I had an interesting opportunity to visit Quito for a long weekend with my bike. I spent 6 weeks in Quito 10 years ago while finishing a motorcycle trip, so I was excited to go back and explore it from a bicycling point of view.
First, Quito has been running a Ciclovia event called Ciclopaseo since 2003. It’s now a weekly event using some of the largest roads through Quito.
Second, Quito has a long ways to go, but has some great bike lanes and other infrastructure. I noticed that there aren’t any lanes with just paint — they all have some sort of vertical delineator. The paving surface may be terrible, but it’s an actual protected bike lane.
Finally, Quito’s “old airport” has been closed in the past few years. It’s been a long time coming, and was necessary not only to move out of the city but also to get much longer runways. The old airport has been turned into a large park, Parque Bicentenario. There’s a long way to go with their plans for the park, but there’s some art between the runways and the runways themselves have been striped for those who want to exercise on foot or by wheel.
It’s heartening to see so many transit modes in Quito. Biking isn’t easy — the city is at 9200 feet — but it’s a fairly low-cost way of traversing the city. Plus, there’s an electric trolleybus line and a subway that is well under construction. Those are huge changes over the poorly-tuned turbo diesel buses.
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