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CicLAvia reaches La Verne

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The University’s Chief Financial Officer Avo Kechichian bikes down Bonita Avenue Sunday for CicLAvia: Heart of the Foothills. Thousands of cyclists and pedestrians took over the streets of San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona and Claremont for the annual event. / photo by Natasha Brennan

The University’s Chief Financial Officer Avo Kechichian bikes down Bonita Avenue Sunday for CicLAvia: Heart of the Foothills. Thousands of cyclists and pedestrians took over the streets of San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona and Claremont for the annual event. / photo by Natasha Brennan

Catalina Diaz
LV Life Editor

Thousands flocked to the streets of La Verne and neighboring cities, Sunday morning, to celebrate CicLAvia, a festival that encourages community engagement and healthy living through car-free events.

The Earth Day event, also called the Heart of the Foothills, began in San Dimas and ended in Claremont, which totaled 6.5 miles of wide-open streets filled with bicyclists, rollerbladers, skateboarders and those who wished to simply walk the route.

“I think it’s a beautiful community event,” CicLAvia employee, Malia Schilling, said.

Schilling was the La Verne hub captain and is also an event staff person for CicLAvia. Her position for Sunday’s event was to be the point-of-contact for other event staff in her hub.

“It gives local businesses and community groups the chance to meet their neighbors and come out and meet new people,” Schilling said.

Schilling was working the La Verne hub alongside her coworker, Juan Torres, who is an outreach lead and volunteer coordinator for CicLAvia.

Many businesses around downtown La Verne set out booths and signs welcoming the cyclists and festival to their community, and even some had special offers just for the event.

This is the furthest east CicLAvia has come out, where former events have been held closer to Los Angeles’ larger cities like Pasadena, Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles.

Although the event was special because of its new course, hundreds, if not thousands of its attendees are from cities further than the route’s boundaries.

“I’m really enjoying all the people and all of the little stops in between the hubs,” said Stacy Salas, a homemaker from Covina.

Salas was attending her first CicLAvia on Sunday with her family and friends.

She said she had heard about the event from friends who have attended past events.

When asked about what was expected, Salas said she anticipated hundreds of cyclists and attendees, but was surprised at how much her expectations were exceeded, for the better.

La Verne’s hub was just one of the four stops along the route.

The next stop was to the east, in the neighboring city of Pomona at Palomares Park.

Food trucks, live music and family friendly activities covered the city park.

Specialty foods like authentic pupusas and soul food were offered at the lively stop.

Each hub had something special from each of their host cities.

Pomona’s rich history was present when event attendees were invited to stop along the route to visit the historic Palomares Adobe, also known as the ‘House of Hospitality.’

The last and largest hub was in Claremont at the Claremont Village, where the 10th Annual Earth Day Celebration, hosted by Sustainable Claremont was held.

“We’re thrilled by this turnout,” Schilling said. “It looks like people are having a great time, and we are really happy with everyone who has come out so far.”

CicLAvia’s next event, The Valley, will be held on June 24, with festivities starting at 9 a.m.

For more information about the event and CicLAvia, visit ciclavia.org.

Catalina Diaz can be reached at catalina.diaz@laverne.edu.

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