Ciclovía: Making Cities Healthier, One Weekend At A Time

Eco-Travel, Travel News — By Ben Van Loon on June 3, 2010 at 7:00 am

If you’re planning on spending a weekend or holiday in Colombia anytime soon, leave the car at home and pack up your bike. The phenomenon is known as Ciclovía, and you can check out some video-coverage of it here. The popularity of Ciclovía, or ‘bike path’ has its origins in Columbia, and though its municipal focii are centered in the more major metropolitan areas of Bogota, Cali, and Medellin, the popularity for these events has spread both throughout the region, as well as other cities throughout the world.

The philosophy of Ciclovía is simple: Close down some city streets for the day and make them 100% pedestrian-and-velocopedian-friendly. In my hometown of Chicago, for example, the Active Transportation Alliance, a non-profit advocate for alternate modes of transportation, has a Ciclovía-based event called Open Streets, which provides not only a worry-free afternoon for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the city without threat of cars, buses, and trucks, but it also allows for other civic and business organizations to make their presence known and cater specifically to a more relaxed public.

Though Ciclovía has been active in Colombia for nearly thirty years, the world seems to just now be getting ready for its proliferation. With the inundation of ‘Green’ philosophy and an emaciated global economy, alternate modes of transportation are becoming not only a passing interest for some people, and the combination of safer streets along with a local government that supports what is fundamentally a simpler lifestyle makes now a particularly ripe time for ‘bike pathing’ cities across the world.

So if you’re planning a Green vacation, consider making a Ciclovía-based sojourn. Tuscon is a major advocate for open streets, as is New York, Roanoke, Sydney, and dozens of others throughout the world. And if you’re wondering how to get your velocipede over some of the larger bodies of water for your next stop in Colombia or Australia, fear not, and explore some of the options for reusable bike carrying cases.


Tags: bicycles, ciclovia, Colombia, green travel, open streets, pedestrian friendly

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