Colombia, and especially Bogotá, has proven to be fairly progressive and successful in its attempts to create alternative transportation options. Bogotá has things like the Transmilenio bus system, an annual day without private vehicles on the road, as well as a large network of dedicated bike lanes while Medellin has a beautiful Metro and the Metrocable. Both cities, along with many others in Colombia, also have Ciclovia.
Ciclovia is an event held every Sunday and on all major holidays. Major streets throughout the city are blocked off from vehicle traffic and pedestrians, bicycles, and skaters are encouraged to come out and enjoy the roads.
What was to become Ciclovia was created in Bogotá in 1974 and has been taking place in the city ever since. The streets are closed from 7:30am until around 2:00pm and many locations along the routes have permitted vendors in official event tents doing bike repairs or selling snacks and drinks. Answering the question "Where is Risis Now?", here she is with me on Calle 116 in Bogotá during this week's Ciclovia:
Bogotá's Ciclovia routes are very popular. One that goes along a boulevard named La Boyaca, which runs almost the entire length of the city, is packed with people each week. The idea of Ciclovia has spread to other cities and countries but very few places hold them every week of the year like they do in Colombia. This is a photo of one of Medellin's Ciclovia routes, which runs along a river:
I think part of the success is that Bogota has a year-round-springtime climate, which allows people to come out regularly. Couple that with the crazy drivers and traffic here that makes bicycling on the roads into an extreme sport and I can understand why folks look forward to Sunday. Hats off to Bogotá for the success of the program!
Special thanks to my friend cyberHag in Los Angeles for the inspiration to do this story.