With potholes that can swallow mid-sized sedans whole and a driving culture that sees traffic lights and stop signs as polite suggestions, not hard and fast rules, riding a bike in Tijuana can be a death wish even on the best of days. Despite this, a bike culture is taking root in Tijuana, and everyday more and more bikes can be seen on the streets of the city.
On a recent Friday, one hundred cyclists gathered at Plaza Santa Ceclia, right beneath Tijuana’s arch, for the first installment of Paseo de Todos Tijuana, a monthly bike ride that takes place at 8pm every first Friday. The two hour spandex-heavy ride wound its was through Tijuana’s El Centro, La Cacho, Zona Rio and Colonia Liberdad neighborhoods, before heading back downtown. Organizers say the ride aims to “produce a cultural change in Tijuana…and demonstrate that it is possible to use bicycles as a form of transportation.”
The sight of a parade of two-wheelers passing elicited waves from people on the street. Residents came out of their homes to catch a glimpse of the mobile commotion, snapping pictures with their cell phones. Cars, temporarily stopped by the procession, seemed more interested than annoyed and honked their horns in support. Even the Tijuana Police Department officers escorting the ride were polite and professional.
Near the end of the evening, the roving spectacle rode past Avenida Revolucion—now showing signs of life—to the cheers and applause of Tijuanenses. It was a hopeful moment. After the darkest chapter in its history, Tijuanenses are reclaiming their city, and proving that another Tijuana is possible.