Latin America & Caribbean

Working Lives Ecuador

Two wheels versus four: cycling around Quito can feel like a battle. In response to this challenge, the city has a burgeoning cycling scene and Karina Davila is part of it.

She works for an oil service company during the day but her real passion is cycling activism.

"The bicycle is my life," she says.

Not only does she commute to work by bike every day, but she also spends more than 12 hours a week as a volunteer for a women's cycle group.

One of a handful of bike activist groups in Quito, Carishina en Bici aims to get more women riding.

"I spend time (showing) women how important the bicycle and environment is," she says.

Cycling for Karina is a women's issue and an environmental issue. But it's also about community and friendship.

The organisation often arranges group rides, getting as many as 20 to 30 members together to navigate through Quito's dangerous streets.

Earlier this year, a prominent cycling activist was killed in a hit and run accident. Despite such risks, Karina is determined to change drivers' attitudes.

"People have to see me and understand that I have the same rights," she insists.

Her life isn't all cycling activism though. When it comes to relaxing, she enjoys going out with friends salsa dancing.