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Amid war, Damascenes promote cycling with mass bike ride

The war did not stop local activists in Damascus from organizing a public bike ride aimed at raising awareness about the benefits of cycling as an alternative means of transportation.
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DAMASCUS, Syria — Defying the war around it, locals in Damascus took part in a city bicycle convoy Nov. 21 to promote the use of bikes to bypass traffic woes exacerbated by dozens of military and security checkpoints. The “Yalla Let’s Bike” initiative organized the ride under the slogan “A bicycle on the road keeps the traffic away,” with 900 Syrians of different ages and social classes taking part.

The convoy's route — which was coordinated by the event’s organizers, the Damascus governorate and traffic police — took off from the Dar al-Baath garden on the Mezzeh highway in central Damascus. It was an ambitious place to start, given that earlier this month a suicide bomber had hit a tunnel on the highway, killing two and wounding eight.

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