Chile’s cyclists gear up for second annual Bicycle Day

Participants will be able to choose from different circuits with varying difficulty levels in the Vitacura district and the centrally located Parque Metropolitano.

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Cyclists from all over Santiago are getting ready to don their helmets for the city’s second annual Bicycle Day on Saturday, October 22.

Organized by TREK Bicycles and cable television provider VTR, the free public bike ride is aimed at boosting family recreational activities and raising awareness about environmental sustainability.

Beginning at Parque Bicentenario in Vitacura, the ride will be divided into three circuits: a 10 mile (16km) course for adults; a 6.5 mile track (10.5km) for families and a 1.9 mile path (3km) specially designed for children.

“We are closing off these paths to invite the whole family to take their bikes to the street and take part in this unique event,” TREK’s marketing manager Sebastián Vargas told La Segunda.

“We hope that it will be a milestone that promotes the sport of cycling by putting the focus on the advantages of bike riding both for personal health and the environment.”

Three parallel bike rides with varying levels of difficulty are also being organized for families and dedicated cyclists on the popular trails that lead through Santiago’s Parque Metropolitano to the top of the iconic Cerro San Cristóbal hill.

Organizers are hoping for an increase in participation on last year, when 5,000 riders took part in the inaugural event.

In recent years, cycling has experienced a boom in Santiago with close to one million residents using bicycles as a regular means of transport.

The city has over 100 miles (166km) of cycle paths and the regional government hopes to construct a further 400 miles of bike paths by the end of 2012.

People interested in participating in the bike rides need to complete a free registration process through the event’s website.

All cyclists taking part in the event will need to wear a helmet and organizers are encouraging them to ride to the event to avoid traffic congestion.