domingo, 14 de octubre de 2018

Bike Polo in Parque La Florida

Intense action in the final game.
This weekend, 24 teams, mostly from Latin America, competed in a spirited bike polo tournament.

I was impressed by the sport's dynamism, by the fans' enthusiasm, and by the athletes' adroitness and
technical skill.

A team composed of Colombians, Mexicans and a latino from North America won the tournament, but in reality these folks found their joy in the competition itself. Winning was secondary. I also noticed that the distance from bike polo to anarchism isn't much.

Bike polo bicycles waiting for action.

Post-tournament unsubtle celebration!
By Mike Ceaser of Bogotá Bike Tours

Bogotá's Bike Cemetery

Going, going, gone forever. Bicyces wait for their owner who never comes.
When the police sieze bicycles, either because the bike is allegedly stolen of a cyclist's infraction, the police store them in huge lots, until in theory the owner appears  or pays his or her traffic fine.

However, many of bicycle owners never do appear, and the bikes lie rusting away for years. For legalistic reasons - and undoubtedly authorities' apathy - giving the bicycles away is difficult. So, the bicycles accumulate by the many hundreds and thousands, slowly becoming worthless.

The other day, while pedaling to Parque La Florida to see a bike polo match, we passed one of these bicycle cemeteries, on Ave. Mutis, near Engativa. I stopped to snap some pictures, but when the security guards saw me they ordered me to stop. God forbid, after all, that anybody should learn about this problem. Then, someone might find a good use for the abandoned bikes, such as donating them to orphanages or poor communities, and the guards would lose their jobs.

A mural by MAL crew in Bogotá's Santa Fe neighborhood,
behind the Central Cemetery, portrays the bicycle cemetery.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogota Bike Tours

sábado, 6 de octubre de 2018

What's it Take to Go To Jail?

'Judge sends home gang which stole more than 200 bicycles." (El Tiempo)
Police have arrested a criminal gang who allegedly stole hundreds of bicycles.

On their way back home?
Alleged bike thieves and their take. 
Bike theft is an epidemic here, altho a chronic one. But that's not all: Recently, cyclists have been murdered during bike thefts.

But 13 of the 15 alleged thieves won't go to jail, but instead received home detention. Home detention
is often a joke here, either because the arrestees relax comfortably at home or even remove the bracelets, put them on a housepet, and go out to party or commit more crimes.

Advocates of home detention point out, reasonably, that prisons are overcrowded and that prisoners often learn to be worse criminals, rather than be rehabilitated.

But, for a group which allegedly stole hundreds of bikes, which they might have sold for the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars, does home detention serve as any deterrent at all?

And the punishment seems out of line in a nation turning harsher and harsher against drug crimes - which many people call 'victimless crimes.'

In contrast, stealing the transport and recreation from hundreds of people seems like a crime deserving serious punishment.

By Mike Ceaser of Bogota Bike Tours