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

lunes, 15 de septiembre de 2014

One Eye-Catching Uniform!

Members of the Colombian women's cycling team in their finest.
The Colombian women's cyclist uniform has made news this week, and you can see why. No, those athletes aren't naked - but their uniform makes look as if they were.

The team has reportedly been competing in the uniform - which was designed by a team member - for nine months, apparently without previous polemic. And I can see how, as a piece of fabric hanging in a closet the uniform appears innocent enough. But this official photo for the Tour of Tuscany, Italy generated unwanted attention.

The District Institute for Recreation and Sports (IDRD), which had reportedly approved the uniform, now disowns it. And the International Cycling Union calls it 'unacceptable.' No word yet from the team's sponsors, who are receiving much more attention than they'd expected.

Expect the team to appear at their next competition, in Spain, in something less flesh-colored around the midriff.

Blog by Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

martes, 9 de septiembre de 2014

Lending Bikes on La Jimenez

This morning, the city inaugurated a new line of its bicycle-lending program, along part of Jimenez Ave.

The expansion, overdue as it is, is an advance. (About two months ago, they created a line in El
Virrey Park in north Bogotá.) However, the line is so limited that it's almost more frustrating than anything else. The bikes will only be available between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., the hours during which Mayor Petro has shut down TransMilenio bus service on La Jimenez, for god-only-knows what reason.

While the bikes are intended to partially replace the buses, they aren't available on San Victorino Plaza, which is the final working stop during the mid-day hours. Also, unlike Ave. Septima and El Virrey, which are flat, Jimenez has a grade, altho an uphill one.

This tiny additional bicycle service is also a reminder of the city's inaction on a long-promised city-wide public bicycles program. Recently, the deadline for placing the program out for bid passed without action.

Bogotá, once a pioneer in cycling in Latin America, is falling farther and farther behind cities such as Buenos Aires, Santiago, Chile and Mexico City.

Ready to ride? Public bikes in front of the San Francisco
Church, at the intersection of Ave. Septima and Jimenez.
Riding up Jimenez Ave. Unlike the other where bikes are lent, Jimenez has a grade, altho a mild one.
No bikes for me. The municipal potentates arrived at the inaugural event in armored SUVs.
The Museo de Oro Transmilenio Station sadly shut down near mid-day. Buses and bikes can coexist.
Cycling down La Septima on public lending bikes.
Bogotanos line up for public bikes on Ave. Septima.

Blog by Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours