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Cyclovia rolls around, with a new route

Cars are getting kicked off the streets of Tucson on April 7 and 28 so that a different kind of wheel can dominate the streets.

Cyclovia returns with not one, but two opportunities for bikers and pedestrians alike to get active and cruise the streets of Tucson. This is the first year since the launch of Tucson's Cyclovia in 2010 that two routes are being offered in one year. Both events start at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

The word "cyclovia" is Spanish for the closing of streets so that they can instead be open to the community, said this year's event planner, Kylie Walzak. 

The Pima Association of Government estimates that more than 20,000 people will attend each event. 

“I think Cyclovia is important to Tucson because over 30 percent of our city is the domain of the automobile," Walzak said. "As we move forward and consider human impact on the environment and livability of out city, its important to look to our streets s multi-purpose spaces that we can convert into spaces that we can use to meet our neighbors and celebrate.”

The route on April 7 also serves as the kick-off for bike fest, an annual bike celebration organized by Living Streets Alliance. There are five major activities hubs at major parks stationed along the route which include many interactive fitness classes as well as giant jumping castles, arts and crafts, live music, and a "pop-up" skate park.  There will also be many "minor hubs," Walzak said. 

What was supposed to be a minor activity hub on the intersection of 4th Avenue and 26th Street is growing quickly, Walzak said. Although the location is not marked on the map on for the Cyclovia event yet, several local artists are claiming spots, Walzak said.  

"I think that one is going to be a lot of fun, but I don't want to get too much away," she said.

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The route on April 28 is a completely new and features four major activity hubs that will include bike decorating stations, a solar power demonstration, and even more live music. The new route starts at Keeling Desert Park, near the corner of Fontana Avenue and Glenn Street and progresses through midtown neighborhoods to the intersection of Alvernon Way and River Road.

"To see the town moving together is a really enjoyable experience," said dancer and founder of the Uzo Methods Project, Uzo Nwankpa, who will be leading a street dance with drummer Richard Noel.

Old favorites from previous years will be embellished with several new additions, including more DJs, an interactive art walk, and a rubber stamp scavenger hunt.  

Several local celebrities will also be in attendance this year including Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors Ramon Valadez, and traffic reporter for KGUN-9 Big Al, who is also scheduled to lead a bike ride.

Those who wish to minimize waste and emissions are encouraged to bring reuseable water bottles.  There will be many water stations along each of the routes, Walzak said.  

"We need to be aware of our carbon footprint for this event," said one of the planners of the first Cyclovia event, Robin Johnson.  

In addition, the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association will be leading bike rides to both Cyclovia events. There will be four meet-up locations for the April 7 route. Details on times and locations for GABA's services are listed on the Cyclovia website. The route details for April 28 are not yet posted. 

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Click image to enlarge

A poster designed by Matt McCoy promotes this year's Cyclovia.