The World Naked Bike Ride is a growing movement of naked cyclists taking to the streets in cities across the world.
They ride naked to bring attention to climate change, toxic car culture, bike safety, and so much more, leaving tias and abuelas in shock everywhere.
And this past weekend, the World Naked Bike Ride came to Mexico City for the 13th time and it was the city’s largest one yet.
The crowds came out to protest the city’s heavy reliance on cars and the toxic car culture that makes it downright dangerous to ride a bike.
Each and every day some 8 million cars take to the streets and contribute to the city’s notorious traffic. But they also form a huge part of the city’s problem with record-breaking pollution that often reaches crisis levels.
The route took riders through the city’s most popular neighborhoods and along its busiest streets.
From the famed Palacio de Bellas Artes along Paseo Reforma – the city’s main boulevard – to the Monumento de la Revolucion, this year’s WNBR didn’t go unnoticed.
Being noticed was exactly their point.
In a city where accidents with bicycles happen all too often, these riders wanted to grab the attention of motorists. Many are hoping events like this will create greater awareness of bike safety.
Mexico City already has hundreds of miles of dedicated bike lanes, but even these can be dangerous for cyclists. They’re often blocked by cars or used by motorcycle drivers.
Biking wasn’t the only option as the route was joined by rollerbladers and skateboarders.
It’s estimated that some 3,000 people joined this year’s WNBR in Mexico City, making it the largest the city has seen in its 13 years of hosting the event.
And some riders used the event to call attention to other issues.
When you’re naked and riding through the city’s most popular districts, you’re going to get people’s attention. So it’s a good time to give a shout out to issues like women’s rights, environmental justice, and LGBT equality.
Twitter was full of reactions including a few jokes here and there…
I mean if anybody’s private parts are hanging down to the chain, I think they already have bigger problems.
Others wish they could unsee what they had just seen.
But in their defence, sometimes you have to be a little controversial if you want to get noticed. So good for them for doing what they have to do to draw attention to the very real issues of violence against women, climate change, toxic car culture, and bike safety.
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The NFL has made some limited successes in breaking into an international audience. Part of that strategy has been playing games abroad. Mexico City and London have hosted several NFL games to bring the American sport to international crowds. However, like everything else we love, the NFL is canceling these games because COVID-19 is still a thing.
The NFL is canceling its London and Mexico City games for the 2020 season.
The NFL is canceling the games because of the uncertainty surrounding travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has infected more than 1.2 million Americans and killed more than 77,000. The U.S. has the highest infection and death numbers in the world from the pandemic.
Officials for the NFL made the decision to move the games from abroad for the overall goal of stopping the spread of COVID-19.
“After considerable analysis, we believe the decision to play all our games domestically this season is the right one for our players, our clubs, and all our fans in the US, Mexico, and UK,” NFL executive vice president, chief strategy and growth officer Christopher Halpin said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate the support of our governmental and stadium partners in Mexico and the United Kingdom, who all agree with this decision, and we look forward to returning for games in both countries in the 2021 season.”
As some countries begin to ease some of their lockdown measures, the fear of a second wave is looming over the global community. Some countries have already seen some second spikes that they have fought to combat.
International fans of the sport are saddened by the news but understand.
The international games are the only chance for foreign fans to enjoy American football. With a few games a year, these fans really look forward to finally being able to don their favorite team’s jersey to cheer them on to victory.
“We also thank our incredible fans in those territories for their passionate support of the NFL,” Halpin said in a statement. “We will continue to serve them through our outstanding media partners and by being active supporters of both grassroots football and COVID-19 relief efforts in Mexico and the UK.”
Even American fans are sad that the teams are missing out on their international games.
If there is one thing that football fans love it is more football. The international games would play in the morning in the U.S. offering a full day of football before Saturday Night Foot. It is hard to overdo something that you love and football is something that people who love really love.
There was one thing of which all of the fans on social media agreed.
The Jaguars in an international game? For some fans, it was too much to understand. The Jacksonville team is not the most popular in the league and their season is calling for 16 away games this season.
All around the world countries have struggled to address the immense threat of Covid-19. From unprecedented lockdowns across China and Italy to overcrowded hospitals in the United States and Spain, the crisis has continued to spiral out of control.
However, a day in the streets of Mexico City may have you wondering what all the fuss is about. As someone who has lived for three years in this city, it’s business as usual across most of the city.
Although much of the international media’s attention has focused on President López Obrador’s (AMLO) response – or lack thereof according to many – the 21 million chilangos who call the city home are reacting in their own way.
Mexico has come under fire for it’s handling of the crisis, but what is it like on the ground?
Unlike other countries around the world and even across Latin America, AMLO has stopped short of issuing a broad lockdown due to concerns that it would batter an already vulnerable economy.
In fact, the president has said there will not be a big economic stimulus package related to the coronavirus pandemic, even though the country is facing a crisis unlike anything before.
To date, Mexico has recorded just over 2,100 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with most of those being in Mexico City. To many, that’s proof that Mexico is effectively controlling the spread. To others, it’s proof that the country is severely lacking in its testing capacity and the disease is likely spreading unnoticed.
And just an hour walking the city streets (in a mask, of course), you’ll still hear the high-pitched steam whistle of the camote vendor and the glaringly loud call of the elote truck. This has many residents concerned that people aren’t taking the threat seriously.
Despite AMLO’s hesitation, Mexico City’s mayor – Claudia Sheinbaum – has issued sweeping closures that have left much of the city eerily quiet.
The streets in Mexico City are usually choked with traffic and pedestrians – it’s the largest city in the Western Hemisphere after all. But the city’s mayor has ordered the closure of movie theatres, clubs, restaurants, gyms, and large events.
For example, every Sunday miles of city streets are shut down to traffic and attract more than 100,000 cyclists, runners, and skaters. This past Sunday the event was cancelled for the first time in years. And, last week, Mayor Sheinbaum also asked residents to work from home. But in a city where more than 60% are employed in the informal economy (taco stands, restaurants, technology shops, etc), it’s not an easy order to follow for millions of residents.
Drones have captured the quiet emptiness of the city’s streets, plaza, and monuments.
The normally packed Paseo de Reforma – home to the city’s iconic Angel de la Indepencia – has come to a standstill.
The bustling historical core – home to thousands of local vendors and a myriad of major tourist attractions and museums – is essentially a ghost town.
But in the local neighborhoods, outside of the historic core of the city – life continues as normal despite a growing risk.
A large number of Mexicans earn a living as street vendors in Mexico City. The coronavirus outbreak has made their job even more precarious. Do they risk their lives to save their livelihood?
About 55% of Mexicans work in the informal economy. In Mexico City alone, nearly two million people — about 10% of the metropolitan area’s population — work as street vendors. As they continue to work in the face of coronavirus, they’re caught in a bind: their constant exposure to the elements and to passersby threatens their health. The shutdown threatens their livelihood.
The high levels of economic inequality would mean a complete lockdown would be devastating for many workers. And so far, the government has issued few measures meant to support locals during the pandemic. So far, only older adults will receive some welfare payments in advance. However, AMLO’s government has recently announced up to one million loans up to 25,000 pesos in value (about $1,000 USD) to small business owners. But these won’t be available to informal workers.
The city is taking limited to steps to help support some of the most vulnerable populations.
However, the city is taking some steps to support some of the city’s most vulnerable populations. One such program is helping the city’s large sex industry as hotels and others businesses have closed up shop as a result of the city’s lockdown order.
The government-funded aid given out consists of a card that allows the recipients to purchase food and medicine. Some sex workers said they are concerned about the economic impact as many sex workers rely on their jobs to make ends meet and support their families.
Prostitution is legal in most of Mexico, but states have their own laws. Mexico City has decriminalized sex work since June of 2019.
Even Mexico’s drug cartels have had to adapt to less cover from a bustling city and few clients.
The global coronavirus lockdown is making it hard for Mexican drug cartels to operate. With borders shut and limited air traffic, cartels are turning on each other.
Even the famous (and dangerous) Mercado Tepito is suffering. Tepito is hugely popular with shoppers due to its rock-bottom prices. But these days, there are just a few bargain hunters about.
Business has taken a hit, with sales down 50%. But the Union Tepito gang (which controls the market through extortion) is still demanding vendors pay protection money, and has started abducting and even killing some of those refusing to comply.
Although Mexico has so far escaped the worst of the crisis, it’s no time to come and visit.
The US-Mexico border remains closed to “non-essential” travel, even though flights are still operating between the two countries. And although many have contemplated spending their days in la cuarentena on the beautiful beaches – don’t waste your time. All of Mexico’s more than 6,000 miles of beaches have been officially closed through the end of April. Some communities have gone even further and setup their own roadblocks to prevent visitors.
So do us all a favor, and #quedateencasa so we can all stay safe, sane, and healthy.
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