Ciclovias Are Opening Up Cities to People Around the Globe

Ciclovias, or open streets events, invite city residents to walk, cycle, in-line skate and celebrate on car-free urban streets.

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Ciclovia Tucson

All ages enjoy Ciclovia Tucson.

Ciclovias, also known as Open Street events, are opening up cities to people around the globe. These events attract thousands – even millions – of people and demonstrate what a truly livable city can look like. By closing major routes to motorized vehicles, these events allow residents and visitors to experience cities in active and vibrant ways. Whether you choose to bike, inline skate, walk, or simply sit and lounge, there is something for everyone.

Ciclovias began in Bogotá, Colombia in 1974. Every sunday, major downtown routes are closed to vehicle traffic between 7 am until 2 pm. In a highly stratified city, the Ciclovia is one of the few events where high-income and low-income residents share the same space and socialize on equal footing. The weekly event attracts up to 4 million people, and has become such a popular and integral part of life in Bogotá that its influence has spread globally. Open Streets events have since popped up all over the world, from Miami, Florida to Bangalore, India to Auckland, New Zealand, city planners and organizers are recognizing the numerous benefits to the community of having safe, fun, car-free streets events.

We’ve profiled six of these great events below, stay tuned for more, and don’t miss our Ciclovia photo contest and sweepstakes at the bottom of the article!

Bogotá, Colombia

76 miles (121 km)
Sundays, 7 am to 2 pm

Bogotá’s event is the largest and oldest Ciclovía in the world. In a highly stratified society, Ciclovía is one of the few places where poor people and rich people meet on equal footing and socialize. Attracting up to 4 million people, this weekly open street event is an established tradition in the city. Ride for as long as you want or stop for some local local treats along the route.

Where to stay

82hostel with mostly double rooms offers guided bike tours on Sunday and bikes for rent any day of the week. Stay at the hip Click Clack Hotel for the boisterous rooftop bar and rental bikes.

Where to get a bike

Bogotravel Tours rents bicycles in front of the Hilton every Sunday and from their downtown office throughout the week.

See more by bike

Bogotravel Tours offers 4-hour guided tours twice daily.

Mexico City, Mexico

30 miles (48 km) Sundays, 8 am to 2 pm

Muévete en Bici is the fifth largest carfree event in Latin America and has attracted over 4 million people to explore 30 miles (48 km) of open streets. What initially started as a 6-mile (10 km) route in 2007 has rapidly expanded to include main avenues across the city and has become a weekly event credited with helping shift transportation priorities in Mexico City.

Where to stay

Mexico City Marriott Reforma Hotel is located on the ciclovia route and has loaner bicycles for guests.

Where to get a bike

The city’s bike share EcoBici is a popular choice for participants.

See more by bike

Mexico Bike Tour takes riders on a 4-hour tour through some of the city’s parks, avenues, and shopping districts.

New York, New York

7 miles (11 km) | August 2, 9, & 16, 2015, 7 am to 1 pm

Called a combination bike tour, walking tour, and block party, New York City’s Summer Streets features musical performances, food vendors, a climbing wall, art installations, a zip line, and other events including salsa dance classes. The Summer Streets route takes you from the Brooklyn Bridge in the south heading north on Lafayette Street and Park Avenue, and terminating at Central Park.

Where to stay: lists 70 Park Avenue right on the route along with several other nearby bike-friendly accommodations.

Where to get a bike:

New York’s now ubiquitous Citi Bike bike share stations can be found throughout Manhattan. For longer term rentals check out any of the Bike and Roll New York City locations.

See New York by bike:

Bike and Roll New York City offers a variety of 2-3 hour guided tours. Discover Brooklyn on a Get Up and Ride tour.

Ottawa, Ontario

31 miles (50 km) discontinuous.
Sunday mornings, 9 am to 1 pm, May to September

Started in 1970, Ottawa’s Sunday Bikedays closes scenic parkways to cars and open them to people on bikes, runners, and inline skaters. The routes opened by the National Capital Commission represent over 31 miles (50 km) of car-free park paths across Ottawa and Gatineau Park. In Ottawa, three routes let you explore the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The route in Gatineau Park is for early risers looking for a longer ride. Here the closure to cars runs from 6 am to 11 am and opens up 17 miles (27 km) of scenic parkways.

Where to stay

The Residence Inn by Marriott Ottawa is located on Laurier Avenue’s protected bike lane in the heart of downtown and provides bicycle storage. For a unique experience, the HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel is housed in the 150-year-old former Carleton County Gaol.

Where to get a bike

Right Bike is a community run bike share with distinctive purple bikes and cargo bikes for rent. RentABike in a unique adapted railway tunnel under Rideau Street offers a range of bicycle styles including tandems.

See Ottawa by bike

Ottawa Cycling Tours and Escape Bicycle Tours each offer a variety of guided tours around the city and beyond.

Portland, Oregon

Routes vary from 7-9.5 miles (11-15 km) One Sunday a month, May to September, 11 am to 4 pm

Sunday Parkways highlight a different area of Portland during each event. Opened circuit routes go through a different neighborhood each month. The event features family fun activities, food, music, and celebrations. By opening the city’s most abundant public spaces – the streets – residents and visitors are brought together to celebrate pride in the city and fun through activity.

Where to stay

Portland local Joshua Samuel Brown suggests the European vibe of the Mark Spencer Hotel or the Jupiter Hotel across the river in Portland’s hipster quarter.

Where to get a bike

Cycle Portland Bike Tours in Old Town as well as Pedal Bike Tours offer a variety of rentals.

See Portland by bike

Explore the food truck scene with Pedal Bike Tours Oregon or sample from local brewers with Cycle Portland Bike Tours.

Tucson, AZ

Route varies by event November 1, 2015, 10 am to 3 pm

Founded in 2010, this popular biannual Open Streets event (the first hosted in April) is an invitation to residents and visitors to enjoy Tucson in a carefree, car-free environment. Drawing crowds of more than 10,000 people the event features dozens of free activities – live music, DJs, and other entertainment – providing a little bit of something for everyone.

Where to stay

Check out hacienda-style accommodations at Lodge on the Desert, Arizona Inn’s historic hotel comprising of a collection of traditional casitas, or The Hotel Congress, home to a great music venue and bar.

Where to get a bike

Cycle Tucson will deliver and pick up rental bikes.

See Tucson by bike

Tucson Bike Tours offers 3 to 3.5-hour bicycle tours through Tucson’s historic neighborhoods.

Momentum Mag is a huge fan of Ciclovias, also known as Open Street events. By closing major routes to motorized vehicles, these events allow residents and visitors to experience cities in active and vibrant ways. Since we can’t attend them all we want to see photos of an Open Street event you took part in. Just upload a photo of an Open Street event you attended and use the hashtag #MyOpenStreets.

Using that hashtag will automatically enter your photo into the Cicolvia Photo Sweepstakes. You can also upload your photo and be entered to win here.


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