Cutting through a Wilshire Boulevard intersection on his silver Razor scooter, relatively alone for a brief moment, George Smith felt weird.
It was quiet, there were no cars around him and the crowds had yet to gather for CicLAvia.
"It just felt wrong to be in the middle lane," the 32-year-old said. "It's like the zombie apocalypse in L.A. but on bikes."
Smith and his girlfriend, Ally Rogers, 33, had taken the subway from their home in Rialto to downtown L.A. for their first CicLAvia bike festival.
It's a bit of a trip, said Rogers, holding a pink scooter in one hand.
"But where else does a major city shut down a major street for bicycles?" Rogers said. "It's nice not to have to worry about getting hit by a car."
It wasn't just scooters and bicycles that hit the Wilshire Boulevard route. People on rollerblades, unicycles and even a motorized bike sped under the shade of the tall buildings that line the often car-congested thoroughfare.
Many participants played music, their song selection as varied as those in the crowd. One minute Katy Perry's "Roar" blared from speakers, followed the next minute by jazz.
Ranran Li, 24, and Wan Xu, 23, both of South L.A., had gone out for a morning walk, unaware of CicLAvia. Still they blended in with other groups of joggers, runners and walkers along the six-mile route.
"We have such wide streets, but most of the time it feels like they belong to the vehicles," Xu said. "Today people riding bicycles can feel the same way."
Luke Lee, 44, of Los Angeles said he normally takes his two kids to a park to ride their bikes.
"It's hard for me to take them on the streets, the cars make it to dangerous," Lee said.
On Sunday he could calmly guide his 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old down the boulevard.
His younger child, Noah, required more watching as he was still on training wheels. But even with faster bicyclists zipping by, Lee wasn't too worried about safety.
"Today you can just enjoy the streets and relax," Lee said.
CicLAvia encourages Angelenos to abandon their cars for the day as a way to promote health and a clean environment. Sunday's festival, which runs until 4 p.m., covers a six-mile route along Wilshire Boulevard that extends from downtown to the Miracle Mile area.
Twitter: @AdolfoFlores3Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times