old town Pasadena, especially) and many random events going on, I really don't mind working there. Of course one of the most famous events is the Rose Parade (... I have an awesome set of photos in this area to share at some point, but there's also other plans brewing for those). Anyway, this is all a distraction in saying that I work on Colorado, on the Ciclavia route and for over a month now, I've seen Ciclavia flyers all over the place. When I wandered around my home on Ventura on the Ciclavia route just days before the Valley event, I think I saw 2 Ciclavia flyers in windows. In Pasadena my work building has had the flyer up for nearly 2 months and businesses in the general area all have signs up as well. I know of a few coworkers that are planning to go and generally I haven't heard any of the grumbling I heard in the Valley pre-Ciclavia. Of course, the excitement about it and the 3.5 mile route have me wondering if things are going to get crazy, but who knows. It will be interesting. The last few days of preparation have been building up the excitement with signs appearing for changed bus routes, no-parking signs, street closure signs and today seeing barricades being dropped along the route. Almost time!!!

Anyway, here's another batch from last Ciclavia in the San Fernando Valley!

So last Ciclavia I wanted to do something special since it was my near my home and I came up with bike decorating! I prepared some supplies in the week before and in the afternoon during the event, my friend and I headed over to the Universal Red Line parking lot with a box of supplies. A few people stopped by and decorated their bikes with some of the straws, pipe cleaners and crepe paper on hand, but by far we gave away way more flowers & bows made with some of the supplies.

Some people were confused and didn't understand why we were doing this (because it's FUN! Because it maybe makes you smile! Because we like to share and we can!) others were just super excited. At one point this little girl, maybe 4 or 5, showed up very quietly asking for a bow. I pulled one together for her and she was so excited, gave me a very sweet compliment and thanked me before disappearing. The mother of the little girl in the photo below said that they had passed us and her daughter kept asking to decorate her bike, so they decided turned around to come back and add some color to her bike. At some points we just asked random people to stop so we could decorate their bikes. A woman named Daisy stopped by and asked if we had any supplies to help her attach a flower to her bike and I had a good time talking with her for a while. It was her first Ciclavia and she and her husband ended up at it because they were retired and tried to do something new and different each weekend & Ciclavia was that week's event, but she was excited about coming back to another in the future.

I'm a little disappointed I didn't get things together to do this again for this Ciclavia because now that I'm thinking about it, it really was super fun in so many different ways.

 I'll have to look around to see if I can find out the name of this, but it's a box delivery type truck that gets painted white with little bits of event specific details and then during events, people can stop by and add their bits to it for the day. After the event, it gets repainted white and the process repeats.

 Last week I noticed a paper in front of the CBS studios in Studio City with a notice from the Studio City neighborhood council about Ciclavia and some survey results that someone carried out. I'm not sure what area they covered, but I believe it was something liek 86 businesses that participated and overall, a majority of businesses & citizens they surveyed would support another Ciclavia! Yay! The sad part was a note saying it would be another 3-4 years before another Ciclavia would happen in the same area.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Las Virgenes Canyon, golden

This past weekend as part of "doing random things in the west San Fernando Valley" we stopped by Las Virgenes Canyon right around the golden hour. Because the stop was somewhat spontaneous, I wasn't prepared with proper grippy hiking type shoes and I had my nikon point & shoot with me as well as my 35mm Holga, so I made due with what I had.

I was the only one that hadn't been there before, so I didn't know what to expect and I have to admit to being a little surprised by being in the middle of a neighborhood with large houses and then suddenly in a large open space. Often these types of parks either seem to be almost immediately a climb up a hillside that would be a bit ridiculous (although in LA it would happen) to develop on, while this was a rare sudden bit of rolling hills that was relatively open. It was super pretty with the addition of perfect lighting for enjoying the hills, openess and gentle sound of plants blowing in the cool, comfortable breeze. 

 Crazy houses on the edge of the developed world (we checked up on this later.. the right side in this photo looked well cared for while the left has graffiti & new construction going on in the front)

 As previously mentioned, I lovvvvvvve these types of hills. Sigh.

 houses peeking over the hills at the edge of the preserve