This weekend I’ll be logging somewhere around 20 miles and 50 or so public stairways on my FuelBand as part of the massive urban walk from downtown to the Hollywood sign known as the Big Parade. This is my fifth parade—daaaaamn!—and although I’m not going to be able to do the entire thing, I plan to be out there both days for as long as I can. This year I’m meeting more people than ever who want to try this for the first time. So I thought I’d pass along some insight (as well as some images) that might convince you to come along…
1. YOU CAN DO IT! This is the unofficial tagline of the Big Parade, repeated often by organizer Dan “I’m not really an adventurer, I just like to walk a lot” Koeppel. We only walk as fast as the slowest walker, we stay together, and take plenty of breaks (often in ridiculously scenic places). It may sound intense, but even though the terrain is dramatic, the walk itself is mellow. Promise.
2. Join for a minute or a mile or a marathon. Dan’s carved up the itinerary into a bunch of loops, meaning that you can meet up with the group at a specific location, walk for as long as your schedule (or shins) allow, and then go about your merry weekend. There are plenty of us on the walk who can help you navigate back home when you’re finished walking for the day. And speaking of navigating…
3. It’s a great opportunity to take transit. Since the best way to intercept the Parade is on foot—and the last thing you want is to hoof it 10 miles back to your car at the end of the day—this is a spectacular moment to utilize Metro, especially if you’re not a transit regular. Get a TAP card (at most subway station kiosks), load it up, and use Dan’s handy mass transit guide in conjunction with Metro’s trip planner. Who knows, you may come to love the bus.
4. Get ready to meet your neighbors. The Big Parade has steadily grown in numbers over the last half-decade and this year Dan expects record-breaking crowds. Along the way, through the years, I’ve fallen into step with future collaborators, met fascinating personalities who I’d later write articles about, connected with neighbors I didn’t know I had. These are really some of LA’s most interesting people. You are going to make at least a dozen new friends.
5. It’ll change the way you feel about LA. Every year, no matter what I see, no matter what the route, I walk away from The Big Parade with a completely different understanding of the city. Whether it’s learning how the Red Car once rolled through my neighborhood or finally seeing a circular staircase in a freeway median that I’d driven by hundreds of times, there’s always something new to be discovered. I’ve even kept track of the many realizations I’ve had over the years:
Ready to walk? Here are all the details. Please let me know if you have any questions. And I’ll see you out there. Hopefully here: