Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Motorcycle Street

Motorcycle stickers. 

A helmet rack.
Calle 15 and Carrera 14 is Bogotá's central motorcycle district, where shops selling parts, clothing, stickers and gears line the streets and motorcycles stand parked side by side block after block. The neighborhood, called La Favorita, was wealthy a century ago, and still has some grand houses. The motorcycle economy apparently grew up here because several messenger companies, which employ motorcyclists, have their offices here.

Olga Lucia has vended on the street and been the
caretaker of a neighboring rooming house. 
Olga Lucia, who was renting cellphones and selling candies and cigarettes on the sidewalk amidst the motorcycle businesses. She's lived in the La Favorita for 24 years, caretaking a rooming house and seen it change from an economy of trucking to motorcycles and delivery businesses. She said the city has plans to remove the motorcycle businesses and turn the neighborhood into into housing and public parks - a nice dream, if it happens.

Meanwhile, La Favorita is a low-estrato neighborhood with crime problem after dark. After all, it's only two blocks south of the Santa Fe red light district. Olga told me 'If you act like a fool, you'll be a victim," using a very Colombian expression 'Papaya servida, papaya llevada.'

Motorcycles have proliferated in Bogotá and across Colombia in recent years. I suppose that for the city they cause less congestion and pollution than do cars. But motorcycles cause lots of accidents and make a heck of a lot of noise.
And gloves. 

Anybody want some motorcycle parts. 

The Church of the Los Apasionistas has room for several hundred worshippers, but Olga Lucia told me that perhaps 30 people attend Sunday mass. 

A century ago, the neighborhood was wealthy, and still has some grand houses. 

Can you parallel park a motorcyle?

Motorcycle doodads for sale on a streetcorner. 

The historic San Jorge Theatre, a historic monument, has been abandoned for more than a decade.  

A local restaurant.
Time go get up! Police wake up a homeless person sleeping on a sidewalk. 

Good morning. 
A virgin in a window. 
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


mauricio forero l said...

Miguel my brother, the Canon is working awesomely, love the amazing shots, really good photos dude.


Stuart Oswald said...

Mauricio my cousin, canon cameras are very good.

Mike, I think it's time for post criticizing cyclists. ;)

Miguel said...

Thanks for your positive comment, Mauricio. The Canon at least actually takes a photo when I push its button. With the other, I just pushed and hoped.

But a camera is only as good as the person behind it.

Stuart, what do cyclists deserve criticism for?


Dan said...

Interesting to learn about the history of this neighbourhood, Mike: thanks as ever for the insight.

One point of contention though. I always viewed cyclists and motorcyclists as brothers-in-arms when it comes to the roads, suffering as we do the same issues of visibility and vulnerability to injury.

No stats to hand, but if Bogotá is anything like my native UK, the other party (car, bus, truck) is culpable in the vast majority of accidents involving motorcyclists and another vehicle.

Going from my experience of cycle commuting in Bogotá, I'd put money on busetas and taxis on being the biggest threat to both cyclists and their motorised brethren.

If you could persuade some of those who insist on using private transport to switch to motorcycles then the city'd be in a lot better shape IMO. Both congestion and pollution would be greatly improved.

Take care on the roads, all the best, Dan

Miguel said...

Hi Dan,

Thanks for your observations. You're right that bicyclists and motorcyclists do have a lot of vulnerabilities in common. Also, both do ignore lots of traffic laws, such as stop signs and red lights.

Still, I consider these more grevious and dangerous sins in the case of motorcyclists, since they go so much faster and are so much more powerful. I've seen lots of motorcycle accidents, here, and even been clipped and knocked over by one motorcyclist, who'd just roared thru a red light - and then got angry at me for 'scratching his motorcycle.' So, maybe I have a grudge, too.


Miguel said...

Also, the motorcycles with the cheap two-stroke engines pollute a LOT.


Mk Moto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.