Portland’s Bike Cult Take their Jedi Mind Tricks to LA for CicLAvia

April 26, 2013


ciclaviaBike cultists call last weekend’s  “CicLAvia,”  an organic, fantastical success. A movement, even. The future of bicycling in LA!

It was a success. 

Like a convention is a huge, organic success. 

Thousands of people showed up last weekend to the  event called cicLAvia  (an LA twist on the word ciclovia, as a similar event is called in Colombia) . Bike enthusiasts sent the word: Come! People drove, flew, bused and choo choo’d their way to the eventso they could bike along the streets of LA. Of course they can do this everyday, but this time the city would close the streets to cars.

Which is the point. 

The bike lobby–yes, the bike lobby– likescar free 3 to say they took the idea of the car free event from Colombia. They want to sell it as a party! A carnival! What they’re really doing is jacking up the numbers for PR purposes so they can go to the City of Los Angeles and others cities and close streets to cars. Period.  That’s the end game. They hate cars. The “party” is the blind behind which the car haters hide.

Here’s the real inspiration for the bike cultists,

The World Carfree Network is an international network that coordinates the actions of car-free advocates from around the world. It is the main hub of the global car-free movement. …Working to reduce the human impact on the natural environment while improving the quality of life for all are major goals. Car Free Days are official events with the common goal of taking a fair number of cars off the streets of a city or some target area or neighborhood for all or part of a day, in order to give the people who live and work there a chance to consider how their city might look and work with significantly fewer cars. The first events were organised in Reykjavík (Iceland), Bath (UK) and La Rochelle (France) in 1995.[20] [emph mine]

Hey, what happened to the party?! 

In fact the car haters use parties to sell their message. The bike cultists have spawned naked bike rides (go here for pictures, if you dare); critical mass, an anarchist bike group which started in San Francisco and whose sole aim is to “kill cars” (see photo nearby)bike nazi logo; ‘kidical mass,’ teaching kids how to take over the streets from cars and other ‘fun’ bike rides. They point to those events to attest to massive bike usage and use those jacked up numbers to claim more political power at city hall. The bike groups count usage during September, the warmest month of the year, to puff up numbers. Most of the people using bikes are government employees and students.

kidical mass tweet2

Bike cult capital, Portland,  started blocking areas off for bikes only on Sundays in the mid 2000’s. City officials called them what they were: Car Free Zones. But that made car owners realize the city hated them. So, the City of Portland changed the name. The Mayor began calling the car free zones “Portland Parkways.” And, like LA’s cicLAvia, people drove, bused, choo choo’d in to enjoy the free party paid for by taxpayers in the middle of the streets. Eventually the name became Sunday Parkways.

bike oregonian reporters cyclist groupAnd this political and social movement has the media as its main cheerleaders. The alt media, is on board and, in Portland, one of the main newspaper’s chief political reporters, Jeff Mapes, has written a book on bicycling and is part of the newspapers BICYCLING beat reporters. 

Mapes traveled down to LA to check out the new and improved cicLAvia, and found it enchanting,

I met my cousin, … his wife … and son at MacArthur Park and rode with them  to Culver City, where we had a picnic lunch in a nicely shady park.  With time running out to return my bike and get back to the airport, I turned back toward downtown and started to hustle, letting the L.A. kaleidoscope turn impressionistic. 

L.A. often feels like a city of disconnected neighborhoods, said Andrea Denike Martinez, a landscaper riding with her friends — the Bodacious Bike Babes.

But on a day like this, she explained, “it feels like we’re one community.”

Nice huh? Betcha that’ll get you lots of grant money from the cities for more of these political events.