This City in Mexico Considers Bike-Share with a Twist
Paolo Cisneros - Next City
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August 6, 2017

A woman rides a bicycle in Querétaro, Mexico (Plan Estratégico de Movilidad)

Every Wednesday evening, Gustavo Uribe leads hundreds of cyclists through the winding streets and past colonial facades of Querétaro, Mexico’s historic downtown. Riders huddle together; they’re accompanied by a police escort and a support van draped with a banner thanking drivers for their patience.

Uribe volunteers with Saca La Bici (“Bring out your bike”), which started the weekly rides in 2009. He talks about the organization in quasi-revolutionary terms.

“This is a peaceful protest movement,” he says. “We’re reclaiming space in the public way for cyclists. All our infrastructure here was constructed for cars, and we’re trying to show people there’s a better way.”

Uribe’s frustrations are common among local cyclists, but things in Querétaro may be changing. A new municipal transportation plan outlines the city’s aspiration for bike-share, and statements by local officials suggest they are considering the use of pedal-assist electric bikes for the system.

Sometimes referred to as a pedelec, a pedal electric bicycle uses a motor to augment the power generated by pedaling. The models reduce the exertion necessary to ride uphill or over difficult terrain. If installed in Querétaro, pedelec bicycles would provide an accessible introduction to urban cycling for people who might not otherwise consider it. While other cities such as Birmingham, Alabama, and Madrid have successfully launched pedelec bike-share networks, Querétaro’s system would be among the first of its kind in the developing world.

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