Ciclovía is a Spanish term meaning “cycleway”. All Car Free Days around the world take their inspiration from the Ciclovía, which started in Colombia. Bogota led the way in 1974. Medellín started its Ciclovía in 1984.
The Ciclovía in Medellín operates every Sunday, and now covers over 65km of streets across many city neighbourhoods. Notice how long most of the streets are closed.
We walked the 200 metres from our apartment to Avenue El Poblado. One of the roads that is closed for the Ciclovía.
We were greeted with walkers, joggers and cyclists. There is one thing to note from the photograph above. Almost every road in Medellin is either uphill or downhill.
We walked 2.4 kilometres along Avenue El Poblado before retracing our steps.
This is the profile of those 2.4 kilometers.
There is perhaps 100 metres out of the 2.4 kilometers that you can describe as flat. Look in any direction and the road is either rising or falling.
This is Calle 1. It comes downhill from the east, crosses Avenue El Poblado, and continues westward downhill on the other side.
The constant uphill and downhill explains why almost all the cyclists I saw, and I saw many, were on MTBs.
Speaking of road crossings, every junction along Avenue El Poblado was manned by one or two marshals in uniform. Their job was to ensure everyone stopped when the traffic lights gave the right of way to vehicles crossing the avenue.
We passed a few bicycle shops. This was the biggest. No road bikes were on display.
There is lots of street art to see. Street art in all shapes and sizes. This is one of twelve life-size fibreglass cows which were decorated by Medellín artists for the CowParade, which came to the city in 2019.
CowParade is the largest and most successful public art event in the world. CowParade events have been staged in more than eighty cities worldwide since 1999.
Medellín is nicknamed “The City of Eternal Spring.” It was 17ºC / 63ºF while we were walking at mid-morning. The average year-round temperature is 22.5ºC / 72.5ºF. Great cycling weather – if it wasn’t so hilly 🤯.
Along with the cool temperatures comes an annual average rainfall of 1,752mm / 69 inches. Which makes Medellín a very lush and green place.
There are lots of activities along the Avenue El Poblado during the Ciclovía. People set up stalls selling food and drink.
These came from the stall pictured on the right.
The drink / snack on the left was a mixture of banana, watermelon, apple, pineapple, mango, papaya and thinly sliced lime peel. Delicious.
That stall was also selling what looked suspiciously like kueh goyang / kueh rose. You can see them in plastic bags on the red and white cloth. We are going to buy some next Sunday.
Music is everywhere along the Avenue El Poblado.
There is also a Mercado Campesinos (Farmers Market) where vendors sell handicrafts, fresh fruit and vegetables, and hot snacks.
We plan to walk along the Ciclovía streets every Sunday. Especially as there are lots of cafés along the way that serve delicious desayunos (breakfasts).
However, you won’t be seeing me lining up for this on Sunday 24th April.
I’ll be happy to host you in Medellín if you decide to participate 😄