Big news. Today the UMN Rome/Istanbul+Madrid squad took to the bike paths in a spectacular blitz I like to call, “Le Tour D’Espagne.” Tires practically ablaze, we were a sight to behold; the envy of Madrid! What a time! I only fell off my bike once…
Here are the details:
We rolled along the Rio Manzanares with a guide from the architecture firm Burgos & Garrido to observe the “Rio Manzanares Project”. The project is a massive redesign of infrastructure- it submerges several miles of highway that used to run along the Rio and transforms the surface above into a chain lush parks connected by a wide, curving path (enter UMN squad).
We learned about how the project’s designers constructed gardens with nods to historic France, Italy, and Portugal, and about how the crooked trees lining the path were specially selected to give the space a less constructed appearance. We learned that the Toledo, Royal, and Segovia bridges cross the site of the intervention, and that the designers sought to bring life back into these structures with unique forms and artist contributions.
Another interesting feature of the project relates to the path. The path does not separate bike and foot traffic into lanes. Instead, bikers and walkers weave past each other in all sorts of creative patterns. The designers of the Rio Manzanares project believe the lack of separation more accurately reflects the relationship between walkers and bikers in other parts of the city, and think the preexisting relationship should remain intact along the path as well.
To best illustrate my points on this lovely project I’ve included a few photos and a video of our bike ride. The song in the video comes straight from my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist (thanks Spotify, you get me). It’s “Killin the Vibe” by Ducktails feat. Panda Bear. “Killin the Vibe” is exactly how I would describe a highway that colonizes a river bank, so thanks, Burgos & Garrido, for submerging that darned highway and giving us a few hours in the sun!
*Disclaimer* we’re not wearing helmets. Sorry mom and dad.