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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.

“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.