Bogotá's Wednesday Ciclopaseo celebrated its seventh anniversary tonight, having grown from a circuit ridden by a few eccentrics to quite a massive phenomenon.
The ride, held either every or every-other Wednesday evening, depending on the season, departs about 7:30 p.m. from the Welcome bike store on 94th St.
The ride is a honking, cheering, lights-flashing, celebration of two-wheeled transport. Altho it's not overtly activist or political, it seems to me that just having hundreds of cyclists riding and enjoying themselves helps change the image of the Bogotá cyclist from a loner who'd obviously rather be in a car, and whose principal street activities are swallowing fumes and darting out of the way of cars, to someone with a legitimate role on the street and even having fun.
The Ciclopaseo does often block traffic - making it the closest thing Bogotá has to a Critical Mass ride - and it gives me a satisfied feeling seeing those sedentary, polluting drivers for once giving bicycles priority - something normally unseen in Bogotá. The ride catches the attention of passers-by, as well. And, if the Ciclopaseo does block streets - that's also what cars do, evey day, and nobody yell as them run way onto the sidewalk.
Andres, who organized the first Ciclopaseo about 5 years ago and continues to lead the ride, says that at the start he had no idea the ride could become so big.
"We never imagined it," he said.
Alejandro Sanchez, who works for Toma Corriente, which sells both electric and folding bikes and who sometimes participates in the wednesday city rights, called it positive for cycling in several ways.
"It's fun," he said, "it incentivies bicycle use and low impact transporte in general."
|Andrés, center, is the ride's organizer. He estimated 500 |
people participated in today's ride.
|Taking pictures of the strange phenomenon.|
|Skaters in front!|