Bikes for the World

Monday, August 8, 2016

Yo Amo Chepe

Las calles no son solo para los carros... hoy las calles de Tres Ríos se llenaron de cletas!

This past Sunday cyclists took over the streets of San Jose, Costa Rica. By the hundreds. To bring awareness to this growing popular past time.

Cycling is undergoing a transformation in Costa Rica, especially downtown. More people are recognizing it as a relaxing, healthy activity to be enjoyed, not just a means of transportation for the poor.

Luis (FINCA CR), Keith, Yvette, and Kaila (BfW), and Roberto (Chepecletas)
When Bikes for the World visited Costa Rica in 2014, we met with the Director of Costa Rica's popular bike advocacy group Chepecletas based in the center of bustling San Jose.

Roberto Guzman is championing for 'Cletas' to make the roads safer by increasing the number of bikes on city streets.

Chepecletas works like our beloved WABA here in the DC area. They sponsor group rides, preach about safety for cyclist to cyclists, motorists, and to government officials, and work to bring better cycling conditions and laws to the city.

BfW touring San Jose via bicicleta
Guzman studies infrastructure around the world. He looks at what works and what doesn't and he tries to introduce that around Costa Rica.

Says Guzman, "Biking is not just for poor people, it's for everyone," something Chepecletas hopes to change about attitudes toward cycling. And by the look of Sunday's ride, it's working.

It's not uncommon to see laborers using bikes for work, to haul heavy loads or ferry produce to market. Day laborers commute into the city daily for work. Moms and kids use bikes for errands and to get to school. And for the most part, the roads are safe in these rural communities. Traffic is calm and there aren't many cars.

But Costa Rica is starting to seeing health enthusiasts grab a bike and roll. And nothing makes Guzman happier.

And nothing makes the work of Chepecletas more important. Guzman's passion is to get more people on bikes; his mission is to make the roads safer for them. Costa Rica has been slowly adding ciclovias to the city infrastructure. Ciclovias make up a network of bikeways that web throughout the city. Right now they are short and scattered, but popular and well used.

Bikes for the World donates thousands of bikes to Costa Rica through FINCA Costa Rica's MiBici program. Most of our 24,000 plus bikes donated over the years have been spread across the country in small communities that need bikes for their livelihood.

We also support Chepecletas and are proud to be part of their advocacy work. For anyone needing a bike during a group ride, Chepecletas may be loaning out YOUR old road bike or three speed. And they require helmets on their rides, day or night.

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