That's the message, anyway, from Bogotá's District Tourism Institute this week with the launching of a new website showing regional mountain biking routes.
|Technical information for riding from Bogotá to |
the Tequendama Falls and then Sibate.
On the other hand, it would be nice if the accompanying photographs actually included bicyclists, but that's a quibble, and hopefully will change. At a meeting the other day, Bogotá tourism officials said that the website is a work in progress.
It would also be nice if the routes included less generic warnings, since crime is a real concern in
|Mountain biking in Cundinamarca.|
(Photo: Government of Cundinamarca)
Unfortunately, many people need to be reminded not to litter. And, what about campfires? Camping?
There is of course tremendous mountain biking waiting to be discovered in the regions around Bogotá. Getting more Colombians out there will require cultural shifts, since mountain biking is not traditionally a major sport here. And growth of the middle class, since mountain biking is not a poor-person's activity.
|A bleak high-altitude landscape near Sibate.|
Promoting mountain biking, unfortunately, might not bring the city closer to that goal, since the riding is done outside of town and the bikers often get there by car with the bicycles mounted on the roof. Rather, Bogotá will need to promote practical cycle commuting, by making it safer and more pleasant and convenient. That means safe, accesible bike lanes, bike parking, and car drivers who understand that cyclists and pedestrians have a right to be on the road.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours, which offers rides outside of Bogotá.