CicLAvia: Heart of L.A. Takes Cyclists Back to UCLA's Origins


By Bekah Wright

Published Oct 1, 2019 8:00 AM

A cyclist uses the bike lane on Le Conte Avenue. Photo by Matthew Brush.

UCLA will return to its roots for the centennial celebration CicLAvia: Heart of L.A., Celebrating 100 Years of UCLA, which will take place on Oct. 6. The cycling event will cover several areas of Los Angeles, including MacArthur Park, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights and Downtown L.A. — the site of UCLA’s origins.

“The UCLA we love and know today first began as a teachers college in the heart of L.A.,” says Andres Cuervo, director of the UCLA centennial celebration. The Los Angeles State Normal School — located where the Central Library now stands (630 W. Fifth St.) — became UCLA in 1926, and by 1929, classes were taught at the Westwood campus. “UCLA has a shared destiny — and a 100-year relationship — with the city, so we’re excited to commemorate our beginnings, present and future with Los Angeles.”

Romel Pascual ’91, CicLAvia’s executive director, couldn’t be more thrilled about partnering with UCLA for the ride — especially since he’s a Bruin. “As a kid, I didn’t think it was possible to attend a top-tier school, then I was accepted to UCLA,” he recalls. “For me, it was the start of believing in the possibility that things can happen.”

Pascual believes CicLAvia is an extension of this feeling — the event introduces a new way to use L.A.’s car- dominated streets, just long enough for pedestrians and those on non-motorized vehicles to truly take in the iconic city. “It changes the way people look at their city. When these two institutions [UCLA and CicLAvia] come together with shared values and outcomes, you realize ... anything’s possible.”

Indeed, CicLAvia: Heart of L.A.’s 6.5-mile route will transform the city into a public park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There isn’t a starting point or finish line, so participants can leisurely soak in beloved landmarks, including the Broadway-Spring Arcade, the Bradbury Building and Mandarin Plaza. The event, Pascual says, “makes you reimagine what the possibilities are of a city you love.”

Tens of thousands of participants are expected to attend this free event. Since 2010, more than 1.6 million people have attended a CicLAvia event.

Four hubs will feature all-ages activities, food trucks, bathrooms, and water and bike repair stations. Along the route, many businesses will offer free snacks and special offers.

CicLAvia is open to all forms of people-powered, non-motorized transport. Powered scooters, e-bikes and hoverboards are not allowed. Participants who require pedal-assist bikes due to medical issues are welcome.

“Our partnership with CicLAvia will bring UCLA closer to Angelenos and the communities we serve,“ Cuervo says. “It’s also an opportunity to commemorate [UCLA’s] beginnings in downtown [L.A.] and celebrate our shared destiny with Los Angeles.”

For more information, go to ciclavia.org.



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