CicLAvia Founder Aaron Paley Shares His Favorite Memory from CicLAvia: The Valley

He discovered a new spot for hummus and an old view of Los Angeles

CicLAvia went “over the hill,” Sunday, holding its first ever event in the Valley in parts of North Hollywood and Studio City. Organizers estimate about 50,000 people turned out to enjoy car-free stretches of Lankershim and Ventura boulevards. (An official head count will be tallied in the coming months.) We asked one festivalgoer—CicLAvia co-founder Aaron Paley—to share his favorite moment from the day. Along with discovering Mantee, a Mediterranean restaurant with fantastic dolmades and hummus, this is what he recalled:

“There’s this bar called Stout on the south side of Ventura around Vineland Avenue, and there is a little stretch of grass in front. In retrospect I realize we didn’t actually have any parks that were part of this route, and yet it didn’t feel like we were just surrounded by asphalt. But this one stretch in front of Stout has grass, and people were starting to drink and have a good time at 10, 11 in the morning, and they had turned the parking lot into a bike parking lot filled with bikes. At the end of the day I went back and there were even more people outside. The sun had come out and it looked really beautiful. People were sitting on the sidewalk of this little grassy area and there was this woman about 20 feet away, also on the sidewalk but a little east. She was sitting on her skateboard and talking on her cell phone and she was saying, ‘You gotta come down here. It’s beautiful. People are happy!’ That felt good. That was wonderful to hear.”

“Also, just east of Coldwater Canyon at Coldwater and Ventura there’s this old house that rises up on the south side of the street and you have to take a staircase from Ventura up to get to it. It looks like an old Spanish ranch house, and I’ve looked at that place my whole life. It’s a business now, and I finally walked up the stairs to sit on the porch and just look out. I felt like I had gone back 90 years. I looked down on Ventura Boulevard and thought, This is beautiful.”