"In New York they have Central Park, in France they have the Eiffel Tower. In Bogotá, we have Ciclovía," said Oscar Ruiz of the District Institute of Sports and Recreation in Colombia.
The weekly event (which has periodic holiday editions throughout the year as well) is now in its 43rd year, and has since spread to Cali, Medellín, and even internationally. It has grown to a 117-kilometer tangle of bike paths and streets closed off to car traffic.
And while the more obvious purposes of Ciclovía are to promote healthy lifestyles and cut down on air pollution, Ruiz said his favorite part about it is the community.
"It's the place where we can all meet up, we're all the same. The rich with the poor, kids with adults, young with old," Ruiz said. "Where everyone is the same. Where we all have the same opportunity to enjoy our city. That's why Ciclovía is so important because it's the place where we have inclusion for excellence."
Creating a common space for all Colombians to use is an important goal for the organizer of Ciclovía.
"It's the biggest park in the world," Ruiz said. "It's a place where people come to be happy."
It's not just bike paths. Along the way, participants can expect to see food vendors, free water stations, musical performances, bike repairs, and other attractions.
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