Members of the “I Want to Live Healthy” Cycling Club in the city of Medellín, Colómbia, recently invited dozens of their friends and neighbors to get on their bikes and cycle together through the city.
The event drew more than 80 cyclists young and old on November 14 as part of the club’s goal to connect with other cyclists through the Adventist Church’s banner initiative, “I Want to Live Healthy.” The initiative promotes the eight natural remedies for living a healthy lifestyle, which include drinking water, keeping a positive attitude, eating fresh vegetables, exercising, resting, avoiding poor foods, eating a better breakfast and fewer dinners, and promoting happiness.
Cyclists ages 13 to 60 took part in the 30-kilometer (19-mile) journey, which lasted about three hours. “Church members see this sporting activity as an opportunity to reach out and be part of the church’s concern about promoting health in families,” Mauricio Buitrago, North Colómbia Union health ministries director and main organizer of the event, said.
The event was about highlighting the Seventh-day Adventist Church through the club, its members’ healthy lifestyle, and showing church members how they can connect with the community, organizers said.
“We should go out and organize different activities, not traditional activities but modern ones today, like cycling, because it has turned into a banner sport in Colómbia,” Buitrago, himself an avid cyclist, said.
Cyclists pedaled throughout the city, stopping at the church’s El Poblado Evangelistic Center, Simon Bolivar Adventist School, and La Foresta Adventist church, where they were offered hydrating drinks and a vegetarian breakfast with fruits and snacks.
Special recognition was awarded to the youngest and oldest cyclists, a young person with autism, and a family who went the entire distance, as well as the cyclist with the most time cycling in the group. In addition, professional cyclist Jarrison Vélez, who cycles with the Medellín’s Cobelén Club, was recognized in the youth category.
“Vélez expressed to me his astonishment at how an evangelical church can hold these types of activities and include people who are not members of the church,” Buitrago said. “Next year he will cycle in Europe and said he would tell others about how the Adventist Church organizes such activities.”
Cyclists were given magazines and books from the church’s IADPA publishing house, as well as gifts from the local Adventist university and other church organizations. Cyclists were able to rest under tents and receive a massage after the journey.
The event also featured special vehicles advertising medical services that followed the cyclists.
A number of “I Want to Live Healthy” cycling clubs are increasing their activities to bring more awareness to a healthy lifestyle throughout the nation, Buitrago said. Plans are underway to have a special mobile application exclusive to the church’s cycling club so that cyclists can keep track of their distances and races across Colómbia.
There are also plans to hold the first cycling tour throughout Colómbia starting from Bogotá, the capital city, to the northern city of Bucaramanga, a distance of 383 kilometers (238 miles). The tour is scheduled to be held October 11-15, 2023.
“We hope that many people can take part in the cycling tour so that we can generate an impact in each of the communities where the ‘I Want to Live Healthy’ cross-Colómbia event will be an example for other regions in the country can be inspired to different activities through the cycling sport,” Buitrago said.