One place that many of the alternative transportation advocates around the world look to is Bogota, Colombia where a revolution in transportation has occurred over the last ten years. In the face of major complaints of traffic congestion Former Mayor of Bogota, Enrique Penalosa made a critical decision to not widen roads, build more highways or otherwise facilitate automobiles. Instead, the local government implemented a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and opened a number of bicycle routes. They also started a system of Car-Free Sundays and Holidays to allow local residents to take back their streets and publis spaces from automobiles to enjoy for recreation.

The Streetfilms above shows how Ciclovia works and what the locals think about it and how it adds to their life.

Here's an description of the film from the maker, Clarence Eckerson Jr.:

On Sunday we spent the entire day - from 5 AM ’til nearly 5 PM - riding bicycles around the city courtesy of the Ciclovia, a weekly event in which over 70 miles of city streets are closed to traffic where residents come out to walk, bike, run, skate, recreate, picnic, and talk with family, neighbors & strangers…it is simply one of the most moving experiences I have had in my entire life.

I shot with no plan, not knowing much of what was coming up next while we rode our bikes, just trying to capture the event in the moment. We were aided tremendously by the indefatigable Gil Peñalosa, Executive Director of Walk and Bike for Life (yes, brother of Enrique, the former Bogotá mayor.) Gil and his friendly support crew booked us an ambitious schedule and provided unparalleled access to people and places, allowing this mini film to be so much more than I had planned. And dare I leave out our StreeJ Karla Q, who was just so great on the mike. I think we came up with something very special and fun that will hopefully support and propel this movement forward in U.S. cities.

Based on the success of this program in Bogata and the copying of this successful program in many other cities around the world, Portland, OR is moving forward with it's own plan in June next year.

I want to give these people a hug, because they get it. One can dream this may one day happen in car obsessed Amerika?

"You don't need alot of money to participate" says one interviewee.
Which is the main reason, IMO, "Ciclovia" events are almost impossible to maintain in the States, nobody makes any money!
At least up till now.
Snarconol aside, is this the reason why Enrique Penalosa is the "Former Mayor of Bogota"?

All those kiosks and so on would make a lot of money, like any fair or festival.

"Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know."
-- M. King Hubbert --

All time favorite MKH quote.

The link in the story wants to be Streetfilms not Streetsfilm.


What a beautiful film.

Just one thing that may not be obvious:
The average level of riding skill displayed
is impressive. Smooth, fluent pedal strokes.
Bikes completely under control in tight
quarters, everyone relaxed about it.

Bikes work better when ridden well.

Watch the continuity between the dance
sequences and the riding sequences. They're
all dancing on wheels.

What a beautiful film.

I second that emotion....

I was impressed


Viva Cyclovia!

Looks like they have the same problem we've had here in the US: Previously human spaces eaten up by the automobile slum.

Yes, I agree oldhippie bikes ridden well are a pleasure to watch.

Found this to be awesome with Albuquerque NM
I was looking for information on where to sell my produce at in Albuquerque and stumbled across this that talks about the Los Ranchos farmers market. Quite exciting to see it on a page related to Albuquerque no matter how small.

Things be a changing I would have never expected to see this a year or two ago.

Does anyone over 35 remember the cheesy 1970's flick Americathon? The movie may have been prophetic.

Inspirational movie.
If you would like to learn more about
Its walking expert Rodney Tolley on the renaissance of walking.

Brilliant! Every city should do this!

I’m always a little baffled when I see these types of proposals, that is a proposal to use bicycles as a major type of transportation. I will admit I rode my bike to the hardware store a few days ago and it was 17 degrees and sunny. I commonly do it. I am 64. But the truth is most of the folks here in central Wisconsin are not prepared to ride a bike at all. Many are too old, others no longer capable due to weight restrictions and almost all flatly unwilling because they do not want to live like the people of China. At the moment we have a foot of snow and will be out of riding conditions for months. The only time when you will see common use of the bicycle is after there are no autos. It is a paradigm shift of such a magnitude it can not be even imagined. In the film I saw no one over forty. Nice event, however.

At some point doesn't walking or biking use just as much oil? more miles walked and biked mean eating more calories and it takes a lot of gasoline to grow and transport food, correct?

relocalization means smaller farms and they don't have the economies of scale or efficiences of large farms even though the food may travel further. has anyone calculated it. an examples, although extreme, would be if every state(I'm am talking about cars being built by private companies) in a localization movement built their own cars for their own state? would that be incredibly inefficient and may consumer more energy?

what's the point were you use more resources than you save by not having your food or goods transported a few hundred or thousand miles?

I've seen a wide variety of calculations on this so no one has convinced me yet that walking or biking relatively short distances is better than using an automobile, especially for an individual.

The main impact is that we live more locally and travel much shorter distances when we are limited to walk or bike as our main transportation on an everyday basis.

Relocalization is not about efficiency as we understand it today - it's about long term sustainability, self-sufficiency and durability of local systems supplying "needs" instead of trying to cater to every "want".

Just because the milk is slightly cheaper to buy in the store than the cost of caring for your own cow, does not mean you should necessarily sell/kill the cow. What if the price goes up tomorrow? - you are stuck with buying the milk. What if milk stops arriving in a store nearby?

Having local communities that are resilient and self sufficient on the basics makes sense. It also helps make sure that the goods we buy are produced within our democratically agreed system of environmental, health, labor, safety and other regulations.

"Having local communities that are resilient and self sufficient on the basics makes sense."

agreed. but how self-sufficient? if my food being transported 1,000 miles is not sustaiable, why? what is self-sufficient? what is sustainable? 50 miles? 150 miles? 500 miles?


You ask some very very fundamental questions.

Stick around if you are sincere. One can learn a lot here if one wishes.

If you are not sincere, it will
show quite readily.

I don't post often for various
reasons - but I read daily.

Does sustainable mean no importation ?

Any links to an example of sustainability ?

I wrote this article about relocalization and sustainability earlier this year:

Addressing some of your other points...It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to say biking not sustainable because takes more food and since food is not sustainable....

Well, we are talking about whole system change. Buy your food from local, organic farmers and it will likely be better than the 7 calories in, 1 calorie out.

In the long run, sustainability for the food system means that the nutrients exported from the land will need to be put back on it. Has interesting implications for human feces, urine and corpses. Also means that a sustainable food system is VERY local indeed.

How self sufficient?

As self sufficient in providing for the needs of local residents as much as possible. And I'm not just talking about food - having shops owned by local residents instead of national chains is also important. Much of what small town America lost over the last 2 decades is its professional class of business owners, entrepreneurs, accountants, lawyers that were involved in local civic affairs. A Walmart manager is not the same as the local hardware store owner.

Miles is probably the wrong metric for food since trains and boats can carry huge quantities of freight much more efficiently than trucks.

I would try to either be:

1. Close to diversified agriculture - not just one or two crops - where all the necessities can be grown within 50-200 miles. Remember that many farms are industrialized mono-crops


2. Near a major transportation center, like a rail hub or confluence of rivers or major port (although with global warming...) that also has a good portion of food grown locally

I hope that helps you think about this in greater detail John

I've heard this argument before, and I think it's nonsense. Having become a bicycle commuter this year (15 miles round trip), I can tell you that I am not eating any more than I was before. I've lost some weight, sure, but I had some extra to lose, as does the rest of America. I feel better than I have in a long time. I do realize that our food-producing system is too energy-intensive, but I find it very hard to believe that moving around 3,000 lbs. of steel + 160 lbs. of human could generally use less energy than moving 30 lbs. of steel + 160 lbs of human. I did see one article making the same argument as yours, which assumed the cyclist eating only beef, clearly the worst case scenario.

How about the pullution factor?

How about toll on our health and health costs our dependence on car-crazy infrastructure has presented?

I firmly believe that bicycles are the best tool we have to help mitigate peak oil. I understand that making them uses energy, etc.. but I believe we have plenty that could be put to use and have a major impact right now, sitting underused in our garages. I'd love to see a revival in local bicyle shops to help get them back up and running well. Hopefully they will start to replace the automobile slum we live in now.

The problem is getting America off its ass and out of the frame of mind that all transportation has to be done with a car.

Christ, some of my neighbors drive past their driveways to their mailboxes, even though the mailboxes are about 30 feet from where they park.

We've become ridiculous.

Yeah that argument is nonsense. I don't eat any more than usual. I just lose weight and feel better.

40% of all trips by auto are two miles or less.

"Cyclists will inherit what's left of the earth."

"I've heard this argument before, and I think it's nonsense. Having become a bicycle commuter this year (15 miles round trip), I can tell you that I am not eating any more than I was before. I've lost some weight, sure, but I had some extra to lose, as does the rest of America."

You've lost weight, which is just stored up food energy that was created and transported using lots of oil. I've gained 10-15 pounds working out. I see that after losing weight I now eat and estimated(and I am estimating) about 300-400 more calories a day. I am noticably more hunger.

using an excercise calculator I calculated that a 15 miles roundtrip taking an hour for a 170 pound person burns 615 calories at a moderate rate of cycling.

how much oil is that if you need an extra 615 cals/day. what if you need just 200 extra cals per day?

how much oil is that if you need an extra 615 cals/day. what if you need just 200 extra cals per day?

According to the EIA:

1 gallon of gasoline = 124,000 Btu

According to an energy conversion web-page:

1 BTU = 252 calories

The energy equivalent of one ounce of gasoline.
(ie: 124,000*252/128)is about 62,000 calories

That's a lot of biking. More to the point...
An ounce of gasoline translates to 30 days
sustenance at 2,000 cal/day.

So we humans are remarkably efficient metabolically
(and we are rather stupid for wasting the
gasoline in cars).

I found this.

"According to researchers at the
University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Agriculture, an average
of over seven calories of fossil fuel is burned up for every calorie of
energy we get from our food. This means that in eating my 400 calorie
breakfast, I will, in effect, have "consumed" 2,800 calories of
fossil-fuel energy. (Some researchers claim the ratio to be as high as
ten to one.)"

well maybe but people driving cars still eat so the net effect is ZERO

whether you eat and get fat or eat and cycle is the choice at hand..

the notion more fossil fuels will be consumed if everybody walked or cycled is total bunk.

are car drivers on a starvation diet to offset there petrol consumption?


I can't buy it, John.

I think with the food choices most Americans have presented to them, they are already eating that extra 600-1000 calories a day anyway.. but even if people did need to eat more, the supposition that this would overtake the savings of burning that fuel, building and selling those scads of new vehicles to the next wave of commuters, the health benefits, the pollution benefits, the cumulative improvements in commute-time traffic and road space available..

It does sound like argument for argument's sake, I have to say.. same thing for the 'What is Local?' question above. There's no magic number, tho' some may have picked their best guesses. How much time is enough time with your family? It's going to be a continuum between numerous qualities like distance traveled. The point is to reduce the fuel dependency of your food supply, as well as your locale's potential for supply interruptions.. ie, your town/region's ability to be resilient and take care of at least 'X'% of your people's basic needs.

As with secure energy supplies, the numbers are so far under par, that all we can do it try to improve the odds. 'Enough' is a long, long ways off.


an argument for argument's sake? no, not at all. there are many in the sustainabilty movement who talk about how we should buy local and etc. if we are going to reorder our society because our food travels an average of 1,000 miles to our table, we better have an answer as to what's sustainable. we can probably all agree that a household having to produce it's own food is unsustainable.

There will never be a magic, agreed upon formula for sustainability. The basic concept is that the activity needs to be able to rely on nature indefinitely without hurting it. We need to try to get as close to that concept as possible, but recognize that total sustainability will probably never be achieved.

In the mean time, we should try to do the best we can. We can't wait for the answer, we need to engage in the imperfect now based upon where we are not necessarily on where we would like to be.

"we can probably all agree that a household having to produce it's own food is unsustainable."

Do you mean unlikely or unattainable? There are certainly households that will not be able to produce most or even much of their own food, being in a poor location, having little or no viable yardspace to create a garden, or windows with enough sun to have some planters set up there. There are other homes that have a chicken coop out back, lots of gardenspace, etc.. and they have a lot more resilience than the former example, yet they very likely ALSO buy food from stores, as well. Is there a dairy farm in town? Are there local grains or meats available? And do they choose these and support these growers with their 'dollar-votes'? It's not to have every house or even every community to be an isolated petri-dish of self-sufficiency, but to have enough set up locally to be able to get by.

I still fully expect that part of sustainability for Individuals, Families, Towns or Regions is that they not only have most of their essentials covered, reducing dependence on imports, but also will still be EXPORTING produce and products/services as well, to balance out the likely Imports that they do still have to get. There is a component of sustainability involved in being able to buy supplies from your neighbors, when your own aren't coming in.. at which point you'd better have some trade-goods or good credit available. Of course the gun-crazies have their conclusion about this situation, too. Fear-based reasoning is never too far away..

Basic Personal Economics says that you need to moderate your expenses and outlay, while enhancing sales, export, income.


Thank you. When I biked to work, it was a twofer. I got to work and I got exercise time, time which otherwise would have been in addition to my daily commute. It also made it unnecessary for me to join a health club, another unsustainble activity.

Bicycles can last a lifetime if maintained properly and be perfectly functional. Talk about your low embodied energy cost.

Anyway,that was a beautiful and inspiring video and showed true wealth as opposed to all the extraneous and meaningless wealth and excess that we have in America. Being able to enjoy the simple things in life makes it less necessary to engage in excess consumption, another benefit of things like cyclovia. If only here.

I think AlanFromBigEasy's point about Switzerland in WWII disproves this theory. With walking, cycling and trains etc, they used 1/400th the amount of oil per capita as Americans do now, still with a decent Western style of living.

Looks like a troll post to me :-)

sorry, never heard of the study. I don't know how meaningful it is to compare Switerland to the US.

At some point doesn't walking or biking use just as much oil? more miles walked and biked mean eating more calories and it takes a lot of gasoline to grow and transport food, correct?.

Your analysis is off in just where the energy savings are for driving everywhere.

Driving everywhere promotes obesity (see skyrocketing rates in the USA). Obesity means less sex. Less sex leads to fewer children. BIG SAVINGS !

The other savings from driving everywhere is more cardiac disease, strokes and diabetes which lead to disability (minor energy savings by not driving to work, or driving at all) and early death (another large energy savings).

So bicycling and walking saves energy immediately, but these savings may later be negated by longer lives and more children in the long run,

Best Hopes for Increased Morbidity among Hummer Drivers,


Also, throw in smoking and drinking while driving, and you wil l see the savings skyrocket. Gentlemen and ladies, start your engines.

Transmogrifier over at the Transmogrified blog has calculated the fossil-fuel inputs of the energy required to ride a bike and converted them to an mpg-equivalent. His calculations put a vegetarian bicyclist at 196 mpg, a lacto-ovo cyclist at 142 mpg and a meat-eating cyclist at 104 mpg. Full calculations here:

Tranmogrifier's estimates are actually a bit understated as they do not net out base-rate calories consumed sitting behind the wheel of a car. Nor does he deal with the energy inputs involved in building a 3,500 lb. car versus a 30 lb. bike or the energy inputs into the infrastructure required for a car versus a bike, or the energy required to mitigate the car's carbon emissions and pollutants, and on and on . . .

Walking requires about three times the energy of biking, so even then, a meat-eating walker gets mileage as good as your average hybrid.

Bottom line: Eating local from behind the wheel of Hummer ain't gonna save the planet.

Don't forget all the other externalities of the auto such as police, hospitals, air pollution, stress, repairs,parking,on and on and on.

"a bit understated"

This is completely a Red Herring argument.

A bit indeed. I have yet to see anything that shows me that people biking to work eat more than people who drive.

I would hope there is a good bit of analysis that looks at how much of the energy of a given food is also a function of the energy of processing, materials and transport related to heavily packaged, frozen, prepared and advertised products.


You need to learn something about just how much energy there is in oil, and how wastefully it's used.

Have a look at one or more of,
Food, Land, Population and the U.S. Economy, Pimentel, David and Giampietro, Mario. ]
Carrying Capacity Network, 11/21/1994, tells us that in food production is involved 400gal per capita annually
and;, both tell us 1,950lbs food consumed per person annually

So each 1lb of food requires 400/1,950 = 0.21 gallons of "gasoline" as you lot call it.

- There are 31,000kcal in a gallon of petrol (as we call it), and so those 0.21gal required to make 1lb of grain are 6,500kcal. 0.21gal of gasoline burned would drive your 25mpg car just over 5 miles.
- 1lb of grain gives about 1,600kcal. As this energy calculator tells us, a cyclist weighing an average 160lbs, going at a relatively stately 12 miles per hour for three hours, covering 36 miles, will burn 1,533 kcal - equivalent to that pound of grain consumed.
- or that same person could walk at a slow 3mph for 7 hours covering 21 miles and burning 1,676kcal.

So you can use the oil to help grow grain and travel on your bike for 36 miles in 3hours, or walk 21 miles in 7 hours, or put the oil directly in your car and travel 5 miles in 10 minutes.

Put another way, a gallon of oil will get you 25 miles in a car, or if devoted to helping food production, get you 110 miles on foot or 180 miles on a bicycle.

Thus, at no point does biking or walking use just as much oil as does driving. Driving's just quicker - but the price of that speed is a huge use of energy per distance travelled.

Of course it's also possible to grow grain using no oil at all. Billions of people have done it for thousands of years. Driving a modern car without oil is a little trickier.

Given the high degree of obesity in the United States, most of us would have a long way to go before we would "need" any additional food to fuel our additional exercise. When I see the video, and I see all those happy, smiling, fit people enjoying the day and then when I think of the horrors that the auto is visiting on this planet, I have trouble seeing how this could not be a great improvement over auto dominance as usual. In any event, please provide hard numbers in the future rather than just positing abstract theory.

So, in order for us to fight global warming, we need to make sure that China grows its automobile base?

This post and discussion shows how blind some people are about efficiency and sustainability...

First, the notion that a biker spends more energy because of his activity, rather than driving a car, is obviously a stupid thing to say. For one, you would spend the same amount of energy that a biker does anyway, because a driver still has to eat, and make some exercise if wants to be in good health. Net effect is ZERO, as someone up here pointed out correctly. The problem is even worse, as driving have rendered people obese and unfit, with great dangers for health, stress and mental diseases, enlarging health expenses by a lot. For this sake only, I'd say that the net effect would even be negative.

But common sense would suffice. A bike is somewhat lighter than a hummer (hmmmm!) I'd say! The waste in energy in cars is astoundingly stupid. And for evidence, I'd point out a question: why have people in China and poor cities overall, have used bikes as transport for several decades now if it was as expensive as using it on cars? How it didn't show off in the oil consumption charts per capita? The answer is also boringly obvious.

So stop trolling. I can admit you questioned this with sincerity, but honestly, I can tell you that you didn't with your head in the right place.

I have one medicine for you, though. Get a bike.

"The problem is even worse, as driving have rendered people obese and unfit, with great dangers for health, stress and mental diseases, enlarging health expenses by a lot."

That's funny, I enjoy "Happy Motoring" and I'm not overweight. So-called autobesity is only part of the problem. it is also how we get our calories. it is also the fact that the price of food has gone down and portions have gotten bigger. people have to take responsibility for exercising. to blame it on our car culture is only a fraction of the answer.

After some of the previous posts I was expecting some serious trick-riding or something. To me it was just normal family-type cycling. One cyclist held the hand of a roller-blader for a few seconds - that kind of thing. You can see that in parks and bike paths pretty much anywhere, on a much smaller scale.

That's a great event to promote cycling and get more people involved, but the real test would be to look at those roads in weekday commuting times. How many cyclists then, and what are the conditions like? The skills you would look for are looking over the shoulder while steering straight ahead, indicating clearly and merging with other traffic, positioning in the lane appropriate to conditions, maintaining visibility etc.

Transport cycling is what makes the difference.

This is a brilliant idea and film.


thank You Glenn, for showing me something beautiful coming inn from Bogotá, Colombia – just beautiful …….. this is life

Where is MSM concerning the nice parts on Colombia? I’m fed up always being presented that drug side …. So really fed up.

Reuters reports that Iran has stopped selling oil in U.S. dollars. When will other nations follow suit. Discuss.

Thank you Glenn, great film.
Seeing stuff like this really ticks off the doomer in me.

When I lived on the West side of the Metro Detroit area years ago, the Wayne County Road Commission used to close off a local parkway, Hines drive, to all motor traffic once a month during Summer.
As I recall those events were hugely popular as well.

What a fantastic program! As a US resident, I'd really like to support this! Any thoughts as to how?

Start by sending this to your local town council.

In Aus think its local govt that entirely controls local roads, and here in inner Melbourne the Darebin, Moreland and Yarra city councils have made local roads as pleasant as anywhere i've seen. But main roads are still death defying, thanks i think to the much greater say of Main Roads (Vic Dept of Infrastructure) and businesses, and 100s of 1000s of daily commuter cars. So local trips can be much encouraged by local govt, but as always theres a bigger picture needing fixing.

Occasionally teaching kids about the advantages of humanpowered transport (p-12), i've believe i've noticed that the personal health & reduced road toll benefits are really what grip them. Reducing pollution & GHG & saving oil are nice, but health (via self image?) and safety of loved ones are what get their attention.

Too cool!

Thank you for sharing the good work towards less fossil petrochemical use for transportation and increased health through human-posered transportation and public exercise classes.