In sprawling Mexico City – authorities have long faced an uphill battle over how to get commuters onto bikes to reduce traffic in the congested Capital – home to over 20 million people.

Now, the coronavirus pandemic has made the task a little easier with many – like Ivan Pastor – opting to cycle.

Pastor says he’s too afraid to use public transportation and likes the exercise.

Pastor: “I prefer to get on the bike rather than on the metro, so as to not expose myself to the situation that we are going through. Also, it’s a healthy habit.”

The metro system was once the backbone of Mexico City’s transport system and in pre-pandemic times transported some 5 million commuters daily, who squeezed together in cramped carriages.Not very social-distancing friendly.

Because of that, shop-owners in Mexico City, like Valentin Najjera, say bikes sales are on the rise.

Valentin Najjera: “Many people have opted to buy a bike and to use it, out of fear of public transport, to get to work, to go out and about, to be active. There has been an increase in sales since the pandemic.”

Mexico City’s local government is responding to the acceleration in bike sales with new urban planning projects. Recently, authorities announced more than 40 miles of lanes exclusively for bikers in hopes that the shift among commuters stays around well beyond the pandemic.

Video Transcript

In sprawling Mexico City, authorities have long faced an uphill battle over how to get commuters onto bikes to reduce traffic in the congested capital, home to over 20 million people. Now, the coronavirus pandemic has made the task a little easier– with many, like Ivan Pastor, opting to cycle. Pastor says he’s too afraid to use public transportation and likes to exercise.

IVAN PASTOR: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

INTERPRETER: I prefer to get on the bike rather than on the metro so as to not expose myself to the situation that we are going through. Also, it’s a healthy habit.

The metro was once the backbone of Mexico City’s transport system and in pre-pandemic times transported some 5 million commuters daily, who squeezed together in cramped carriages– not very social-distancing friendly. Because of that, shop owners in Mexico City, like Valentin Najjera, say bike sales are on the rise.

VALENTIN NAJJERA: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

INTERPRETER: Many people have opted to buy a bike and to use it out of fear of public transport to get to work, to go out and about, to be active. There has been an increase in sales since the pandemic.

Mexico City’s local government is responding to the acceleration in bike sales with new urban planning projects. Recently, authorities announced more than 40 miles of lanes exclusively for bikers in hopes that the shift among commuters stays around well beyond the pandemic.