The invention of the pacemaker, 100 Years of Solitude, Botero’s chubbies…Colombians have a lot to brag about but did you know that the idea of the Sunday ciclovía originated in Bogotá? In the 1970s, activists convinced the mayor that the city’s pedestrians, skaters and cyclists needed a respite from traffic and a place to do their thing. In the forty years that followed, ciclovía grew from just a few streets to over 120 kilometers of roads closed to vehicular traffic on 72 mornings a year (every Sunday, all national holidays and a couple of special nighttime events too!). The success of Bogotá’s Sunday ciclovía has inspired other cities all over the world to implement similar programs to get people off their butts and reduce the noise and pollution of traffic (albeit temporarily).
As I mentioned in a previous post, we were really excited to take part in a special night time ciclovía. Each Sunday and national holiday, from 8am-2pm, the city of Bogotá close 121 km of roads to vehicular traffic so that pedestrians, cyclists, and rollerbladers can get out and enjoy the city. Not only that but the entrepreneurial spirit of the city is in full swing as folks come out to sell fresh juice and snacks.
This past Thursday there was a special ciclovía nocturna, lasting from 6:00 pm to midnight, to fully enjoy Bogotá’s Christmas lights and decorations.