CicLAvia, LA Mayor Villaraigosa invite you to grab your bike & cycle your way to better health

CicLAvia participants, October 9, 2011.
CicLAvia participants, October 9, 2011.
David Starkop/Office of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa/Flickr/Creative Commons

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City officials are billing L.A.’s 5th CicLAvia on Sunday as a 9.1 mile “linear” park for Angelinos to bike, skate and walk their way to better health.

L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry says closing the streets to motor-traffic and inviting residents to participate in the five-hour moving block party is especially important in light of rising obesity rates throughout the southland.

"When you think about the fact that we have a generation of children who are already battling Type 2 diabetes and childhood obesity in numbers that are higher than my generation, to have an event like CicLAvia and to do it in a regular basis to promote this healthy lifestyle can do nothing but good," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry.

And Carlos Morales of El Sereno couldn’t agree more.

Morales is an avid bicyclist and founder of L.A.’s Eastside Bike Club — one of the organizations promoting CicLAvia. But it was only a few years ago that Morales, who stands 5'9", tipped the scales at 400 lbs. Now, he's 200 pounds lighter.

"I had a medicine chest full of medicine and finally after several years a doctor told me: 'Carlos, I’ve done everything I can. I know you know a lot of people and there’s going to be a lot of people at your funeral,''' Morales recalled, his voice cracking with emotion. "This was several years ago and I still think about it and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for cycling."

CicLAvia draws inspiration from an event in Bogota, Colombia called "Ciclovia" that each Sunday attracts up to a million Colombians who enjoy 75 miles of car-free streets and better health for the exercise they get.

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told KPCC he believes a day of celebrating the bicycle is good for both the physical and emotional health of Angelinos.

"In a city addicted to the single passenger automobile — a city where we're stuck in traffic on average in a year I think close to four weeks — a day with out a car is a beautiful thing," Villaraigosa said.

Villaraigosa said Los Angeles footed $205,000 of the $350,000 bill for the 5th CicLAvia, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. It's free to the public.