CicLAvia guide: How to rent a bike, fix a flat, join a feeder ride and more tips (Photos)

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So you want to go to CicLAvia?

For the uninitiated, CicLAvia (pronounced seek-lah-vee-uh) is a car-free party along Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles. It is open to anyone – and a pet – to enjoy the streets. It is not a bicycle race or ride, but rather a free, open playground. Now in its sixth occasion, CicLAvia heads west to Venice Beach for the first time.

"It is a way to see the city on two wheels and share that experience with several thousand people," said Carlos Morales, founder of the Eastside Bicycle Club and co-owner of Stan's Bike Shop in Monrovia. "It's a very healthy way to get families out to do something together."

His shop and other local bike clubs are just some of the groups preparing for CicLAvia with feeder rides, which is a guided group bike ride from your neighborhood to the event. Stan's Bike Shop is leading a group ride from El Sereno to CicLAvia, led by Olympic cycling silver medalist Nelson "Nelly" Vails

RELATED: MAP: CicLAvia — Ride with an Olympic medalist, plus more helpful tips

Below we have more feeder rides. And are you organizing a feeder ride, sponsoring a hub or any other CicLAvia event? Please let us know in the comments.

Start planning the day with KPCC's guide for anyone who wants to attend CicLAvia this Sunday:

  • Don't know how to bike? That's OK – you can walk, stroll, skateboard, run or jog. Rollerblade, unicycle or walk your dog from downtown to Venice along the 16-mile route. Anything without a gasoline motor is allowed at CicLAvia.
  • Don't own a bike and still want to ride? You have a few options. Aside from going out and buying a new or used bicycle, you can call in advance to reserve and rent everything from cruisers to "fixies" at a shop along the CicLAvia route. Find a rental shop close to you, walk there and bike to the route. We've included some non-traditional rentals in this list as well, including children's attachment trailers, children's seats, recumbent bikes and electric bikes.

You may also be able to find a bike to borrow or rent from someone in your neighborhood using sites like Neighborgoods and Spinlister. Have a bike that you're not using? Why not rent it out to someone using Spinlister?

Here are some rental shops by location:

On the east end of the route:

Off the route:

On the west end of the route:

  • Santa Monica Bike Center:  Starting at $25 for four hours and $30 per day for children's bikes. You can also start at the west end of the route by picking up a bike here and taking the beach path to Venice. Child seats, tagalong, wagons are also available to reserve.
  • Venice Boardwalk Skate & Surf: Want a more comfortable ride? This beach shop also offers recumbent bicycles with three wheels, which are lower to the ground, have a seat rather than a saddle and offer more stability and comfort, especially for those with knee or back problems. 
  • Bike Curious Rentals: Go to the beach and rent a beach cruiser, tandem bike, mountain bike and children's trailers and attachments, from $20 a day. Cash only. 
  • IZIP Electric Bicycle Rentals: For those 18 years and older, you can try out a bicycle with a motor to help you cover all 16 miles of the trip, or 32 miles for those who want to go round trip. Rent an electric bike starting at $25 for four hours. 
  • Venice Beach Station: Want to bike with three other friends? Keep the family together? Rent a four-person bike at Venice Beach Station. Longboard skate boards, tandem bikes and regular cruisers are available for rent as well. 
  • Helen's Cycles: For the more serious cyclists, rent a Cannondale road bike with an alloy frame and carbon fork, starts at $65 per day with a $1000 deposit. 
  • J's Rentals: Roller skate rentals start at $5/hour, along with beach cruisers, kid's bikes, strollers and more. 
  • Beach BarcycleTake your drinking buddies with you on the Barcycle: A 15-person bar on wheels. Reservations were still available on Tuesday for this weekend. Book online.

What should I bring with me? How should I prepare?

At least one day before the ride, take five minutes to check your ride over. Got air in your tires? Give your brake levers a strong pull. Are the brake pads worn out? Is your bike chain noisy as you ride it?

If you live near a bicycle co-op, you can go to your nearest co-op workshop to use a tire pump, chain cleaner and other tools you may not own. Check hours and call in advance to reserve a bike stand. If you can't ride your bicycle comfortably, go to a bike shop for air and a comprehensive check-up. 

  • Silver Lake area, near Vermont/Sunset — Bicycle Kitchen open Monday through Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at various times, but not this Sunday. Monday night's "Bicycle Bitchen" is ladies and transgender-only from 6:30 to closing.
  • Highland Park — Bicycle Oven open seven days a week at various times. Check the schedule here.
  • Mar Vista — Bikerowave open Monday-Thursday,  6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • MacArthur Park — BiciLibre open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
  • El Monte — Metro Bike Hub at the El Monte Bus Station has a bike repair stand and bike pump. Registration and a small fee is required. Open all week.
  • Van Nuys — Valley Bikery open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays. 

The day of the event, bring a helmet, good shoes, water bottle, wallet, Metro pass, lock, lights and cash for food. At the various CicLAvia hubs along the route, there will be food trucks, water stations, first aid stations and bike mechanic areas sponsored by local bike shops.

How to get to CicLAvia? For those who live near Metrolink or Amtrak stations on the San Bernardino, Orange County and Antelope Valley lines, Metrolink will provide extra bike cars. You can walk, bike, bus or drive to the station and bring your bike and stroller on board. Animals are allowed on Metrolink and Metro Rail as long as they are in a pet carrier.

For those who live closer, taking Metro Rail to Union Station, 7th Street/Metro Center, Civic Center, Pershing Square, MacArthur Park or Culver City stations will all get you straight to the route. And there may be a special edition TAP card, too.

Riding rail or bus to and from CicLAvia: 

From Riverside, Orange County, San Bernardino: Use Metrolink or Amtrak. Take advantage of the $10 weekend pass for unlimited riding. Beware of limited free parking and bike racks aboard trains. Stay updated on Metrolink advisories. 

From Long Beach, Norwalk, North Hollywood, Pasadena: Take Metro Rail - Beware of limited free parking spaces. Stay updated on Metro advisories. 

How to take the local buses: Metro, Foothill Transit and other local lines run buses with bike racks to Union Station, but beware that the rack may already be taken and you may not be allowed to take your bike on the bus.

Driving, if you must: Road closures along the route start at 8 a.m. You may be able to park a few blocks away from the route and bike there.

How to bike to CicLAvia: Several groups are organizing feeder rides across Los Angeles. Join a feeder ride or use the bike lanes. If you're interested in a feeder ride, check out the details below and make sure to ask the organizers whether there will be a return ride as well.

How to get home? Do I have to bike the whole route, round-trip? The newest Metro Rail line – the Expo Line – has a stop at Culver City along the CicLAvia route. To get back to Union Station, take the Expo Line at the Culver City Hub at Venice Boulevard and Robertson and transfer to the Red or Gold Line to get to Union Station. Alternatively, you can get off at 7th Street/Metro Center and bike to Union Station.

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