By Katie Benfield
On Sunday, July 23, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., the 7th annual Cyclo.Via returns to the High Country for human powered fun! Howard Street, Depot Street and Rivers Street will be closed to vehicular traffic throughout this event.
“We have one mile of city street that we have closed to any motorized vehicles,” JoLynn Mahoney, Cyclo.Via Planning Team Member, said. “So, throughout the event, you can ride or walk for the whole mile, and more, and see all the other stuff that’s happening during the day.”
Whether you bike, skateboard, walk, run, dance or want to participate in Adult Tricycle Races, Safe Kids Bike Rally, bike decorating and many more fun activities, this event is the perfect time for you to come out and have some fun!
It’s what they call “human powered fun,” any kind of activity that is produced and acted out through movement by people and people-powered instruments, such as bikes and skateboards.
According to Mahoney, the event started in Bogotá, Colombia as something they could use to bring people out for recreation on weekends and holidays. They turned their regular streets into parks for the day, and that’s where the inspiration came from for the Cyclo.Via that has taken place in Boone for nearing a decade.
“The whole festival started as a way for us to get out and have some recreational event in a social setting,” Mahoney said, “and bring together people of all ages, skills and uniqueness. Boone is pretty much amazing with a diverse group of people that do amazing things.”
Mahoney states that in North Carolina, Boone ranks in the top 5 of the healthiest communities in the whole state.
“We are a really healthy community,” Mahoney said. “This is a day of celebrating all the things in the community and this special place that we live in.”
Along with community involvement and human powered fun, there will be a lot of things going on at the 2017 Cyclo.Via.
The Freestyle Connection BMX show will be the biggest trick bike show to come to Boone, and there will be multiple chances to see these amazing tricks throughout the day – 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Rivers Street.
“This is the sixth year that the BMX show has come, and their shows are fantastic and fun to watch and incredibly motivating,” Mahoney said. “When you see them do those tricks on their bikes, it makes you feel excited.”
Along with this, there will also be a bike parade after the 1:30 BMX show. This year, the goal is to get as close as possible to breaking the Guinness Book of World Records.
In Lake Tahoe, they had a bike parade, and that bike parade currently holds the world record in the Guinness Book of World Records. Mahoney wants Boone’s bike parade to grow each year and surpass this record.
“It’s the first year that we are doing the bike parade,” Mahoney said, “but we are doing it every year until we break the record.”
If participating in a bike parade isn’t down your alley, you can always take advantage of the other events going on throughout the day.
“All kinds of nonprofits will be present, new and old,” Mahoney said. “The Appalachian Rollergirls will be there, the Watauga Humane Society with its new mascot, the Boone Bellydance Collective, Habitat for Humanity, Afrolachian Drum and Dance and literally so much more.”
The Boone Bellydance Collective will be in attendance to both teach and perform multiple styles of bellydancing, including American Tribal Style, Tribal Fusion, Egyptian and Indian Fusion, as well as some Folk dances!
Not only this, but the Broyhill Wellness Center will also be there to show the community exercise classes are like! You will have the opportunity to try a new activity or participate in ones that you know you enjoy!
There will be other events and activities as well, including the slowest bike race…ever, kid trike races, drumming and dancing by the Eya! Afrolachian Drum and Dance and rails, boxes and more set up by Recess Skate & Snow.
The Boone Community Bike Collective will be present to offer basic bicycle repairs and to showcase some bikes in their new bike rental program.
“They are a group funded by the town, and it’s really cool because it’s kind of a do-it-yourself bike repair,” Mahoney said, “so if you know how to fix your own bike, you can stop there, and if you don’t know how, you can stop there too!”
Along with this, Watauga Safe Kids will be having a kid bike rally to teach bike skills, safety and etiquette to kids of all ages! Don’t miss out on the Western Youth Network’s help with decorating your bike and showing it off!
“When Cyclo.Via first started, there were kids riding their tricycles around hesitantly,” Mahoney said, “and now these same kids are zooming down the streets on their bikes.”
Aside from all of the activities, there will also be vendors and nonprofits throughout the downtown area to contribute to the overall event, as well as mascots from all over the High Country who will be making appearances to contribute to the excitement. Numerous food trucks will be present during the event to provide those in attendance with some of the most delicious foods in the High Country.
The event is also focused on not only getting people in the community up and about with each other and with human powered fun, but also on raising awareness for transportation throughout Boone and the surrounding areas. Bike lanes and sidewalks are necessary for people within the community to travel safely and effectively as an alternative to public transportation.
“It’s important for people to be able to travel safely from one place to another,” Mahoney said. “When you have dedicated cycling and walking pathways, you have more vibrant and healthy living environments. People want to come and live and vacation in those communities that have safer ways of traveling that don’t just rely on motorizes vehicles.”
Whether you’re there to enjoy community, dancing or just hanging around, or whether you’re there to show off your rad skills at biking or boarding or some other human powered fun, the Cyclo.Via is the perfect opportunity to come out and do what you do best!
“It’s so much fun to come down and experience it, it’s a great thing to be a part of,” Mahoney said. “It’s awesome coming out into the community and being active and healthy and learning something new.”
The 2017 Cyclo.Via is sponsored by the We Can So You Can Foundation, the Town of Boone, the NC Department of Transportation, BSG, Appalachian Regional Healthcare and many more.
“Thanks to the community and our sponsors, we are able to put this on,” Mahoney said. “We are so excited we get to work with all of these people and learn so much.”