Bikers will congregate along controversial northern Ruta 1856

Consejo de Vialidad graphic/A.M. Costa Rica Here is a map of the two routes

Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, was unhappy when Costa Rica built a road parallel to the Río San Juan. He hasn’t seen anything yet.

Costa Rican officials announced plans Tuesday for a recreational bike event on the new highway and said they expected more than 2,000 persons.

To bring out the crowds, contractors who built the roadway are donating the use of 30 buses to carry Costa Ricans to the northern border.

The highway is the Ruta de la Paz or Ruta 1856 with the name Juan Rafael Mora Porras. The designations are designed to tweak Ortega. 1856 was the year Costa Rican soldiers under president Mora defeated forces of the U.S. filibuster William Walker in Nicaragua. The bike event is April 15, just a few days after the commemoration of the Battle of Rivas, April 11.

Ortega has blamed Costa Rican officials for environmental damage of the river. The south bank is the international border. The claim follows Costa Rica’s action to bring Nicaragua into the International Court of Justice over its invasion of territory near the mouth of the river.

Luis Liberman, a vice president, outlined plans for the bike event in a presentation at the Estadio Nacional Tuesday. The event has a short course and a longer course mainly for mountain bikes. Sponsoring agencies are the Instituto Costarricense del Deporte y la Recreación, the Federación Costarricense de Ciclismo and the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, which is the road agency.

Liberman said the event was for all Costa Ricans so they could travel along the river and visit communities that always have been isolated. Until the road was built, most travel was by river, and Nicaragua imposed many restrictions.

The road, which is not complete, is 160 kilometers (99 miles), but the longest course will be just 53 kilometers (33 miles) from Boca de San Carlos at the mouth of the Río San Carlos to Alto de la Paz, Santa Rita, and return.

The shorter course is 24 kilometers (15 miles) from Boca de San Carlos to Palo Seco.

Entry to the bike event is free, and the government soon will put up a Facebook page for enrollment. The first 2,000 participants will receive commemorative t-shirts, said Casa Presidencial.

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