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CicLAvia: 100,000 Cyclists, Zero Incidents, Millions of Stories

9:14 AM PDT on October 11, 2010

The MidDay Ridazz take over 7th Street
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The numbers for yesterday's CicLAvia are impressive. KABC News says that there were 50,000 people riding the streets of Los Angeles along a 7.5 mile stretch of streets that were open to public use, but closed to automobiles. The Los Angeles Times puts that number closer to 100,00 people.

Anecdotally, the Coke truck ran out of free servings after 50,000 drinks. CicLAvia organizers estimated that 60,000 to 100,000 people took part with the number "closer to 100,000."

That's a lot of people for a 7.5 mile stretch of the city. But here's the thing. Their numbers are wrong. All of them.

Yesterday was about a lot more than just counting the bikes that rolled past. CicLAvia touched hundreds of thousands of people, even if measured by the laughter heard on their streets instead of cars honking their horns. How do you count the kids playing ball in the street that scurried out of the way when the bikes rolled past?

Zero. That's the number of "major incidents" reported along the route. That number includes interactions between the different mode users: bicyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, rollerbladers, that guy on the surfboard thing with wheels. That number includes the interactions between the attendees of the events and the LAPD. As for Los Angeles' finest, it was hard to find a sour face amongst the hundreds of police on the streets. Even though they were working, they were as caught up in the wonder of the day as everyone else.

But more impressive than the numbers were the stories and the chance to just be out, in the city, surrounded by hordes of happy people. And why were they happy? Because we were outside, sharing in space and sharing an experience. And we didn't have to pay a lot of money to get shoved into an arena or stadium to do it.

I think I saw more of my Streetsblog friends yesterday than I do when we host Streetsblog events. It seemed everytime we stopped, there were new friends to greet us. At the feeder ride I got a chance to catch up with Carter Rubin, Kent Strumpell, Rachel Stevenson and the crew from SM Spokes. Here we are in East Hollywood and there's Deborah Murphy from L.A. Walks, "Park Czar" Alfredo Hernandez...oh, and over there is Ryan Snyder and Eric Garcetti...and..... And it was like this at every stop.

Now on to three favorite stories of mine from yesterday. Please feel free to add your own in the comments:

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