“Cyclovia” is a Spanish word that translates as “bike path;” anything from oily asphalt bike lanes or a pounding traverse through the mountains.
But in Boone on Sunday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., all of Rivers Street and parts of Depot and Howard Street will be roped off for the second annual Cyclo.Via. Put bells on your bike, excavate your old inline skates, leash your pets, shoulder your boom box for improv hip-hop, or put a drum under your arm.
The free Cyclo.Via, organized by Boone Area Cyclists and sponsored by ExploreBooneArea.com and Take Step Two, waves in anyone with any interest that can be done outdoors.
Cyclo.Via began in the 1970s in Bogota, Colombia, because of a lack of free green space. Instead of investing in a park or reservoir, the town roped off 70 miles of road for six hours every Sunday so people could make use of the pavement without fear of cars.
“Last year, we had a ballpark of 500 people come out,” event promoter Bing Oliver said. “That was with little promotion. We’ve promoted it 10 times as much this year, and would like to see the streets full with 3,000 or so.”
He said organizers have sent out 100 mailers to clubs and cycle shops within a 100-mile radius – to Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina.
“We feel like Boone needs this,” he said. “And we are hoping to see this weekend become a huge extended outdoor fest.”
Boone Area Cyclists invited Freestyle Connection Professional BMX team, a belly dancing group and an African drum team to keep the day’s pulse up.
“A friend of mine likes to wear a goat costume and go to hospitals cheering up kids,” Oliver said. “He’s also a part of Freestyle Connection. They always couple their shows with a positive message for kids.”
He said that a safe, clean environment is paramount and asked that all exercise the same standards as vehicular travel – keep traffic to the right and look out for others.
“We want parents to understand that this is a really safe place for your kids to be out riding their bicycles on the road,” he said. “And seeing kids last year ride in the wide open space without worrying about cars was just so great.”
Most people cruised on bikes last year, upgrading them to pass out flowers, pull logs, power blenders for smoothies, or pull wheelchairs. But jugglers, scooters, and skateboarders also came. The creative outlets span from miming to parkour to Frisbee to busking to “the crazier and more inventive – the better,” as Oliver said. Yoga and Zumba workshops will be on site, as well as a variety of healthy vendors.
“We want people to take three things from this,” Oliver said. “One – ‘I had a good time and I want to do this next year.’ Two – ‘No matter where I am, I want to be more active with my friends and my family.’ And three – ‘What could Boone be if there was more of this?’”
He mentions that the Blood, Sweat and Gears’ 100-mile bike loop is the day before on Saturday, June 23. “There’s a lot of opportunity for our town to grow as a world-known, world-class outdoors city.”
For more information, a map, or to submit a vendor application, visit http://www.boonecyclovia.com.