One day I ride it down the Omawieen road. The air lifts me with the bicycle. It’s beautiful to be alone on the road. I feel free, I feel like the place is all mine…
I remember how, after a week of training, I participated in a procession – ‘Bicycles on the road are better than waiting in a traffic jam.’ I was a beginner, among 900 other cyclists. That gave me a push forward.
I decided to buy a bicycle. I remember how, as I rode it the long way home, I felt like stepping down to walk it beside me. But I kept on going. And, after a while, I started to wish I could ride the long way every day.
I remember the first time I wanted to ride it to Baramkeh. I had to ride through cars and buses and minibuses. I was afraid. But when I went there and tried it, I felt like I was playing a very beautiful game. And what made it even better that it wasn’t a game, it was real.
My parents were against me riding the bicycle. But I started my training without them knowing. I also trained a few other girls to ride. I would go back home, hide it inside the building, lock it up, thank it for being there for me. And then I’d go inside without my parents sensing anything.
One day they’ll be converted. In the end, what’s better? Riding the bicycle and arriving at my university a few minutes later? Or waiting hours for an expensive minibus?
The bicycle is popular. Someone will say: “What a wonderful culture.” Another: “Bravo, to everyone who preserves the environment and cares for sport.”And another adds: “You’ll build and develop this country with your great ideas…”
But the most beautiful thing is when I have shared this with others – young men and women, children and the elderly, doctors and engineers, fathers and sons and daughters.
Together we have ridden around the most wonderful areas of Damascus. It is as if we were spreading something bigger than a bicycle culture. We have celebrated together, sung as one, taken pictures to form memories for tomorrow.