Bogota’s CicloRutas


Bogota’s celebrated urban network of bikeways, when you look at the latticework map, picturing the loops and outs and backs, the commute or ways out, it stuns with forward thinking audacity. The reality more in every equivocation: lay two point five meters wide asphalt or maybe just paint lines on requisitioned canted chipped sidewalks, through urban density in all of its vaulting mosaic ugly and cracked or glory, every shit hood or avenida historico every alongside diesel concussive truck grind highway, edging parks as much as industrial barbed wire detonation zone.

Within ten minutes we’re riding walking pace, street vendors set up on the tiled pedestrian way so the coagulate crowd limps strolls pushes hand trucks ambles stepping on the painted bike symbol, we weave through. Picture paths conceived with a Marxist sense of utility, end result both noble and not the same as it sounded theorized. Highway crossings with no go signs encouraging courage, scare pigeons and buskers angling through a cathedral square, we need to be there where? there so shoulder the bikes to climb pedestrian overpasses tailpipe to headlight churning eight traffic lanes below.

Late afternoon, a kind of pith helmet on that one, swarming bmx bikes with guys that always look too big, preying mantis on a matchstick toy, 100 lbs. cargo bikes, a dignified old man on an old Italian road bike, his jersey pockets overfull and face determined, a university student with her backpack full holding her own. A grandfather on a Brompton not able to keep up with his also kids wheels grandchildren, he calls after them to take care.

Our throats raw from the urban haze, geiger counter nerves to radioactive intersections, shiver in the started drizzle. We see some of here not just in its tidied tourist center facades, but as it’s blight, happy, transformative, chaotic, lovely lived. Grin, the CicloRutas succeed.