jueves, 16 de octubre de 2014

Here Comes Bike Polo

These folks were practicing bike polo in the Parque Nacional today. Last weekend, a regional bike polo tournament was held in Bogotá. 48 men's teams and 18 women's teams competed, and Mexico won in both categories and Brazil finished second. 

The sport looks like lots of fun both to watch and play, and it's great seeing it take off. Here's their web page.

jueves, 9 de octubre de 2014

Back on the Bikes at La Nacho

Set to pedal. National University students set out on the new public bikes.
A few years ago, the Universidad Nacional's Bogotá campus bought thousands of simple bikes, painted them green and distributed them around campus. The idealistic concept was that students and others would píck up a bike, pedal it to their destination, and leave it there for someone else to use.
Riding in the rain on a public
bike in La Nacho.
Unfortunately, the users were not so ideal. The bikes got abused, damaged and stolen.

Since nobody knew who'd used a particular bike, nobody was held responsible. Finally, the the university, known as La Nacho, scrapped the program. 

But now, with 5 lending stations and 115 salvaged and repaired bikes, the program's on again. This time, however, there's responsibility. Users must first register and then show their I.D. each time they use a bike. Eventually, planners hope to have 1,000 public bikes.

The disadvantage of this arrangement is its expense, and the fact that campus visitors can't use the bikes. But that's a small price for having a system which actually works.

Of course, La Nacho never stopped being a bike-friendly place. Thousands of students and others pedal the flat campus every day on their own bikes.

Might this nudge Bogotá officials to actually create a real city-wide public bikes program? Let us hope.
Long time coming. Looks like the National University's campus finally has a much-needed bike repair stand. 
The public bikes program is being administered by the city's Instituto de Recreacion y Deporte (IDRD), which also runs the public bikes on Ave. Septima.
The public bikes can be walked, too.

Blog by Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

domingo, 5 de octubre de 2014

Pedaling for Pot

Protesters pedaled thru central Bogotá demanding the return of the 'personal dose' law, which permitted the possession of up to 5 grams of pot for personal consumption. The right was eliminated during the presidency of Alvaro Uribe, who claimed that drug pushers hid behind the law.

Recent court rulings, however, seem to have reaffirmed the right. Still, what courts say and what a cop does on the street are two different matters.

A thumbs up for the 'personal dose.'

sábado, 27 de septiembre de 2014

Those Daring Young Folks on their Flying Bikes

Here are a few snapshots from yesterday's BMX bike jumping exhibition on Plaza Bolivar. The ramp riding was part of a festival of urban youth activities, which also included music and graffiti painting.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

Bogotá's Newest 'Bike Lane'?

Bicyclists in the new bus (and bike)-only lane on Carrera Septima.
A bicyclists shares the bike-bus lane
with a car and a motorcycle.
Bogotá once won fame as a global pioneer in building lanes for bicyclists.

During the past several city administrations, the city has lost that pioneering spirit. Mayor Petro, however, has expanded the bike lane network, trying to do so on the cheap and quick.

Petros's latest idea is a shared bike-bus lane on Carrera Septima, north of the Parque Nacional. The idea is potentially a good one. However, a visit this week during the afternoon rush hour found no sign of it being implemented, and cyclists on their own - as usual.

The bike-bus lane is part of a plan to turn Carrera Septima 'green', which also includes low-emission TransMilenio buses and green roofs on bus shelters. Unfortunately, the greening does not appear to include controlling pollution from traditional buses and other vehicles.

On the stretch of Carrera Septima from Plaza Bolivar to Calle 24, the city has banned cars and created a real bike lane. That has dramatically boosted the number of cyclists using the street. A real protected bicycle lane on the rest of Carrera Septima would do the same.

A car in the bus-only lane. I saw no sign of enforcement of the rule. 
A motorized bicycle in the bus-bike lane. These vehicles are proliferating in Bogotá and assume all the rights and privileges of real bicycles, even tho they pollute more than a car does.
How would you like to bicycle behind me? A 'green' bus belches smoke on La Septima. 
A motorcycle in the bus-bike lane.
A rare sight: A woman cyclist battles traffic, including this car in the bus lane. 
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

sábado, 20 de septiembre de 2014

Touring Through La Candelaria

By the Mercado de la Concordia, a traditional mariket.
This afternoon, the city carried out the first of what are supposed to be many cultural/historical bike tours of the city center, this one focused on women. It's an example of ways that the administration of Mayor Gustavo Petro is trying to promote bicycling in innovative ways - albeit small ones. It's also a nice way to get more use out of the bikes the city is lending on weekdays along Ave. Septima. 
Pedaling above Bogotá's skyline. 
But, unfortunately, the Petro administration has done little about the sort of urban troubles which make cycling unpleasant and dangerous, such as pollution and chronic traffic congestion. During the short tour thru La Candelaria, the group had to squeeze past sometimes aggressive cars on the always-congested Carrera 4. Later, we passed below the huge parking garage which the Externado University is building on Bogotá's Eastern Hills. Altho Petro has said many times that private car use should be restricted and clean transit encouraged, the city still approves projects like this monstrosity, which will only eliminate green space and compound traffic congestion and noise and air pollution in the city center.  

The event was sponsored by the Instituto Distrital de Recreación y Deporte (IDRD) and the Secretaría de la Mujer.

On Jimenez Ave., accompanied by TransMilenio.

On La Plaza del Periodista. 
Passing by El Mercado de la Concordia.
Squeezing along one of Bogotá's many perpetually congested streets.
The group rides below a monstrous parking garage which the private Externado University is building on Bogotá's hillsides. This project, like many others, will only worsen traffic congestion, and noise and air pollution in the city center.

On a La Candelaria street.
In la Calle del Embudo, near La Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours