Cycling lessons in the red city

February 6, 2017

‘Careful! I am going to crash’, screams Hayat who is heading fast and furiously into the crowd on the corner of the square. Traffic in Marrakech is notoriously crazy. Especially the mopeds, who abide by no rule whatsoever, cause a lot of distress on the road. Car drivers are no exception. The bigger the car, the more reckless the driver.
Safety is often named as the primary reason cycling isn’t very popular in what we call the red city. But the reputation of the bicycle as the transport of the poor, and the lack of a cycling culture are certainly as important. Luckily the population is becoming more sensitive to the advantages of cycling, for example the environment and physical exercise.
The girls of Riad Moustaqbel are courageous and practical. There isn’t a cheaper nor easier way in this flat city to reach their university than cycling. That is why the girls who didn’t already know how to ride a bicycle have been taking regular lessons.
In the beginning falls were frequent. But nowadays, after having been encouraged and taught by Cantal Bakker who runs the pro-cycling ngo Pikala, Soukaina, Fatiha and Hayat are beginning to get the hang of it.
We can’t wait to see them speeding through the narrow streets of the medina.

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