July 19, 2005

Long Beach to LA

I rode from my house in Silver Lake to Long Beach City Hall and got there ahead of schedule to meet up with Vice Mayor Jackie Kell and her aide Tim Patton . Jackie read the proclamation and Tim took some photos. I thanked them and apologized for having to leave so soon. Everyone I spoke to in L.A. said that Long Beach is a very progressive city bike-wise and that they even constructed an innovative bicycle parking facility not far from City Hall (the Long Beach Bike Station - http://www.bikestation.org/longbeach/index.asp). Tim said that he would send the pictures he took. Way to go Long Beach!

I jumped back on the L.A. River bike path and rode as fast as my middle-aged legs could take me, managing to get back to L.A. at 11:45, just in time to meet up with Stephen and Enci who were on the front steps of LA City Hall with some other folks from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition including Kestle and Bob. There was even someone with a high wheel bicycle and matching top hat (Gary Hendrickson - when you see a Hiwheel go across the TV or movie screen, usually it is Gary as that is his specialty in Hollywood, ed) .

Vice Mayor, Larry Frank came to meet us and we did a photo shoot with the proclamation in front of city hall. It was Larry's very first day on the job and it was a good opportunity for us to meet him. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, also newly elected, was in a meeting trying to get more money for public transit in L.A. – a very worthwhile cause. We also met a representative from City Councilman Tom LaBonge’s office who also gave us a proclamation. Two officials from CalTrans also came over to meet us as well as representatives from the LA Bike Coordinator's office.

From the fun LA ceremony, Stephen, Enci and I departed for Griffith Park (the largest municipal park in the US, ed) where we met the “honorary” mayor of Griffith park Louis Alvarado. He also gave us a proclamation and we did another photo op. Louis generously offered to help us with any bicycle related event that we would like to do in the park. At this point I wished Stephen and Enci a safe journey to Santa Barbara and I returned home. Riding a bicycle in car-dominated Southern California is at once an act of hope, defiance and, at times, insanity. It was inspiring to meet people who are trying to make our cities, and specifically Los Angeles and Long Beach more livable.

Erik Knutzen

Posted by mkrieg at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)