One plush Sunday morning in La Condesa neighborhood, Mexico City, my family of four hopped on bicicletas and rolled down to the corner of our tree-lined street, rode a block to the right, and came to an intersection occupied by a special tent and a team of bike helpers. Feeling deflated? They got you. Need a spokes-person? Bike tools and expertise await. From here we were tapped into 35 miles of closed roads and safe bicycle passage through Mexico City.
This happens every Sunday in Mexico City.
We rolled through neighborhoods and were periodically stopped at intersections by helpers with little stop signs. Many of them pulled out megaphones and rattled off bicycle safety speeches before the light changed. Then they waved us along, imploring us to have “un día excelente!”
We rode up to the main drag, Paseo de la reforma, circled fountains and statues, zipped around rollerbladers, and cruised without problem.
The fact that a megalopolis of 21 plus million with a history of “creative” (digamos) driving can pull this off blows my mind. In the Bay Area there is occasionally a “Sunday Streets” event where a few blocks are closed off in Berkeley or San Francisco, and it’s great, but it always feels like such a novelty, and if you miss it, you miss it. This is clear, exciting proof we can do much, much better.
After a long cruise down Paseo de la reforma, we rolled up in front of el Palacio de Bellas Artes. From there, it was an easy roll to the main Zócalo itself, again filled with soccer fans, where we happened to arrive in time to watch on the big screen as the Russians knocked Spain out of the Copa Mundial with penalty kicks.
Our final stretch took us all the way back up Reforma to beautiful Chapultepec Park and where we strolled through the song of the venders and rode back to our neighborhood to complete a great day on two wheels.