by Ronnie Takens

After volunteering for CicLAvia and attending just one CicLAvia before (CicLAvia - Heart of LA on October 18 of last year) I was really honoured when the executive director of CicLAvia asked me - just a regular guy from The Netherlands living in Los Angeles for just a half year - to go out and explore the route of the next CicLAvia. “You bike everywhere around town”, Romel told me, "so just get on your bike, bring your camera and bring us some stories of places along the CicLAvia route! The Road to CicLAvia!”

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So I went, put my bike on the Red Line to North Hollywood, and from there I biked to the route. (In one of my next posts I’ll show you how you can easily to get to the CicLAvia route by bike from the Metro.) It didn’t take me much time to discover the perfect spot to relax, enjoy and have some food and drinks after riding at CicLAvia. I rode the route back and forth starting from the corner of Roscoe and Van Nuys Blvd.

When I was done with riding, I took a look at the northeast corner of Chase St. and Van Nuys Blvd. Beyond the parking lot is an entrance to a small Mexican-American shopping area called Plaza del Valle. I went there yesterday, and I really appreciated the relaxed atmosphere of this walkable, friendly place that is home to mostly Latin-American shops and restaurants. I even found a Walk of Fame, which lists the contributions made by several famous Latin American Angelenos.

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Plaza del Valle is also a perfect place if you come to CicLAvia with your kids. There is a nice playground where kids can play and hang out, while mom and dad enjoy a drink, some ice cream, some raspados (whatever you like) on one of the benches in the shade. To the shoppers and those in love with vintage clothing and home design, don't miss the so-sweet vintage shop of Anneta and Gary: The Hidden Treasure. It is a one-of-kind in Panorama City and Anneta promised me she will make tea for CicLAvia participants from her ancient Russian tea pot on March 6, so be sure not to miss on that!


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