Stand on Mexico City’s grand Paseo de la Reforma boulevard on a Sunday morning and you’ll hear gears whirring, bells ringing and the chatter of voices as 50,000 people cycle, scoot and skate along 35 miles of closed roads. Stop and listen on any other day of the week and all you’ll hear is the roar of 10 lanes of traffic.
This sprawling megacity of 21 million is home to 5.5 million cars, and that number is growing despite some of the worst traffic jams in the world.
Although air quality has improved markedly since the city was named the most polluted in the world in the 1980s, walking or cycling along one of its many multi-lane highways sometimes feels as if you are sucking directly on a car exhaust.
For one day every week, though, people on bikes and on foot rule a decent stretch of road, for a few hours at least. The official Muévete en Bici (Move by Bike) event has been going since 2008, but was recently expanded to cover 35 miles (55km) of city streets. It’s not just for cyclists: many others jog with baby strollers, or enjoy free zumba classes, martial arts or Mexican wrestling displays.