a transportation choice.”
The ride has also attracted bicycle enthusiasts from el otro lado, the other side. Members of various cycling groups in San Diego head south and join the hundreds of bikers ready to socialize, learn new routes, see the city from the saddle and roam the city at night while perhaps checking out a new taco stand recommended by a local.
Tijuana has a variety of multiple weekly rides, weekend gatherings and monthly rides and events throughout town. A phase of 3-4 years of violence (2007-2010) has significantly slowed down and community activities have rapidly been on the rise and gaining momentum, becoming popular for all kinds of bike enthusiasts. There is a group called Los Extreme and they ride anywhere between 30-50 kilometers on any given weeknight ride, there is a ladies ride on Monday nights where you can find all kinds of cute outfits, fun people and ladies showing off their flirty shoes. Each district and neighborhood seems to have their own ride between the eastbound Otay neighborhood to Playas de Tijuana.
In the last few years the bike population has slowly grown and become a part of family activities, youth and exercise enthusiasts. Besides various rides, bicycle fanatics often have the need to gather at not only bike shops and on the road, but a place where they can relate to other riders, drink coffee perhaps and socialize. Two of the newest local business in the Zona Centro are owned by young business men: Bici Estación/Tijuana Bike Tours and BICA Bikes & Coffee.
Talking to Arturo Viazcan is like having a conversation with an old friend, even if you have just met. He is well known in the bicycle community in Tijuana, has met people all over San Diego and the south of Mexico as well as a few co-founders of Critical Mass in San Francisco. It is hard to miss that his positive and mellow attitude towards promoting the use of bicycle comes through across town.
In his mind, he wanted to open a space where people could gather together to use tools and share information—this is how Tijuana Bike Tours was born. “This is a way for people to come and hang out, work on their bikes, and the way we will pay the rent for the space will be to have these bike tours, so people can rent the bikes and get to know the city on wheels. Here you can find friends, rent bikes at modest prices, maps, tips, t-shirts and soon coffee and refreshments.”
Bici Estación officially opened their doors this past May and the yellow bikes can be seen throughout Tijuana along with the groups participating in the tours they offer.
“People were not so used to think about having different options asides getting around by car. We would like to promote that it is possible to get places on a bicycle. The response from traffic, from people in cars is that they are usually happy to see us, they yield and they seem to be pretty supportive.”
After 9/11 the average American tourist numbers in the downtown district dramatically declined and little by little the locals have regained and have started to promote their city with pride, participating in local events taking place in the downtown region, where the local tourism was invisible next to the American crowds. “Before 9/11 the discos and bars would not even let you in if you were a local, recently that has