Out of place in Ciclovia

Sunday Ciclovia in Bogota
Sunday Ciclovia in Bogota

Bogota is blessing us with continued beautiful summery weather, which makes Sunday Ciclovia even more enticing for people, although today I felt rather out of place.

You see Ciclovia has a dress code. Ciclovia activities – walking, running, bike riding, rollerblading, skateboarding – are all categorised as sports, so you must wear sportsgear. It is expected that you will be decked out head to toe in matching attire. Your runners will match the colours in your lycra leggings and the top you wear. Anything else is not acceptable. Like, for example, my outfit of denim shorts, singlet and thongs (the Australian definition).

A couple of weeks ago I got incredibly burnt on the Ciclovia (even despite sunscreen applications). The backs of my hands were red for days and I still have a very pronounced t-shirt line. I didn’t want to get burnt today, but I wanted to spend some time outside, so my idea was to ride to a nearby park where we could buy a coffee and sit and relax (in the shade) outside on the grass. While the boys took a soccer ball and frisbee along, I had a book with me. Hardly categorising as a sweat-raising sport for me.

Edwin gave me funny looks when I refused to put sneakers on and when I didn’t pull out the lycra leggings. He tried to reinforce that we were going to Ciclovia, his stress on the words confirming the association between Ciclovia and sports. He still didn’t get it when I said that my bike was a mode of transport to get me to our destination of the park.

As I cruised along on my non-sporty bike with a non-sporty hat on, I was surrounded by Bogotanos who clearly haven’t understood that the weather is hot as they were riding and running in long pants and long-sleeved sports zip ups. I sat tall in my seat, soaking it all in and received a passing remark from another cyclist who said “You look very elegant riding with that hat on.”

It made me wonder if one of the barriers to more Bogotanos using bikes to get to work and other places is because the bike is seen as a sporting accessory, not as a mode of transport.



The evolution of the wheel

I’m completely amazed. Walking out of work today I saw a guy pass by riding a wheel. A wheel!

So astonished was I that there is no photographic proof that man has progressed from the creation of the turning wheel to riding the wheel itself.

The wheel is like a unicycle crossed with a Segway, and about the same size as that of a unicycle or foldable bike wheel. Either side of the tyre are footholds to stand on, but there are no handlebars to steer. And it magically glides along the footpath.

My jaw dropped open. I looked around to see if I was the only person to witness this strange apparition on this new invention. A brief thought flitted through my mind “have I just travelled through time?”.

After recovering from witnessing this miracle I got to thinking – will we one day be teaching our kids to ride a wheel, not a bicycle? How far will we continue to advance in my lifetime?

It looked like a tricky business, but the guy made it seem effortless, and (hat’s off to him) he was wearing a helmet, which is good to see that he practices responsible wheeling.

Is ‘wheeling’ a new thing, or am I just one of the last to be surprised by this mode of transport?