Just like Marmite, Ciclovía has a love and hate relationship with people. Every Sunday and public holiday from 7am to 2pm, more than 121 km of roads is blocked for people to exercise on. It is the day on which half the city is out for sports. The most popular choices are cycling, running and rollerblading. Semi-professional cyclists come in their complete gear, helmets, lycras. Yummy mummys running in their ultra chic oversize sunglasses and their colour-coordinating sportswear. All the dogs are also out running, big and small. Leisure seekers enjoy a cup of sour green mango or orange juice from the opportunist street vendors. It’s a big, colourful weekend street party.
The problem with this system is that the initiative blocks all the roads that are normally for cars, and that means exceptional traffic conditions on these days anytime before 2pm.
What I found strange is the keenness to be exercising in the middle of the road next to all the cars. Sometimes only one lane of a major road is closed for the event, so you’re really doing sports and inhaling relentlessly among the 5 lanes of vehicles that are emitting scary-looking black exhaust around you.
But if you talk to the people here, both locals and foreigners (usually non-drivers who don’t need to put up with the pain) will tell you that they LOVE IT! ‘One of the things I love about this city and Colombia!!’
Hum, it’s hard to put myself in their shoes..
I am one of the punished citizens who suffers every sunday because of this Ciclovia idea… I simply don’t like it and think is worse the mess it causes than the allegedly welfare…
Think we should give it a try..
Smileys are way to go!!!!!! 😉
Hello Jessica!, well, finally there is an article where I don’t share your opinion , I really find ciclovia enjoyable and interesting as it represents a disconnection for people from the usual street life in Bogota…plus the reduction on the pollution levels on Sundays.. Moreover, I do like the ciclovia as it works as a kind of Bogota’s “beach” where people -and pets, of course- from different backgrounds, go out to mingle in a colorful and quite relaxing atmosphere.. not to say that it is quite creative as well (wow, the things you see there!..) I really enjoy having a walk on Sundays and taking a look at the different people and characters that meet on the lane.. it’s great!.. I think there have been several studies that show the varied benefits of the ciclovia not only from a health perspective but from a commercial, leisure and sociological point of view… It is a Bogota attraction for tourists as well and a very good opportunity for them to tour the city and watch/meet people in a different way … Several majors from around the world have been impressed by the ciclovia system, including New York, to the extent that they have been doing pilots to establish similar systems in the future.. Anyway, I hope you get your trainers one day and take a look at such an interesting, colorful and relaxing half-day in Bogota! : )
I do acknowledge that it’s an innovative measure and it makes the city unique in its way. I also think that the city needs to be more equipped with better road planning and organization in order to cope with blockades for half a day a week..
And I guess your point about walking around and enjoying the weekly measure really applies if most people live in convenient and central neighbourhoods, which unfortunately in Bogota it doesn’t happen..
yea, as with most things, there are both good and bad sides!
About ciclovia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciclov%C3%ADa