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Cycling Sunday in Bogota, Colombia

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Cycling Sunday in Bogota, Colombia

Sunday is cycling day in Colombia’s vibrant and burgeoning capitlal, Bogota.

A kaleidoscope of people, colour and sights and smells to enjoy from the safety of the saddle, on roads without traffic.

Andean Trails’ owner Kathy Jarvis describes her recent, Colombia bike tour, part of our new Colombia Highlights holiday.

 

She writes:

“Being in Bogota on a Sunday is something of a revelation.

From 0700 to 1400 each and every Sunday, over 120 km of road are closed to motorised traffic.

Between one and two million people (out of 7.5 million that live in the city) get out and enjoy the space – on bikes, roller skates, skateboards, running, or just walking and often with dogs in tow.

This has been going on for nearly 40 years since a bunch of students protested at the lack of city space for people – not vehicles – and the city council decided to do something about it.

Our guide turned up early, just as we finished breakfast at our hotel, in the heart of the Candelaria district. He brought bikes for our small group, three adults and a seven-year-old. We started off with a short ride through the, still sleeping, colonial streets.

 

Drink stop for road cyclists Colombia

Drink stop for road cyclists, Colombia

 

Bohemian and bouncing

Candelaria is the bohemian part of town with narrow cobbled streets and colourful old buildings. The remnants of Saturday night partying litters the streets.

Informal gatherings of musicians, open area theatre and poetry recitals take place in the evenings in the tree-lined squares where young folks gather. Small cafes, bars and restaurants and loud salsa music bring the neighbourhood to life and political graffiti brightens every corner.

We make a short stop at a pigeon filled Bolivar square, historically important but austere, the cathedral, Parliament and Palace of Justice dominating – the latter only rebuilt after being destroyed by the army in the 1980s when storming the building as it was held by the M19 rebel group.

 

Helping hands

It’s hard to believe the troubles here were so recent, it feels very developed and very safe.

We’re keen to join the thousands of cyclists whizzing past.  Well-trained volunteers help at junctions – stopping cyclists so traffic can cross. The ride is easy.

I’ve never seen so many people of all shapes, sizes and ages on bikes in city streets. It’s phenomenal, and there is a surprising lack of collisions.

From serious Lycra-clad speedsters on high-priced carbon racing bikes to large families on city bikes and even odd tricycle contraptions that are free for anyone to borrow – anything goes.

 

Final destination 

Exotic fruit stalls and pop up coffee bars line the roadside, so there’s plenty of opportunity for a second breakfast or a caffeine top-up and the stallholders are happy to chat.

Our destination is the north end of the city, the pretty colonial neighbourhood of Usaquen, where we watch buskers, snack on ice-cream and arepas (typical stuffed maize pancakes) and shelter from a sudden downpour while browsing a craft market.

At a break in the clouds we head back out into the cycle buzz and in some welcome sunshine retrace our steps to Candelaria.

 

NOTE: Andean Trails can organise this tour, contact us.

We also arrange other and city cycle tours in Lima and Buenos Aires. both cities with some cycle lanes and  surprisingly quiet roads.

Sunday mornings are a good time to explore cities by bike.

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