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This week, the City of Pasadena announced the opening of the Rose Bowl Loop for exercise.

Yet, there's something about the loop that calls me, and that's why next week I'll be heading back that way for my #Walk4Streetsblog challenge as part of our spring fundraiser.

For those that have missed our past posts, we're asking our readers and supporters to get in some miles walking or biking, either outside (following local and state rules and public health department guidance, of course) or in your home for our spring fundraiser. This virtual walkathon/bikeathon is replacing our regular fundraising drive and we're hoping its' a fun way to get some exercise and raise money to help keep us going.

You can do all the things one does in a walkathon: recruit donors, log miles, and work towards prizes. Half of the proceeds we raise will go to the California Association of Food Banks to help them feed people who are not in any position to donate. Or, if you want to help us out and skip the activities, you can make a donation here. I also wrote a primer about route planning for those of you who haven't done something like this before.

WalkBikeathonSchwag

We're also offering some exclusive prizes to participants. Any participant who raises and/or donates over $50 will receive an exclusive Streetsblog water bottle, and if you raise and/or donate $100 or more you can also choose an exclusive t-shirt. We'll have prizes for the largest individual donor/fundraiser, largest group donation, most miles walked, and most miles biked as part of the event.

There's lots of ways you can make donations to help us in our fundraising drive. You can click here and encourage friends, family, and loved ones to join you in donating. You can also create a Facebook fundraiser, or donate through the 'official' Facebook page. Last, you can go old-school and use this form to recruit donations from friends and family and then either send the donations to Streetsblog in the mail or make an online donation.

So why the Rose Bowl Loop? Well, it's been the site of two of the most fun days of my life.

On September 25, 2008, the City of Pasadena closed the "inner loop" of the Rose Bowl Loop to car traffic to open it for bicycling and recreation. "Car Free Rose Bowl" took place a full two years before the 10/10/10 CicLAvia that blew open the movement for Open Streets events in Southern California, and the whole evening felt special. I rode the loop once on my own, once in the back of a peloton, and then locked up my bike and walked it one more time.

While the event was popular, the city decided to forgo making it a regular event, citing the cost of the setup and security. This was a huge disappointment to me and many people that hoped Car Free Rose Bowl would become our first regular Ciclovia-style event in the Southland. Instead, we had to wait two more years.

In 2019, I returned to the Loop for the 5k race that accompanies the Pasadena Half-Marathon. For half a decade I had enjoyed running with my son: training for the next race, earning a medal, going out for junk food afterwards... it was a tradition we started when he was four. I started running with my daughter at her request, and even though she was barely six, we were competing in the Tour the City series of 5k races put on by the same people who do the marathon.

My daughter is not as competitive as my son, so instead of keeping track of our times and running against our "personal best," we turned the races into parties. Music came over an mp3 player strapped to my wrist. We stopped to dance at certain songs. We wore costumes. Looking back, we agree that the Pasadena 5k was our favorite race. For me, because of the course. For her, because of the costumes. Also, we went out for waffles afterwards.

So next week, I'll go back. It certainly will be a different experience to wear a mask and keep a physical distance from everyone throughout, but it will be a chance to be outside in the beautiful Southern California weather and exercise. Plus, I'll be raising money for causes I believe in. While I don't expect you to join me next week in Pasadena, I do hope you'll join us some time, somehow, for the #Walk4Streetsblog/ #Bike4Streetsblog spring fundraiser.

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