MEXICO CITY – Johny Zepeda has been pedaling for two hours straight. Drops of sweat roll slowly from his forehead down to his eyes. He turns to face a friend of his and laughs. “Should we make one more trip?” he says. The question’s rethorical.
Zepeda is one of many cyclists that have volunteered to deliver provisions in the aftermath of the 7.1. magnitude earthquake that hit Mexico City and other parts of Mexico’s central region the aftertoon of September 19. He and his friends ride their bikes through rubble-ridden streets, carrying backpacks with food and water for those in need.
“I didn’t think it would be fair to stay home and see all that’s happening out there without doing something about it,” says Zepeda.
Zepeda and his friends load their backpacks with provisions at Pushkin Park, where they’re told which neighborhoods are most in need. Zepeda has driven his bike through the streets of the Doctores, Roma, Condesa and Obrera neighborhoods, where some of the heavier damage has been seen. He stops only to drink some water. He’ll even refuse sandwiches offered to him. “I’m fine. Save it for someone who needs it,” he says.
The scene is no different in Álvaro Obregón street. Flocks of backpack-carrying cyclists come and go, moving among passing cars and blocked streets. It’s like a Tour de France right in the middle of Mexico City.
After a short rest, Johny Zepeda grabs his biking gloves and helmet to hit the streets once more. “We’re leaving,” he says as he mounts his bike and begins pedaling away.