This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of getting to participate in the very first Cyclovia Tucson! The Tuscon Cyclovia is part of the Tucson Bike Fest, which takes place throughout the month of April and includes Bike-To-Work Week, a bike commuter challenge, a bike swap, and many other great events. The Tucson Bike Fest is an annual celebration of bicycle transportation, and the hallmark event of the Bike Fest this year was the Tucson Cyclovia. Tucson Bike Fest and the Tucson Cyclovia are two incredible events that really demonstrate the support for and importance of livable, usable streets. And in a state like Arizona, with such a backwards approach to transit, perhaps there is some hope after all, given the success of the two events.
What is Cyclovia?
Cyclovia comes from the Spanish word ciclova, which literally translates to “bike path”. However, the word cyclovia has spread worldwide under the common usage of a temporary event during which certain streets are closed to automobile traffic and set aside for bicycle, pedestrian, and other non-motorized uses. A cyclovia is not a parade; it is not a race; it is simply an opportunity for people to come out and enjoy the streets with friends and family.
Cyclovias take place all around the world, but Bogot¡, Colombia is really credited with being the first city to host such an event. In Bogot¡, there is a weekly cyclovia every Sunday from 7am to 2pm, during which time people enjoy the streets and each other. There are also many booths and activities set up around the city, including aerobics classes, music performances, and more. The Tucson Cyclovia was no different, and I saw everything from a bike shop to a solar oven business to a spin bike competition set up around the Cyclovia course.
The video below from Streetfilms documents the Bogot¡ Cyclovia, and it helps one get a great sense of the scope of the event there.
The Tucson Cyclovia was absolutely a blast, and from what I could tell, everyone was having fun! I cruised around endlessly, chatting with people at booths around the track and people walking and riding and enjoying the carfree streets. There were tons of families out cycling together, kids on bikes, adults on bikes, decorated bikes, people pulling bike trailers, people on tall bikes, people on decorated bikes, skateboarders, runners, walkers, BMX riders, and everything in between! Check out Tucson Velo for some great reports and coverage of the event. Meanwhile, if you are on Facebook check out the Tucson Cyclovia page, and for tweeters, Tucson Cyclovia is on Twitter, as well. And be sure to check out CycloviaTucson.org.
A map of the closed streets. Click for a better version.
Below, I have posted a short photo essay of the day. Enjoy!
Bike safety checks from BICAS.
Crowds wait for the Tucson Bike Beautiful parade.
Musicians cruise along at the end of the day in a pedicab.