Thursday, 07 May 2009 16:16

Ciclovia Bicycling & Latin Fun in Downtown Clearwater Featured

Written by  by Heidi Lux
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Latin performers at Ciclovía - Photo by Simaen SkolfieldCleveland St. District, Clearwater

Ciclovía – it means “bike path” in Spanish – but in Clearwater, it means FUN! On Sunday, April 26th, from 8am to 2pm, two miles of Cleveland Street were closed off and declared a “no car zone.” From Coachman Park all the way up to Highland Avenue, bicyclists could be seen riding in the middle of an empty street.

Ciclovía was an event everyone could enjoy. There were bikes of all different varieties, including a bicycle build for two and even a unicycle. Families were out and about, bike enthusiasts rode in their spandex suits, and then there were people like me, who haven’t been on a bicycle since they were twelve. Even those who didn’t bike at all were included in Ciclovía, and the Clearwater Community Volunteers offered rides on their signature trackless train up and down Cleveland Street, while many took to good, old-fashioned walking.

I found my first time back on a bike to be exhilarating. Pedaling my editor’s bike in the middle of the street was a treat, getting to do something that wasn’t ordinarily permitted. I felt an excitement while coasting down the hill leading to Coachman Park, admiring the scenic view of the Harbor with the wind blowing in my face.

The purpose of Ciclovía is to promote physical activity and health, as well as nurture the sense of community. As part of that, free exercise classes were held in three different locations, one of which was the newly-opened Station Square Park. Each location rotated classes of Zumba, Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Stretch. Additionally, each location had a cooler set up, providing refreshing water. I attended the Zumba class in Station Square Park taught by Debbie Raines, where we learned samba, cha cha and meringue in the fresh open air. 

Lining the street were vendors, many from bicycling stores such as Chainwheel Drive and Clearwater Cycles, as well as businesses catering to the health-conscious, such as the Nedd Health Center and Nature’s Food Patch. The organization Create Clearwater gave out banana bread and taught people how to make an instant garden in a container box, while promoting the need for a community garden in Clearwater.

Ciclovía events are held all over the world, the largest being in Bogota, Columbia, where Ciclovía originated in 1976. The movement has since spread across the world to cities such as London, Paris, New York, Chicago, and now Clearwater.

All in all, Ciclovía was a very pleasant experience. It was an excellent use of the City space, and while relaxing, it inspired me into getting four hours of wonderful exercise!

Read 958 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 May 2009 17:02