Cycling has become a habit to many, it is the perfect mean to either escape the city’s chaos or enjoy the beautiful countryside.
“Cyclists see considerably more of this beautiful world than any other class of citizens. A good bicycle, well applied, will cure most ills this flesh is heir to” – Dr. K.K. Doty.
The rush of everyday traffic adds decades of intolerance and stress to our already hectic lives. Constant honking, peak hour and crazy drivers are among the few factors which make you hope for another calmer means of transportation. A bicycle is the best unused tool to move from one place to another. But not only that, cycling is a versatile activity which you can enjoy out in nature or incorporated as part of a high endurance sport. It won’t take long for your bicycle to become your best friend.
We all have memories of riding our first bicycle, mostly with the aid of our parents. It’s unfortunate we haven’t harnessed this useful asset in our everyday lives especially in a city like Beirut. The roads are narrow and the traffic is insane. A destination that can be reached within 20 minutes by bike would take twice as long by car due to the overpopulation of cars, disregarding the lack of car parking spaces, which would make the whole journey time-consuming and unenjoyable. This is where a bicycle would prove to be the perfect replacement vehicle as you would bypass traffic entirely. The main complication presented in this scenario is the lack of bike lanes in the streets making traveling from one place to another slightly unsafe.
Another issue is the accumulated level of pollution in the city which may be easily resolved if everyone adopted cycling as a habit and a means of travel.
Nothing compares to the joy of riding a bicycle on a sunny day along the blossoming countryside. Lebanon is witnessing a considerable increase in the number of organized group bicycle rides in different areas of the country and at different difficulty levels.
After completing the 52 km West-Bekaa tour in 2015, I really couldn’t remember what I was stressing about during the week.
The rides adjusted for beginners usually happen at sea level, where roads are flat and physical challenges are left to a minimum. Intermediate and advanced road cyclists organize their trek according to mountain areas where they can encounter challenging hills. Chouf, Bekaa and Jbeil mountains are usually the ideal slopes and accessions.
Aside from road cycling, mountain biking is also on the rise in Lebanon. The first mountain biking trail in the Middle East has been launched in Zaarour and running as of 2015. The number of cyclists that attended the trail during its first year has surpassed expectation.
Ten years ago, seeing a group of cyclists on a ride in Beirut or along the mountains was highly unlikely. But nowadays, Sundays are usually reserved for cycling enthusiasts. Today, cycling as an endurance sport is largely expanding. The ‘Tour of Lebanon’ is an annual expedition organized at the finest level in accordance with international standards. In total it’s a 300km tour around the whole country.