There was not a car in sight along a six-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard on Sunday as thousands of Angelenos took over the city’s unofficial Main Street to celebrate the ever-popular CicLAvia festival.
The usually congested thoroughfare was filled with cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers and at least one unicyclist. One man rolled down the route, a leash in each hand, with two poodle mixes trailing behind.
Nathan Freeman, 55, said he rides the route weekly but preferred Sunday’s car-free event because it allowed him to enjoy "without worrying about getting hit by vehicles."
Freeman said CicLAvia allows the city's residents "to let their hair down." He pointed to a group of LAPD officers waving at cyclists. "See, today, they can act as ambassadors," he said.
Although the event brought some relief from the stress of traffic, not all of the city's stereotypes melted away.
Significantly more cyclists seemed to be coming from the eastern end of the route than the western end. Without a horn to honk, more aggressive riders scolded their slower counterparts with bicycle bells. And one woman on foot warned passing bikers with a sign that read "Hey, I'm walking over here."
Still, the city's core was notably mellower than usual.
One cyclist rode in zigzags blaring Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” on portable speakers. The only acrid fumes that could be detected were wafting out of the La Brea tar pits along the route's western end in the Miracle Mile neighborhood.
"It's all about shared space," a woman said as she walked into a Koreatown Starbucks to take a break from the sun.