Viva Streets! ciclovía drew out 7,500 for a bike ride on a closed street

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Ferguson Park at 23rd and Dexter filled up with eager participants in the free Zumba class.
The concept of the 'ciclovía' (Spanish for "bike parkway") was hatched in Bogotá, Colombia, over thirty years ago. It's waxed and waned over the years there, but today well over a million people participate in an event that every Sunday and holiday closes 70 miles of road in the heart of the city to automobiles. Several American cities have followed suit with events scheduled several times a summer: most notably New York, San Francisco and Portland, Ore. And over the weekend, it came for the first time to Denver.

The pleasant chime of bike bells filled Park Hill this Sunday at Viva Streets!, hosted by BikeDenver and LiveWell Colorado, which closed off 23rd Street to automobile traffic from Colorado Boulevard to Syracuse Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Lilia Thompson and Natalie Wadhwa hung out by the face painting stand near Ferguson Park. Thompson, a Curious George fan, had her face painted to look like her favorite storybook simian.
Police estimate that 3,500 people had arrived to the event by 10:30 a.m. Add to that figure the hundreds more that rolled in as the day progressed; the innumerable volunteers manning booths, leading exercise routines, children's activities and bike workshops; the merchants of Park Hill's 23rd St., Kearney St. and Oneida St. shopping districts who brought their food, cold beverages and wares out onto the sidewalk; and the neighborhood opportunists who set up lemonade stands and held garage sales.

A bike parade on Kearney Street kicked off the day. Bikes of all varieties ruled the road, but a fair number of scooters, skateboards and rollerblades wheeled alongside. Pedestrians and runners weaved their way around. Twister, street hockey, basketball, hopscotch, jump rope, hula hoops and other games filled the shopping districts and parks. Music played from stages, impromptu drum circles, boomboxes on bikes and standing symphonic ensembles. Amenities were aplenty and sidewalk chalk scrawled into the streets.

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