A Colombian staple for decades and a stateside trend for years, Ciclovias swap traffic for fellowship for one festive afternoon, and on Sunday, the La Crosse community will have its own chance to take revelry to the street.
Translating to "cycleway," Ciclovias temporarily clear the roads for recreation, and the city, in partnership with the Wisconsin Bike Fed, Explore La Crosse and Downtown Mainstreet, Inc., is adopting the concept for its first Open Streets La Crosse event, being held in conjunction with the weekend's four-day Bicycle Fest.
Now on its seventh year, Bicycle Fest, sponsored by Mayo Clinic Health System and run primarily by volunteers, draws around 1,500 riders from across the U.S. and Canada for both guided and solo treks through the area's many trails and attractions.
"Our region is so beautiful and offers itself so well to bicycling — it's becoming more and more bike friendly all the time," said Jeremiah Burish, director of sports sales and events for Explore La Crosse. "We're always looking to grow and improve (Bicycle Fest) and make it a better event, and Open Streets is kind of the perfect fit. It has virtually the exact same mission."
Bicycle Fest aims to promote fitness, outdoor activity and eco-friendly forms of transportation, and Open Streets will further the mission with an additional emphasis on camaraderie and collaboration. A section of streets between Cameron Park and Burns Park will be closed to vehicles from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, making a safe space for biking, walking and skating and providing a street fair atmosphere with music, food and demonstrations.