CicLAvia Thanks LA Eco-Village

On 10-10-10 about 60,000 Angelenos came out to ride bikes and walk on a route between Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights and the Bicycle District in East Hollywood. CicLAvia closed 7.5 miles of LA’s famously car-choked streets, and filled our roads with smiles instead. That sounds cheesy, but man, there were a lot of smiles! If you attended I hope you got swept up in the good feeling. I’m smiling just remembering it.

Friday morning saw me, Adonia, and my fellow eco-villager “Big” Joe Linton down at city hall with a few other CicLAvia organizers, beaming as we accepted an award from city council for the event.

After all the pictures had been taken and the all the hands were shaken, we thought about where to hang the beautiful award we’d received. The eco-village lobby seemed like a natural choice, because this place has not only been the site of many of our meetings, its social network played an integral part in bringing an event like CicLAvia to Los Angeles.

The very first time I visited the eco-village, back in June 2008, I spoke with Lois Arkin about my interest in the ciclovía in Bogotá, Colombia. She gave me the contact info of someone in Bogotá who then gave me the contact info for Jaime Ortiz Mariño, the founder of the ciclovía. I met with Jaime in Bogotá in August 2008, along with Bobby Gadda, another eco-villager and CicLAvia organizer, and he inspired both of us to work on getting this event started in LA when we returned that fall.

So, on Friday morning, I came home on the subway with the award in my hands, and of course the first thing I did was take a picture of it with my cat Borrego, who is a native eco-villager found in the courtyard last spring.

Eco-village native revels in CicLAvia's success

















Now the award is out in the lobby.

Our award on the corkboard in the lobby











I’m happy to report that the eco-village has again played a role in incubating progressive bike work in Los Angeles. Thank you!

Embodying Bike Love

I’m an ecovillager who is studying to get a PhD in cultural anthropology, and my dissertation project revolves around biking in LA. I’m going to spend a lot of time in the next year talking to people and writing about the way our bodies become engaged with our city differently through bicycling than they do through driving or walking.

Since I think of bicyclists as “body-city-machines,” I started wondering about the boundaries between our bodies, our bikes, and our streets. How do they get stirred up as we ride? As an experiment, I decided to do some active boundary blurring and get a sharrow tattoo.

As many cyclists know, “sharrows” are share-the-road-arrows or, as they are listed officially in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), shared lane markings. They get painted onto roadways to remind cyclists and drivers that the safest place to bike is in the middle of the lane, not hugging parked cars. I really like the design of the sharrow, with its simply bicycle outline and two chevrons indicating forward motion. So a few weeks ago I visited New Rose Tattoo in Portland and consulted with Mikal Gilmore, who had just finished tattooing a friend.

My friend Kristen Cross documented the process for me.

Mikal developed this stencil by just going outside of her house and looking at the street, since Portland had just painted a whole bunch of bright, shiny new sharrows on many bike routes. The tattoo design differs a bit from the MUTCD regulation sharrow:

Let’s hope I don’t get fined for installing nonstandard signage. Not only does the symbol differ slightly, my tattoo is not retroreflectorized.

I felt like getting a sharrow tattoo would not only be a fun way to display my interest in transforming how we move in the United States, but also be a play on infrastructure.

It hurt.

It’s exciting to run around with this guy on my leg, especially since the City of LA just started painting their own sharrows due to the hard work of the LA County Bike Coalition. It also makes me feel like my commitment to bikes is something inalienable, something embodied.

Coming soon: a picture of the sharrow tattoo riding over one of LA’s new official sharrows.

Ecovillager Opens New Coffee Shop, Local Caffeine Addicts Rejoice

The heights of local commerce

Ecovillager Angel Orozco and his partners in Cafecito Orgánico have opened a new storefront at Hoover and Bellevue, just under the 101 freeway from LAEV. It’s about a 20 minute walk from here, and a 5-8 minute bike ride.

With ample patio seating and a simple operation indoors, this new coffee shop really adds to the neighborhood. I visited twice last Friday, once to meet with other ecovillagers and talk policy, and once to meet with activist friends and work on a bike project. Each time I noticed plenty of traffic through the shop, with stroller-pushing families, dogwalkers, and scruffy Silverlake dwellers all feeding their need for organic, LA-roasted coffee.

Our own Dr. Feelgood

There are tasty pastries too.


534 N. Hoover St.,
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Mon – Fri 6 am to 6 pm
Sat & Sun 7 am to 6 pm