domingo, 4 de febrero de 2018

Bullfighting Reroutes La Ciclovia

'Turn right' during the bullfighting season.
During the past several Sundays and the next ones, Bogotá's Sunday Ciclovia is making an obligatory detour - for non-cycling motives.

Riding past a mural on Calle 26.
This is bullfighting season, which can mean big protests, which sometimes spill into violence. papa bombas and tear gas, or to keep people away from the plaza, or to give police freer action, the Ciclovia which normally goes along Carrera Septima, now instead detours west along Calle 26, jogs through the Teusaquillo neighborhood, and then turns right again to rejoin La Septima two blocks south of the Parque Nacional.
Whether it's to protect cyclists from
Watch out! Pedaling past a multi-bike accident
on Calle 26 underneath Carrera 13.

Some of the new route, such as 26th Street, was already part of La Ciclovia - but not obligatory for those riding along La Septima. The temporary route exposes more people to the delights of Teusaquillo, while depriving them of landmarks such as the Torre Colpatria, Museo Nacional and the Centro Bavaria. It also adds more risk. In three weekends rides I've witnessed the aftermath of two accidents in Calle 26's dark underpass.

Calle 26 passes by the famous
'Beso del Bronx' mural.
Bullfighting seems like a throwback to medieval times. Bullfighting does involve courage and skill, but any 'entertainment' involving stabbing animals to death just doesn't fit in a society which claims to value life. As for the protesters: More power to them. However, they ought to turn they attention and protests toward things like cockfighting and factory farming, which are much crueler and affect many more animals.

But, even if one stays agnostic about bullfighting, the fact is that Bogotá is expending tremendous amounts of money and resources to defend the pastime of a small minority of people, even if they do happen to be wealthy, conservative and influential. Besides inconveniencing the city's cyclists, Bogotá has also called out more than 3,000 police to keep the peace around the bullfighting stadium - police who must be paid and outfitted at taxpayer expense, and who could better be employed preventing crime.

Right or wrong, bullfighting inevitably generates protests, all of which cause huge inconvenience and expense for Bogotá. Why not leave all of this behind? Lots of other forms of enterntainment are available.

Cyclling along some Teusaquillo streets not normally part of La Ciclovia.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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