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Safe passage for the blind in Mexico City's chaotic streets

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Nacha Cattan

(Read caption) Ricardo Carrillo (rear) pedals with a sighted rider.

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• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

Millions of unruly motorists make Mexico City less than ideal for riding bikes. But one group of volunteers is sending a message that anyone can pedal in Mexico’s congested capital.

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Every Sunday, a dozen volunteers are stationed along Reforma Avenue, when the main boulevard closes to promote cycling, offering tandem rides for the blind with sighted riders.

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“The fresh air makes me feel free,” says Ricardo Carrillo, a regular participant. Last year he was the first blind cyclist to compete in a Mexico City duathlon.

“Paseo a Ciegas” or “Blind Bike Rides” seeks to raise awareness about people with disabilities in a city that is painstakingly slow to adapt to their needs.

Since forming a year ago, Paseo a Ciegas has grown to about 20 volunteers and 20 riders and has helped organize similar programs in five other states.