Apr 24, 2018

Roadmap to a National Cycling Day

Here's why tomorrow, April 25th, is a big day in the history of Lebanon. For decades we had been accustomed to riding cars, whether for leisure or for work; that same car had been going hand in hand with social status: you have no car, you then belong to the poor. Owning a high end car, on the other hand, meant you're doing well, and thus earn society's respect in some way.

Fast forward to last year where two girls, with the help of friends, had started what we know today as the BikeToWork day, years after being infatuated with the charm of the four-wheelers, as in to try and encourage an entire nation to go back to the days the majority had no cars. How did they get around? How were delivery boys getting by? How did my grandfather and yours go to work at their younger years? It's that mesmerizing slinky beast we all call the bicycle.

I mean, it's often cheap, doesn't really cost any maintenance really, doesn't break down easily, doesn't take up much space and the best of all? you even get to exercise! This is exactly what Zeina and Nadida, founders of The Chain Effect the NGO that initiated the BikeToWork day, had so eloquently demonstrated in their recent promotional ad, that I personally think (now that I run a digital production agency) is one of the best Lebanese advertisements I've seen in a while. The ad portrays the 5 things you won't have to worry about when cycling, and trust me, the ad is genuinely hilarious and equally serious.

I very much would like to take a moment here to praise the work of The Chain Effect, a team whose effort I highly admire, that and the acting skills Nadida and Ahmad have exhibited :) The Chain Effect had been active in the country for quite some time now, more precisely since 2014. More from their Facebook page:
The Chain Effect promotes and facilitates cycling as a sustainable means of transport in Beirut through street art, community projects, public interventions and planning.
Their interventions had mostly mixed art, street and cycling, by decorating some of the hottest walls in both Beirut and Tripoli with artwork related to cycling and therefore its benefits. They even seem to enjoy all the teasing those drivers stuck in their cars must be feeling. I mean, who wouldn't if you could get to work faster, happier and in a better shape?

In addition to street art, The Chain Effect had been active by advocating for the bicycle in many other venues, and most especially schools and universities, trying to promote for a healthier lifestyle (in front of those who probably came to school that morning in a car), and an alternative ideation for a potential future.

Please go ahead and support, well I wouldn't say support The Chain Effect, but support yourselves, your cities, your children and their future. Go ahead and join the Bike to Work day tomorrow, and be a role model to those you love. Show your neighbors how the bicycle doesn't really have anything to do with poverty, show them how imbecile it could be to still insist on driving your cars in those two cities.

Photo from last year's event, notice how far they've gone with the amount of sponsors since then!