How To Bike To Work In Amman
Written by: Nart Pshegubj / twitter: @pshegubj
Why to Do It?
Daring or crazy? It does not matter. A couple of weeks ago I went to work on a bicycle, it took me 30 minutes to get my destination and I arrived in good shape. Using a bicycle for transportation saves money, keeps you fit and helps the environment. For a start, you could think of doing it on casual Thursdays.
Frankly speaking, I was a bit concerned at first that cycling culture is not so popular in Amman and that some drivers might be abusive. Nevertheless, the trip was trouble-free and many drivers were friendly enough to give me priority. Just pay extra attention to passengers who suddenly open the door of the car and remember that many drivers don’t use turning signals (unfortunately).
In terms of weather, it could get really hot in Amman, but the good news is there is not much humidity here and bad weather is usually predictable.
I went to Nader Bikes (www.facebook.com/NaderBikes) for an expert advice. Before investing in a bicycle, you might consider renting a proper bicycle for one or two days to see how it goes. I previously thought road bikes would be so comfortable, yet Nader’s advice was to get a city bike with slim tires, which was a perfect fit.
Renting a bicycle for one day would cost about JD 10. In addition to Nader Bikes, Amman has two other bicycle shops:
Safety comes first, don’t forget to wear a helmet and a reflective safety vest (even if it is daylight), I also found it useful to wear sunglasses.
Planning Your Route
Remember, you are not looking for the shortest distance, instead you are trying to take the route with the least inclination in order to reduce the needed effort.
In my case, I live near the 8th circle and I usually go to my work in Shmeisani though the 4th circle. I bypassed the steep hill going from the 7th circle to the 6th circle through Abdoun, where I went from the 7th circle towards the airport road and took the second overpass leading to Second Cup and the American Embassy and from the traffic light went left and then right to a small roundabout that leads to Abdoun bridge - cycling over Abdoun bridge towards Shmeisani was a nice experience.
On way back, I had to choose a different route as I came back straight the 4th circle to the 7th circle through Sweifieh which is less crowded than the main street and helps you avoid going through the underpass of the 7th circle.
It is a good idea to take the trip during the weekend out of taking your time to discover the route and to evaluate the needed effort.
I found these useful tips on various websites:
- Remember you are not in a race, use gears to cycle with minimum effort, speed does not matter as much as getting to the office in good shape.
- If you usually take some stuff with you (lunch pack, laptop etc.), a pannier bag is the best option.
- Leaving early to work helps you take advantage of cooler temperatures.
- Some cyclists put their formal shoes in the drawer in the office, and this way they don’t carry them with them.
- As you arrive to your destination slow down in advance and make a couple of loops in the parking lot to cool down.
Something we hope to see in Amman soon!