Monday, October 04, 2010

Flashing Lights

We pulled out of Tunja at about 9:30 on a big green, Chinese-made Libertadores bus with attendant and toilet, and almost immediately came to a complete stop on the expressway south to Bogota. Strange, no traffic coming the other way.

Looking ahead I saw that all south-bound traffic was queued up behind two official looking vehicles with flashing lights on top, one in each lane. None of the other passengers seemed concerned and most kept their eyes on the Jackie Chan movie playing on the front video screen.

After 5 minutes or so we began to move, and for the next 5 miles or so made good time, all the while staying behind the 2 vehicles with flashing lights. But still no north-bound traffic on the other side on the median. Hmmn. And lots of police at intersections. I started to worry and wonder. Was this a convey to go around some road construction or avalanche? Were we caught behind the motorcade of some high-ranking government official or visiting foreign dignitaries? Were we being escorted through an area of guerrilla activity?

No, no, and no. Turns out our bus was caught behind the rolling road closure for Stage 4 of the Clásico RCN bike race. It began to make sense as the miles rolled on. The policemen were there to control traffic. The locals on side of the road were spectators. The many bicyclists we saw were also out to watch and in many cases "follow" the race. And the aha moment was when, ahead in the distance, I saw a team car with bicycles on top.

Unfortunately, we could not see any of the race as we were behind the last placed riders. And we were traveling at about 20 mph, occasionally coming to a complete stop, making a slow trip to Bogota.

Fortunately, the bus was not rerouted and we got off as planned at the Portal del Norte station of the Bogota TransMilenio bus rapid transit (BRT) system and were snug in a hotel by 3:00 PM.

View of red TransMilenio buses from our hotel window.

Red TransMilenio buses - Bogota, Colombia


Fast Eddy said...

You might as well follow the race as you did as there is no particular good way to watch. If you'd been on a hillside, they'd've been past you in seconds.

Kathy said...

Lol, same thing happened to me in northern Greece, but at least the bus stopped completely at one point & I got to see the racers go past. Amazing how much force the peloton generates!