Mexico City’s Reforma Makes Way for Bikes on Sundays

Mexico City bike riders wait for the light on the car-free Reforma boulevard.
Mexico City bike riders wait for the light on the car-free Reforma boulevard.

When I come back from a trip, there is always a highlight…or as I like to say, the elevator story. That’s because most people when they ask you “How was your trip?” will only have time to listen to that one story, or about as long as an elevator ride. Many times that also turns out to be the lead or the main topic of my travel story, and from this trip to Mexico City I know exactly what it is.

On Sunday morning I woke up in the luxurious St. Regis hotel and looked out on to the Reforma, a massive city boulevard that pours traffic by like a river. It was silent. A few orange-vested cops directed traffic but they kept them from driving the big street, shunting them to the side. I walked out into the sunshine and picked out an Eco-bici, the rental bikes that the public can use, similar to many other cities.

In Mexico City, this program has been wildly popular, with 30,000 Chilangos already signed up, and more than 1200 bikes available. We saw men constructing another bike dispensing rack in the historic downtown area, and plans call for many more.

I had the bike, and then I rode. Alongside me down the big boulevard were parents with children on tiny bikes, 20-somethings pulling dogs on leashes, and a pair of men on a tandem bike. People had smiles on their faces as they waited for the volunteers to let them pass; one concession is that they do let the cars go through just not drive on the big street.

This was my nut graf, my elevator story, the best part of my trip. Experiencing the freedom of riding where cars dominate six other days of the week. You could tell my joy was shared by thousands of others, right up until 2 pm when they’d let the taxis, cars and trucks back on the Reforma.