Saudi Arabia: Let’s Go For a Bike Ride!



I remember when growing up how my bike was the gateway to freedom and independence.  I had wheels so I could go anywhere!  Not only did I enjoy the feel of the wind blowing through my hair and lifting my feet off the pedals as I coasted down a hill but also the bike helped keep me in good shape.  My friends and I would cycle several miles easily to meet with each other and just to take those long rides enjoying each others company.  It was typical to have a little basket or bike bag so we could carry snacks and drinks.



Prior to leaving in the Kingdom I can also say bikes and bike trails were very popular in the Washington DC area.  Families and singles alike would go on biking outings after work and on the weekends.  Many individuals would also use their bikes to travel to and from work.  It was cheaper than a car and paying gas, easier to get around via bike than being stuck in rush hour traffic and again, so many obvious health benefits.



However here in the Kingdom the only individuals one will usually see riding a bike are the foreigner laborers who cannot afford a car of their own.  Few Saudis have bikes or would consider going bike riding as a pleasurable pastime.  I was speaking to several different groups of Saudis on this subject and all concurred that bike riding has not caught on in popularity as compared to the States or elsewhere.  Sadly, not as many children will ride a bike as a playtime pastime either.  Most prefer staying indoors or rather than bikes, have ATV’s or scooters which have electric engines.



So unless there is some kind of awareness campaign promoting the joys and pleasure and benefits of bike riding, I guess I’ll continue to see all the foreign laborers at various times of day pedaling around the city.

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