Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy 40th to Bogotá's Ciclovia!

Cyclists, skaters and walkers on La Ciclovia.
Bogotá's Sunday/holiday Ciclovía, one of the city's proudest and best-known institutions, is celebrating its 40th anniversary these days. 

La Ciclovia, now sometimes called 'the world's longest street party,' began in late 1974 as a small event with a few thousand riders on closed-down portions of carreras Septima and Decima. In the four decades since, it's expanded to 121 kilometers and added an annual Nocturnal Ciclovia and activities such as aerobics classes, called La Recrovia. (That's one of several versions I've heard of La Ciclovia's origin story.)

During those decades, the La Ciclovia idea has been adopted by cities across Latin America, the United States and as far away as Asia. Back home, however, Bogotá's own Ciclovia has had to fight off efforts to reduce its length and cut back its hours. 

Today, La Ciclovia is likely Bogotá's greatest good-will messenger and an opportunity for recreation for millions of bogotanos of all social classes, including many who don't own bicycles.

I only regret that La Ciclovia's huge turn-out doesn't translate into millions of cyclists on the other days of the week.
Ciclovia 'guardians' with signs commemorating the 40-year anniversary.
Dancers in La Recrovia, public aerobics classes held during La Ciclovia.

Orlando often appears on La Ciclovia with his bicycle displaying pro-Cuba and anti-U.S. placards.

A rainy Ciclovia.

Taking the dogs out for a spin on La Ciclovia.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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