In recent months Green Prophet has reported on all aspects of cycling in the Middle East, from new resources for visitors wanting to visit the Middle East by bicycle, to calls for a Critical Mass-style ‘cycling revolution’ in Cairo. In line with the growing enthusiasm for this cheap, green means of transport, two new initiatives are making it easier for travellers in the Middle East to opt for eco-friendly ways of getting around.
In Jordan, tour operator Terhaal has launched its ‘Dead 2 Red’ biking holidays, travelling from Madaba, via historic sights such the memorial to Moses on Mount Nebo, the ‘rose-red’ Nabataean city of Petra and the Crusader castle of Kerak, and via eco-tourism destinations such as the Nature Reserve at Dana. The trip concludes at the Red Sea resort of Aqaba. As well as environmentally conscious tourism, Terhaal also emphasises a community element, with cyclists getting to eat and stay with local families.
According to Terhaal representative Rakan Mehyar, the tours are attracting plenty of attention. “We are experiencing growth in active nature-based trips every year, and particularly in cycling tours. The cycling tours have picked up most this year and we’ve just hired our second full-time cycle guide.”
Mehyar also notes that while cycling holidays demand a certain level of fitness, Terhaal’s customers aren’t just lycra-louts. “They’re generally active and responsible travellers,” he says, “who are interested in holidays which encompass sports, nature/environment, archaeology and culture. They come because they are interested in this balance of four elements, which makes Jordan attractive.”
Across the border in Palestine, Bike Palestine is also offering a combination of community tourism, sightseeing and active cycling.
Established by solidarity tourism veterans Siraj Center, based in Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, in collaboration with cycling enthusiast and former Bir Zeit university tutor George Snow, Bike Palestine has launched its full 2011 programme, after some trial tours last year. It’s offering an 8-day tour, embarking from Jenin and following a loop around the West Bank, passing through Sebastia, Nablus, Taybeh, Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron and culminating in a visit to Jerusalem.
As well as an eco-friendly way of seeing Palestine, the tour also stresses its community credentials, using small Palestinian guesthouses and visiting refugee camps and community projects en route. As Bike Palestine put it, “you won’t be staying in 5 star hotels, that’s for sure, but your money will helping out some of the less well-off folk in Palestine.”
Read more about cycling in the Middle East
Darreja Campaign Encourages Sustainable Transportation in Lebanon
The Difficulties of Developing Cycling Routes in Iranian Cities
Harassmap Lets Women Cyclists in Cairo Report Abuse Via SMS