Don’t even get me started on the inexplicable night-time ciclovia, I promised myself that this wouldn’t end up as a rant and so I must direct my attentions back to my next Bogotá Stereotype, No 2 the Bicinazi.
It’s a tough one to call, and I am wary of the term Bicinazi, but in the end it’s a simple adaptation of the terminology used to ably depict those skateboard nazis found in supermarket car parks, on London’s South Bank and beneath overpasses or in the vast expanses of paved North American suburbs. Indeed, it’s also a capable follow-up to the snowboard nazi of your ski slopes, the ones unable to stick to the half-pipe constructed specifically for their sport and who have to carve through your path slicing open the piste.
There may be no better way to enjoy Bogotá than to take out a bicycle on the Sunday Ciclovia and explore the city’s thoroughfares but beware of the Bicinazi. And here I must extrapolate, there is no one version of the Bogotá Bicinazi but several categories and even, I should dare to venture, subcategories because you can encounter many of them on a daily basis.
1. The Hipster: Charmless folk seated on a fixie hiding behind facial hair, dark glasses and a fashionable bike helmet, insistent on cycling to work along the cicloruta on the Carrera 15 just south of the Centro Andino. Probably live at home or in shared accommodation in Teusaquillo, Parkway and Chapinero and genuinely believe that he/she is doing their bit for the environment by eschewing public transport. Final standard procedure, a whistle firmly clamped between their teeth to ward off anyone in their path.
Works: Design, TV Production, Media.
Found: Not enjoying the Sunday Ciclovia as cycling is for a purpose.
Curious fact: Have a Penalosa campaign sticker on their car window.
2. The Southsider: As to be expected, from southern Bogotá and below the socioeconomic divide or one of Bogota’s versions of the Delmar Divide, the Calle de los Comuneros. Only found during the Sunday Ciclovia, whistling and weaving at breakneck speeds through Chapinero into the Centro in packs of five to six adolescents (one girl and the rest boys). Dressed in zipped tops billowing open and on low slung bikes with poor brakes.
Found: pointing at antiquated buildings around the Calle 69 and asking if they belong to the President (true story).
Curious fact: sometimes equipped with sound systems on the handlebars to add “ambiance”.
3. The Official Athlete: Belonging to a legally constituted cycling club these individuals are decked up appropriately in the correct cycling garb, may or may not be retired and found cycling a loop through the Calera and towns beyond and back into Bogotá. As they descend into Bogotá en masse and sporting not a gram of fat and enter at the Calle 85, they expect to be applauded for being Nairo before Nairo was himself. Once down into the Ciclovia, expect these guys to open their shirts, remove their hands from the handlebars and coast in groups three wide along the Septima.
Found: Blocking the North to South lane of the Sunday Ciclovia between Calles 84 and 85 where the bike technicians have set up shop.
Curious fact: wonders why everyone doesn’t love cycling. Consider themsleves the original purists for the sport.
4. The Bike Courier: There are the messengers and those delivering goods on those heavy-set darkly painted versions of two-wheeled fork lift trucks usually shifting large sweaty bags of plantains. There is no better example of the bike courier than this piece in the Bogotá Post, so for an insight into how to ride against traffic, skip across a highway and across the grassy knoll, read on here!
Found: Anywhere and everywhere but usually not on the cicloruta, possibly blocking pedestrian traffic on the other side of the road on the Cra 11, 15 and beyond.
Curious fact: hates pedestrians, other cyclists, vehicles and anything else.
And there you have it, a brief glimpse at the Bogotá Stereotype No 2, the Bicinazi, represented here in various transformations. Surely there are more examples so please feel free to add and comment.
If you liked this, you may enjoy the entry on Bogotá Stereotype No1, the Oficinista.