Posted by Natalie Dalton on Nov 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Night-time bike ride shows different side of Medellin

siclas colombia news

A weekly night-time bike tour has taken Medellin by storm, attracting long-time bicycle fanatics, beginners, tourists, and those curious to see the city from a two wheeled perspective.

SiClas is an event where at least 100 cyclists gather on Wednesday nights, 7PM, at Carlos E. Restrepo plaza, nestled between bohemian housing units and the renowned Piloto library, to set out and see the city on their bikes. Each week offers a different route, new destinations, and fantastic views of the city illuminated at night.

The energy and festivity of the get-together is highly contagious, and most who attend once just to try it out end up coming back every week. As the group wheels through the streets of Medellin blowing whistles, ringing bells, and chanting cheers like “Mas amor! Menos motor! Por la carreterra!” (More love! Less cars! Take to the streets!) onlookers are entranced and can’t help but cheer along with the group.

Riding a bicycle in a city as bustling as Medellin can often be intimidating, as avoiding vehicles and destroyed roadways is a constant concern, but the dynamic of riding along with a large group and setting out to see parts of the city that often wouldn’t be recommended for a solo night ride is thrilling and extremely rewarding.

The group is very supportive of newcomers and friendships are fused quickly, as everyone is in support of the event and the idea of utilizing bicycles as a means of transportation and recreation

For tourists in Medellin curious to partake in SiClas the group extends the invitation to join in the weekly fun. “For foreigners the basics are to know how to ride a bicycle and arrive at the meeting point in Carlos E. Restrepo, and from there and forward the friendship continues to advance, it’s permanent and grows all by itself,” described one of SiClas co-founders.

For those who don’t have a bicycle of their own, it’s easy to network at the meet-up, or their online Facebook group, in order to find a bike to borrow, rent, or buy.

The success and growth of the group is highly dependent on it’s motivated group of supporters, who are responsible for planning the weekly routes, reaching out to new participants, and publishing SiClas related information online.

Jorge Ivan Ballesteros Toros, a co-founder of SiClas, described the group’s success as being owed to their “persistence and passion for constantly promoting the use of bicycles.”

He explained that “every week we are preparing for the SiClas tour, organizing logistics, and working on the route; it’s been stronger than a work group, it’s a permanent job, a group that works together… this is what fuels the movement.”

SiClas has just recently celebrated their one year anniversary on September 22, 2011, a year in which the group has grown immensely since it’s first routes around Medellin in 2010. Last Wednesday, on a Halloween-themed bicycle tour, the group reached record size of 190 persons.

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