La Paz holds annual Cholita bike race
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La Paz holds annual Cholita bike race

Over a hundred indigenous women took part in the city of El Alto’s annual “Cholita” bike race.

Held as part of October 11 events, celebrating indigenous women across Bolivia, the race took place in the El Alto municipality, around 3,900 meters above sea level.

Famed for their two plaits, colorful ponchos and long skirts, Bolivia’s Cholitas were finally recognized in 2013 as forming part of La Paz’s cultural heritage in 2013, Emol reports.

Despite the dress being part of Spanish rule in 1781, following indigenous revolt, Cholitas now experiment with colors and accessories, adding to their unique style.

Fighting talk

Some Cholita women also take part in “Lucha Libre” style wrestling contests, after women were allowed to compete in the sport from 2002.

Photo: Cholitas Bolivia

Photo: Cholitas Bolivia

This was the fifth version of the 14 kilometer bike race, with prizes including plasma screen televisions, cell phones, certificates and trophies.

“It’s not just men that can ride bikes, cholitas can too,” the winner of the 2013 edition of the race, Laura Paco commented.

Divided into two age groups, 18 to 35 and 36 years plus, Laura was the proud winner of a cell phone.

El Alto is one of Bolivia’s fastest growing cities, due to increased rural to urban migration from surrounding towns.

The city has a large Aymara indigenous population.

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