Think of it as a six-mile public park when the 11th CicLAvia rolls along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard this Sunday. In October 2012, CicLAvia went down Exposition Boulevard to Exposition Park, but this will be the first time the event travels into the core of South L.A., with Leimert Park and Jazz Park serving as bookends. “We’ve been trying to get to South L.A. starting in 2011 by going down Central Avenue,” says Aaron Paley, who cofounded the car-free extravaganza. What took them so long? Trying to nail down a route that Metro would sign off on—they couldn’t cross Blue Line tracks, Paley says—and that didn’t conflict with other happenings in the area.
For Paley, who speaks to Los Angeles at length in the January issue, a central goal of CicLAvia has been to knit the city together, not just by getting people to mingle but by getting them to explore other neighborhoods. “From the beginning, we were looking at dealing with underserved parts of the city, which we’ve now expanded to the county,” he says. “We were thinking about the social inequities, and we were looking at park poor neighborhoods.” CicLAvia’s been such a success, it’s caused a chain reaction: In 2015, it goes quarterly, with a March ride in the Valley, a May outing in Pasadena, an August one in Culver City and Venice, and an October gathering aimed at the heart of L.A. Ride on.