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..