Bicyclists at the Canoga Park hub, one of three along Sherman Way, for CicLAvia-The Valley. A five-mile stretch of road was closed to cars to make way for “people powered” transportation. (G. Arizon/SFVS)

On a chilly Sunday morning, during a much-needed break from the rain that swept through California this past week, more than 200 bicyclists gathered in the west side of the San Fernando Valley to cruise through the streets without worry over distracted drivers or speeding cars.

Five miles of road along Sherman Way, from Canoga Park through Winnetka and Reseda, were closed on Feb. 26 to all cars for CicLAvia-The Valley, an event organized to allow Angelenos to freely ride on the street without concern of being hit by a vehicle. 

CicLAvia, a nonprofit, has organized this kind of event numerous times before, though the last time it was held on Sherman Way was in December 2019.

As any bicyclist can tell you, riding on the street is always risky business. You’re never sure if a driver will give you some space or get dangerously close. Even roads with bike lanes aren’t a guarantee of safety. Just last Wednesday, Feb. 22, a man in North Hollywood was fatally struck from behind by a car while he was riding his scooter in the bike lane.

However, without the worry of navigating traffic or being hit by a speeding car, people grabbed their set of wheels and took a relaxing ride through the valley’s streets.

It was informal, you could join in at any point along Sherman Way, though most would congregate at one of three hubs — located in Canoga Park, Winnetka and Reseda. At each hub were various booths which offered a variety of information or services, including first aid and free bike repair.

Bicyclists riding down Sherman Way in the west San Fernando Valley during CicLAvia-The Valley. Many different types of bikes were present, including tandem bikes. (G. Arizon/SFVS)

Even community groups got involved. Near the Reseda hub, outside a church, a group called The Bridge Bible Fellowship handed out free bottled water to thirsty cyclists.

Along the route, there wasn’t much to see. There weren’t many open shops, so most tended to gather at the hubs. What was the biggest attraction was seeing all of the riders and their selected  modes of transportation. The main requirement for CicLAvia is that your transportation must be “people powered.” It was impressive to see so many bikes of every kind gathered together.

There were road bikes, mountain bikes, commuter bikes, tandem bikes and more. And it wasn’t just bikes.

Some people skated on their rollerblades, others on their skateboards. Some traveled on foot, either going on a leisurely stroll or ran through the street. There were even a few participants who powered unicycles.

Some people towed their children or their pets behind them in carriers. 

One man placed his child on the back of a skateboard while he used a large stick to push himself forward.

Another peculiar sight, right in the middle of the Winnetka hub, was a bicycle with a small skeleton fixed to the handlebars, both of which were completely decked out in Coca-Cola memorabilia.

Some cyclists livened up the event by blasting music. One bike had a boombox tied to the front.

Lit Riderz, a bicycle club, blared music from loudspeakers they pulled with their bicycles, playing “Atomic Dog” and “Humps for the Boulevard” as they cruised down the street. One member grooved to the beat while on an electric unicycle.

After reaching one end, cyclists could take a break before turning around and going through the neighborhoods one more time. The event was a mellow and relaxing affair. It may have been a cold day, but it surely pleased the participants who were glad that rain didn’t ruin their parade.

At the Reseda hub, there was a sign with post-it notes for people to share their thoughts on the event.

As one cyclist put it, “[It’s a] beautiful and welcoming event! I loved it. Way to bring the community and families together.”

For more information about CicLAvia and upcoming events, go to