/ Modified mar 31, 2017 9:33 a.m.

Tucson's Cyclovia Not Just For Cyclists

The event focuses on community building, seeing city in a different way, coordinator says.

Cyclovia 2013 A family participates in Cyclovia 2013. (PHOTO: Damion Alexander)

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Cyclovia returns to the streets of Tucson on Sunday to carve a route from downtown’s civic center to South Tucson.

The twice-yearly event will close down streets to motorized traffic so bikers, pedestrians and anyone else not powered by combustion can explore various activities and neighborhoods along the route, which changes for every event.

Many in Tucson use bicycles for recreation and transportation, said coordinator Kylie Walzak, but that’s not the sole focus of Cyclovia.

“It’s a community-building event. It draws attention to health and wellness, but I think more importantly it makes the connection in people’s minds between the built environment and the effects our daily movement habits have on our physical and mental health,” she said.

Cyclovia was started in Tucson in 2010 by a coalition of professionals and volunteers as part of a network of “Open Streets” events taking place all over the world. Part of the original idea was to break down prescriptive categories.

“In addition to not seeing themselves as bicyclists in that way, it also reinforces that divide between person driving a car and person using a bicycle. … Cyclovia is about breaking down those barriers and making an event that is accessible to everyone. And if you want to use a bike, great, use a bike. But you don’t have to have a bike to be able to participate in it.”

Walzak suggests the uninitiated fight the instinct to quickly ride the route. Hasty participants might miss the free admission to the Tucson Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Other features include a zip line, health and wellness expos and a variety of food offerings.

“What I like to focus on these days, is that it’s exploration. It’s discovery, it’s seeing your city that you live in and maybe take for granted every day in a different way.”

Find a route map and more details at the Cyclovia website.

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