A Day Without Cars in Marrakech--article from our guest blogger, Derek Workman derekworkman.wordpress.com or
It may be difficult to imagine Marrakech becoming as famous a bike city as Copenhagen or Amsterdam, but that's the aim of Mike McHugo, one of the organisers of 'A Day Without Cars', a ten kilometre bike ride around the Red City, which will be held on April 1st – and he insists it's not an April Fool's trick!
"Marrakech is completely flat and we've got wonderful weather; what more could a cyclist want?' he said, and while he admitted with a smile that some bike owners are nervous about the hectic driving in the city, on this occasion they will have police escorts for complete safety.
"It would be great to think that people would come here for holidays and see it as a cycling destination, but this particular day is mainly to get people who live in Marrakech out on their bikes for a bit of fun and exercise, although it would be fantastic for people visiting the city to join in and see a side of it they wouldn't normally see."
Any old bike will do, but Argan Xtreme Sports, a specialist bike hire and sales shop that opened recently in Marrakech, will be loaning sixty of their bikes to riders who have no bike of their own. As well as cycling being great exercise, Saif Kovach, owner of Argan Extreme Sports also sees the Day Without Cars as a way of publicising pollution problems in the city.
"We can't ignore the fact that pollution from cars is a major problem worldwide, and the more we can get people using bikes on a regular basis the better it will be for everyone. A couple of hundred people making a ten kilometre bike ride may not seem much, but it's a beginning, and the more people see others on bikes the more they use bikes themselves, which over times raises awareness with local authorities, who begin to provide services for cyclists. It's slow going, but it's a start."
McHugo in one of the organisers of the Education For All annual fundraising bike ride, which starts on the last day of March each year, and this year his group of riders will be seen in their cycle kit in the colours of the Moroccan flag on the Day Without Cars bike ride, before they set off for the tough tracks of the High Atlas Mountains.
"We're going to bring a group of girls into the city from one of the boarding houses so they can join us on the ride. It will be a wonderful day out for them, and help us publicise the work of Education For All."
The Day Without Cars bike ride takes place 09.30 on Sunday 1 April, beginning at Place 16 Novembre, Guéliz, Marrakech. More information HERE (Link to http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a9dad216bd9de883ff568b2bd&id=e52ead2a3a) . Contact Argan Extreme Sports (Link to http://www.argansports.com/ ) to enquire about borrowing a bike for the event.
To find out more about Education For All and the fundraising bike ride in the High Atlas Mountains that begins on 29th March, visit the EFA website. (Link to http://efamorocco.org/).