Sunday, August 14, 2011

Viva Streets: a Denver ciclovia

The girl knows what she likes, and she likes car-free streets.
Ciclovia means bike path in Spanish. However, another meaning of ciclovia is an event that occurs due to the temporary closure of a street to motorized traffic, often between two parks, so that people can explore and celebrate their city a car-free manner. This definition of ciclovia manifested in Bogota, Colombia several years ago, and has spread to numerous cities around the world ever since. Today, Denver held its first ciclovia called "Viva Streets" along 23rd Avenue between City Park and Stapleton.
A couple of miles worth of people enjoying where they live under their own power.
Exploring new neighborhoods and public art is always fun.
It was terrific to see so many people out enjoying the Park Hill neighborhood. However, the festivities weren't limited to humans, as we saw dogs, cats, chickens and even a parrot out and about. A stretch of a couple of miles of 23rd Avenue was closed to cars, encompassing many restaurants and commercial districts, several food trucks, a few parks and impromptu stops of all types.
Dexter and 23rd was a very popular source for food, drink and people watching.
LiveWell Colorado and BikeDenver teamed up to bring the event to the city, and The Park Hill Bike Depot played a prominent role as neighborhood host. Each of these three organizations deserves all the accolades and support that you can muster.
The queen of the bike rodeo receives instructions.
Bikes of all shapes and sizes were constant fun to look at, especially for someone like me.
One of the few vehicles larger than the Big Dummy allowed on the street during Viva Streets.
We were fortunate enough to see many of our friends along the way. I met M of MandG, proprietors of the Biking and Baking blog, which covers one of the best combinations of two great things. We also met up with our friend and Park Hill denizen Tracy, aka Fixed Gal, of I Like Bikes fame. Tracy let my daughter try out her snazzy new Robin's Egg Blue  Surly Cross-Check for size. Unfortunately, it'll be a while before she's able to fit a Surly of any type, except for the back seat of the Big Dummy.
Testing out Tracy's fancy blue Cross-Check. Just a few more inches. Sure looks fast though.
The co-pilot's seat of the Big Dummy fits just right.
We hung out with Tracy on a playground, trying out some of the equipment, then she accompanied us for a second run through the bike rodeo at her request. Tracy is quicker than I am, and had coverage of the bike rodeo performance up before I did. Cool photos, Tracy!
The starting lineup for the snail race.
At the end of our Viva Streets experience, we stopped by the Denver B-cycle booth to see some more friends and to check out a couple of B-cycles of unfamiliar colors. We also enjoyed a little time with Ben and his canine pal Henry, a remarkably patient and mellow little dog.
Red, blue and gray, each from a different city. Personally, I'd also like to see a nice grassy green. Maybe a mustard yellow too.
Ben and Henry check out the Big Dummy.
We made a quick stop at the People for Bikes booth and she won a water bottle and some stickers. You should sign the people for bikes pledge if you haven't already.

Finally, we stopped off at the fountain at the southwest corner of City Park to stick our hot feet in some cool water, before heading for home.
A little slimy on the bottom, but nice and cool.
Celebratory dance at the fountain.
I'm not in a position to know, but if I had to guess, I'd say Denver's first ciclovia was a huge success. Hopefully this means there will be more like it in the future. Congratulations and thanks to all the organizations and volunteers who worked so hard to make it happen.

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