• Headlines
    • TAP: NCA Suspends Discussion of Anti-terrorism law, Work to Resume Early September
    • Assabah Publishes List of Suspended Organizations

    Cyclists Call on Tunisians to Ditch Their Cars, Ride Bikes

    By Safa Ben Said | Jun 2 2014 Share on Linkedin Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on pinterest Print

    Tags: critical mass , cycling , Events in Tunisia , harakat baskel
    Critical Mass event in Tunis, May 20, 2014. Image credit: Critical Mass Tunis Facebook page.

    Critical Mass event in Tunis, May 20, 2014. Image credit: Critical Mass Tunis Facebook page.

    “Here people use bicycles in their free time. They don’t use it go to work. We want to change that and promote the use of bicycles as a means of transportation,” Filip Schaffitzel said.

    Schaffitzel is one of the regular participants of Critical Mass Tunis, an event that takes place the last Friday of every month. Bike riders gather next to the clocktower in downtown Tunis and embark on a group trek through the streets of the capital.

    The event promotes bicycle use as an alternative means of transportation. It first started in the 1990s in San Francisco before being adopted in many cities throughout the world.

    Schaffitzel, from Germany, lives in Tunis and rides his bike to work everyday.

    “Biking is clean, no noise, and you don’t need a parking spot. Besides, you can avoid traffic,” he told Tunisia Live.

    “The cars respect you” in Tunis, he said. “At first sight traffic might seem chaotic and dangerous, but there is actually a pattern in traffic”.

    In Tunis, Sousse, and Monastir, young people are engaging in cycling events to promote an environment-friendly means of transportation. Facebook pages like “Harakt Tbaskel” (“Cycling Movement”) posts photos and videos of group rides and biking events that are growing ever more popular.

    “It all started with a group of friends creating a Facebook page to promote bicycling,” Brahim Mzoughi, co-founder of “Harakt Tbaskel,” told Tunisia Live.
    “The first event we organized, we were expecting ten people but we had 100. For the second we had 150 and at the last one we had about 200 cyclers.”

    “We were offered sponsoring but we turned it down. We don’t want to promote brands. We want to promote cycling,” he added.

    At the last Harakt Tbaskel event in the Tunis suburb of La Goulette, cyclists of all ages came in costumes to enjoy a group ride. Although lacking financial support, riders seek to contribute individually to the event.

    “We still haven’t planned for the next event, but meanwhile people are asking us where its going to be on Facebook,” said Mzoughi. “This event aims to promote cycling. We want to have a special bike lane in the streets.”

    Ramzi Bsaida, owner of a bike shop in Tunis, is optimistic about the future bike market in Tunisia despite of lack of government support.

    “Now people use bikes more than before,” he told Tunisia Live. “Instead of wasting an hour in traffic, you can use your bike and go to work and practice sports at the same time.”

    Bikes at his shop cost between 200 and 600 dinars ($120 to $360), Bsaida said.

    “We import used bikes from Europe to be affordable, because new bikes are very costly,” he said, adding that Tunisian taxes on imported bikes add a 47 percent surcharge to their original price.

    “Bikes make you healthier, they are the best means of transportation,” Bsaida said.

  • By Safa Ben Said  / Journalist
  • Safa Ben Said is a journalist and content production manager in Tunisia Live newsroom, where she covers news, politics, and culture. She received her master's degree in English communication from the Higher Institute of Languages of Tunisia. She speaks Arabic, English, and French.

    Topics

    People

    Place

    Organization

    Related

    Comments

    Tweets

    Popular posts


    Videos

    Silent March In Memory of Aya

    ...

  • Play Video

    Tunisia's Launch of Truth and Dignity Commission

  • Play Video

    Tunisialive Living Tunisia

  • Play Video

    #FreeAzyz campaigners protest gets violent


  • Posts

    In Pictures

    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live

  • Opinions