Oh Bogotá, you’ve stolen my heart with this one and you are more forward-thinking than you know!
As a reasonably active person, it was with great delight and surprise that I discovered Bogotá’s Ciclovia. Every Sunday from 7am-2pm Bogotá closes off a whole bunch of main roads so they can be used exclusively by cyclists, runners, walkers and pedestrians.
Sure, this isn’t a new concept and a whole bunch of countries around the world close off their roads for pedestrians for whatever reason, but did you know Bogotá was the first city in the world to introduce the idea? Yeh, I’m impressed too.
A guy named Jaime Ortiz was one of the organizers back in the 1970s and now more than 30% of people in Bogotá, that’s more than 2 million people, use the 120km of traffic-free asphalt each week.
Having run along the Ciclovia a few times, it is amazing what you see on a morning run – a woman playing guitar, friends cycling together, people singing vallenato through a microphone hooked up to a portable speaker, hardcore lycra-clad cyclists, people selling arepas and juices, families strolling slowly, grandparents walking hand-in-hand, teenagers screaming at each other, people in wheelchairs, party-goers on their way home after a big night out [Who, me? Never. – Paul], everyone comes out to enjoy it.
Every Sunday there are also exercise classes en masse, which are organised in many of the city’s parks. There are aerobic, dance and yoga classes, live music, performances and a serious party-vibe throughout the city.
So, if you’re wanting to keep active in Bogotá or just want to see a bit more of the city on a lazy afternoon, get outside and start getting to know the streets of the city on the Ciclovia.