We wanted an opportunity to see a large part of Bogotá Colombia and because it is a city with 8 million people the best thing to do is to try and see as much ground on bicycle as possible because on foot you probably won’t be able to cover very much. We looked up a few businesses and we found the Bogotá Bike Tours company. We decided to check them out because the prices were very inexpensive and you can walk into their shop and jump on a tour without a reservation.
One challenge is that where we were staying in Bogotá and where the bike tour was located was a little ways away from each other and because there are just so many people in Bogotá, it takes a long time to get anywhere. I highly recommend allowing way more time than you think you may need to get anywhere if you’re on vacation in Bogotá because traffic is always really busy. A great thing about traveling in Bogotá is that you can use Uber very easily. I recommend using Uber because then you don’t have to worry about exchanging money or having your destination get lost in translation.
We got to the tour place and it just so happened that there was a tour that had just walked out of the door and they were congregating in a small plaza nearby. One of the other tour guides helped us get our bikes and we hurried over and met up with that tour. We also met our tour guide for the day. Out guide was awesome and he felt like a flashback to the 1960s/70s. He was bilingual in English and Spanish and incredibly knowledgeable about the geography of Bogota as well as its rich history. The entire tour will take you around the main downtown area Bogotá and you will see some incredible sites and stop regularly in order to have your tour guide talk to you about the various buildings as well as the political history of Bogotá and the history of the drug cartel and its influence on the city and country. It is a little difficult to bike in downtown Bogotá because there are so many people. If you are nervous on a bicycle this may not be the trip for you because you will have to weave in and out of walkers and other bikers as well as food carts and other miscellaneous items. There is never a dull moment.
Our first stop was at a local food market where we got to taste local fruits and learn about where they are eaten, how they’re prepared, and it was really delicious. I had some fruits that I had never seen before in my life so that was a lot of fun. After the food market we went to a local place where they taught us how to play a Colombian game called Tejo. Tejo is where you throw a circular, really heavy disc and you try to hit a metal ring in the center of a mud hill. However, if you hit one of the little triangles that are close to the metal ring they’ll actually explode. I didn’t fully grasp the concept of the game but it was really fun and entertaining (and loud). There were local Colombians hanging out playing right next to us so we got to have some local beer and watch them as well as our tour guide and his friends play. The locals were super good at this game and I could see how much fun it would be to come to a place like that after work, hang with my friends, and watch stuff explode.
Upon leaving the Tejo place, the tour went through the red light district and we got to see a great deal of murals along walls all over Bogota. The murals are absolutely stunning. It is something that the government has supported to combat graffiti, so they actually pay artists and have competitions where artists come from all over the world to make these incredible murals to decorate the city instead of just having vandalism all over the place. We then stopped at a local coffee roaster because Colombia has a history of having some of the best coffee in the world. It was really nice to be able to stop get a little snack and learn about the history of coffee roasting. It also started raining at that point so it was nice to get out of the rain.
After our coffee tour we continued around Bogota into some cute little suburbs and a park area.
I did run into a little bit of trouble with my bike chain (on two separate occasions) fell off and it caused me to almost crash my bike. This is especially frustrating because I am an avid cyclist. The bikes are definitely worn but you’re not really going too fast at any given time because the streets are so crowded so you don’t really need a high-performance bike to do this bike tour.
Probably the most challenging part of the ride itself was the climb back to the little plaza where we all met at the beginning of our ride. It’s a pretty steep hill to hill on the way up so you definitely want to be comfortable switching gears on a bicycle or else you may need to walk your bike
When we returned our bikes to the rental shop we paid for our tour and we gave a tip to our tour guide. Overall I think it was a really fun tour but it was definitely crowded and so that was a little scary at times. I don’t recommend it for people who are novices on a bicycle.
If you are very comfortable on a bike I think this is a wonderful way to see a portion of the city that would be really difficult to cover on foot. Bogota is so enormous that even with this bike tour we only saw a few miles of the city as a whole and in order to see more of Bogota I think you would definitely need to stay in the city for a few weeks because it so enormous and has so many interesting pockets to see. The whole tour was about four hours and although we weren’t totally exhausted afterwards from exercising I did want to head back to our Airbnb and have a shower I think it was a great way to see the central-most important part of the city and I highly recommend it for visitors who like bike tours.