Organizers of Friday’s “Pedal Cuenca” International Bike Day event were overwhelmed by the turnout, estimated between 9,000 and 10,000, as local police were forced to call in reserves to assist in redirecting taffic.
Based on last year’s turnout of about 4,000, organizers say they had expected about 5,000.
Jaime Astudillo, promoter of the event, said he was “amazed” by the public interest in cycling in Cuenca. “We had no idea we would see this many people. This is fabulous.”
Bikers gathered at the University of Cuenca main gate on Av. 12 de Abril, and proceeded to Av. Avenida Remigio Crespo, then Av. Loja and Tres de Noviembre before entering the historic district.
Astudillo said that the event was intended to increase public awareness of cycling and support city projects designed to create a better biking environment. "We need to make the public aware of the importance of sharing the streets of Cuenca. In particular, we need to make drivers of motor vehicles aware of the rights of bikers,” he said. “On the other hand, we need to educate bikers about their responsbilities too.”
Astudillo also said he wants to send a message to the government about the interest in biking. "The city of Cuenca is doing a great job but we encourage them to do more." The city is building bike paths in a number of locations," Astudillo said. “We are moving in the right direction.” Another priority, he said, is to reduce government import taxes on bicycles.
St. Petersburg Ballet presents Swan Lake on ice
The St. Petersburg State Ballet comes to Cuenca next week, presenting four ice skating performances of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, April 27, 28, 29 and 30, at the Central Bank auditorium.
Production director Alexis Ramirez says the performances will include 40 skaters, several who have competed in the Olympics. “This is a very challenging performance incorporating ballet, figure skaing with symphonic composition,” he said. “Technically, we have to deal with creating and maintaining an eight ton frozen surface, an elaborate lighting system, not to mention 700 costume changes.”
The performance lasts four hours. Tickets will be on sale at the door and at EcuTicket outlets.
Photo caption: Cuenca bikers during Friday's International Bike Day tour of the city.