Postcards from Quito: Exploring Ecuador’s capital by bike

Ciclopaseo through Old Quito with Basílica del Voto Nacional in the background.
Ciclopaseo through Old Quito with Basílica del Voto Nacional in the background.

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.

Electric trolleybus and people everywhere during the cyclopaseo.

Ciclopaseo along Amazonas.


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.

Poor pavement quality, but it’s great to have a bike lane demarcated by more than paint.

Wand-seperated bike lane on Amazonas, a very major street.

Bikeway on a side street off Amazonas.

BiciQuito bikeshare rebalancing truck.

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.

The view of Quito’s old airport.

Hanging out on the old airport. This section is being ground down. I think a large convention/conference center is going in.

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.

— Ted Timmons, @tedder42 on Twitter and

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