Like any big city, Medellin’s traffic has quite a reputation. Every day thousands of vehicles weave through the hills.
The hustle and bustle of people traveling to work, tourists exploring the city, and taxis mean the roads are busy. Really busy!
In fact, there’s so much traffic the government has restricted how many cars can enter the city and be on the roads daily. Even with this initiative, the streets can still be chaotic and a little dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.
So, every Sunday, one of the city’s busiest roads is blocked off to motorists, and cyclists and pedestrians take to the streets instead!
Medellin already has a vibrant fitness scene. However, there is a push to get even more people out of their cars and exercising through the street.
What is Ciclovía?
Originating in Bogota in 1976, the initiative was adopted by Medellin’s local council to encourage residents to engage in a healthy lifestyle.
The idea is to trigger a culture of sports and physical activity across the city. Here, sports can be accessible to all. The space is available for anyone for any kind of physical activity.
The route is along Carrera 43 and stretches from El Centro to the city’s south in Envigado. There is no specific meet-up point; you just join anywhere along the path and start exercising without the interruption of traffic.
Ciclovía has been operating for 32 years in Medellin and is enjoyed by many in the city.
What can you do?
The word itself refers to biking; however, during Ciclovía, you can do anything that is fitness related.
This includes running, skating, jogging, skateboarding, BMXing, and aerobics! In addition, along the path, you’ll find various fitness classes like yoga, Zumba, and dance classes along the route. These sessions usually take place in open spaces and are accessible to all ages.
The community comes out to enjoy the positive vibes and fresh air. Although there is an emphasis on exercise, it’s also a space for people to meet up with family and friends. Of course, dogs can join in on the action as well!
What are Conditions Like?
Hills. Hills. And more hills. Sitting at 1500 meters above sea level, Medellin’s mountainous terrain is hard to avoid.
The 60km of exercise space is made a little more challenging for runners and cyclists due to its steep inclines. So, although it’s a more strenuous workout, the downhill glides are utterly blissful, especially for skaters and cyclists.
Nicknamed the land of eternal spring, you can count on the city’s weather to be warm and sunny but rainy in the afternoon.
However, the likelihood of rain will depend on the time of year. April, May, October, and November are the rainiest months.
Although, you may just miss the afternoon showers as Sunday’s Ciclovía occurs in the mornings. Either way, It’s a good idea to pack a thin, waterproof jacket just in case.
Other Things to do?
The streets of Ciclovía are lined with vendors selling juices, light snacks, and local delicacies. It’s the perfect opportunity to catch your breath and take in some Paisa culture.
Along the route, there are mini stations where you can stop to get your bike fixed and buy new parts or accessories.
With a path that stretches from north to south of the city, you may stumble across some new parts of town.
Explore the farmers market at Poblado’s Parque Lineal La Presidenta, and wander around the charming Envigado neighborhood. This Medellin suburb is where the road closure ends. It’s a leafy residential barrio with plenty of cafes and boutiques to explore.
When and Where is it Held?
There are a few unofficial and official Ciclovías held throughout the week. Evening meet-ups are ideal for those who can’t make Sunday’s main event.
The largest and most accessible of the events, this Ciclovía is held during the morning, between 7 am and 1 pm, on Avenida Poblado.
Although the majority of the road is closed, there is no official starting point. So, you can join whenever on the route!
Held solely for cycling, these evening rides are held every Tuesday and Thursday on Avenida Regional. Starting at 8 pm, riders will meet at Jumbo Supermarket (Avenida Las Vegas) and finish the cycle at 10 pm at Puente de Barranquilla.
There are a few cycling groups dotted around the city. Taking place on Wednesday nights, Colectivo SiCLas is the biggest.
Cycling a different route every week, they hold fun-themed cycles, like their recent Halloween night ride.
Follow them on Instagram to keep up with dates, times, and locations.
Where to Buy a Bike?
Suppose you fancy joining a night ride but don’t own a bike; not to worry. Here’s where you can get one!