Beirut by Bike

Beirut is not a particularly bike-friendly city.  In spite of this fact in the fall I decided that a bike would give me a much needed exercise option for this year.  While my riding has been limited to weekends due to work and traffic issues, the opportunity to ride once or twice a weekend has been great.

Getting to know the neighborhoods of Beirut has been one of the benefits of riding here.   Most weekends I ride with friend and colleague Phil, and we often head onto the side streets of various sections of Beirut; Achrafiyeh, Gemmayzeh, Verdun, Borj Hammoud.

Phil leading the way through Achrafiyeh

Each section of town has its own personality and appeal, and most still have some remnants of the old city intact.  Beirut is quite hilly,  so we get a nice workout chugging up the hills.   Thanks in large part to these weekends cruising the neighborhoods of Beirut, I know the city quite well.

As I mentioned, Beirut is not very bike friendly.  The traffic is heavy, drivers are not always on the look out for bikers, and there is always the chance a scooter will come screaming out of a side street, often going the wrong way, with little regard for anyone but themselves.  Riding here is a very defensive act.  Thus, rides are always early on weekend mornings when traffic is at its lightest.

Biking with Phil as part of a cancer awareness event

In spite of the drawbacks to biking in Beirut, I have enjoyed riding here.  It has been a main source of exercise, and riding along the Corniche, with the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean for a backdrop, is a memory I will hold onto well after I sell this bike and leave Beirut.

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