The coun­try's grow­ing cy­cling com­mu­nity

Lebanon Traveler - - CONTENT -

Pas­sion­ate cy­clist and the founder of Cy­cling­cir­cle, Karim Sokhn shares his re­flec­tions on the evo­lu­tion of a thriv­ing cy­cling com­mu­nity in Le­banon and his tips for the coun­try’s best cy­cling spots

Over the past five years cy­cling has re­ally picked up in Le­banon, along­side sev­eral well-known cy­cling groups. The com­mu­nity is grow­ing rapidly,and cy­cling has be­come a popular trend. The largest cy­cling com­mu­ni­ties to­day are Cy­cling­cir­cle, Bike Gen­er­a­tion, Polyliban and The Bike Shop, Tripoli – each work on a dif­fer­ent ob­jec­tive but with one mission:to pro­mote cy­cling and em­power the cy­cling com­mu­nity. In ad­di­tion to the bike tours that Cy­cling­cir­cle or­ga­nizes, the first bi­cy­cle de­liv­ery ser­vice in Le­banon and the Arab world, Deghri Mes­sen­gers (70 048673, deghri.com, Face­book: Deghri Mes­sen­gers), was ini­ti­ated in Septem­ber 2013. In ad­di­tion, the coun­try’s first bi­cy­cle fes­ti­val, Baskil (Face­book: Bask­il­beirut) was or­ga­nized in April 2014, along with the first lob­by­ing move­ment, Beirut Cy­clehack (Face­book: Beirut­cy­cle­hack) in June 2014. All the above projects and ser­vices aim at pro­mot­ing the bi­cy­cle as a clean and healthy means of trans­porta­tion, for recre­ation, com­merce, sports and to prove that it is pos­si­ble to bike in Le­banon. As for bik­ing tours, there are sev­eral re­gions that are re­ally nice to dis­cover by bi­cy­cle. For moun­tain bik­ers, Jezzine is the num­ber one des­ti­na­tion where easy and hard of­froad trails can be found. The most stren­u­ous trails are in the Bkas­sine For­est and at La Mai­son de La Foret, there's a bi­cy­cle sta­tion that pro­vides bi­cy­cles in the for­est. Mount Kneisse with its breath­tak­ing scener­ies is also an awe­some des­ti­na­tion for a dif­fi­cult level trail. For road bik­ers and recre­ational cy­clists, Beirut is the per­fect start­ing place on a Sun­day morn­ing or a mid week night ride around Achrafieh, Ge­mayzeh, Down­town and Hamra. Beirut is charm­ing at night and beau­ti­ful on a Sun­day when there is less traf­fic. An­other en­joy­able route is the coastal road from By­b­los to Ba­troun. The hard long up­hill climb af­ter Ba­troun vil­lage to­wards Say­det el Nourie is a must. A bi­cy­cle sta­tion in By­b­los pro­vides bi­cy­cles. The Chouf dis­trict is my num­ber one des­ti­na­tion with amaz­ing scenery and sur­round­ings. One trail takes cy­clists from Barouk to Maasser el Chouf, then pass­ing through Khraibe and Mokhtara all the way to Jezzine. An­other hard level, but amaz­ing, trail starts at Faqra and ends at the Cedars in the North. Those able to do it will find noth­ing but pure

cour­tesy of Jad Abou Ar­rage

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