Increased demand for bicycles in Idlib

Bicycle prices have risen by about 30% to 75% compared to 2023 in Idlib – June 2024 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)

Bicycle prices have risen by about 30% to 75% compared to 2023 in Idlib – June 2024 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)

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Idlib – Anas al-Khouli

People in the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria are turning to bicycles as a low-cost means of transportation and a time-saving solution instead of walking long distances.

The demand for bicycles across various age groups has increased, leading to a price rise of 30% to 75% compared to 2023, depending on the country of origin.

Every evening, young man Nidal welcomes customers who gather near the door of his shop on Idlib’s “Corniche” to buy used European bicycles. He also helps them check their durability and quality and decide on their options.

Nidal Sayyah (33) told Enab Baladi that customers in Idlib prefer used European bicycles over the Chinese and Turkish products available in the markets due to their durability, which reduces maintenance burdens.

He added that the demand for bicycles has risen by 30% compared to 2023. Bicycle sizes available in stores range from “12” for young children up to “28” for men, with the highest demand being for size “20,” which suits ages 7 to 10.

He noted that the increasing demand for bicycles has led to a rise in prices. Used European bicycles have seen a 75% price increase, while Chinese and Turkish bicycles have risen by 30%.

The prices of used European bicycles start from $40 up to $300, depending on their quality, while Chinese bicycles start from $50.

The bicycle trade season starts in April each year, but the high temperatures this year made the season begin in March, according to the seller.

An almost free alternative

The reasons for owning bicycles vary among individuals. Some people rely on them as a means of transport due to rising fuel prices; others use them for entertainment and sports, while some prefer them for quick movement amid the heavy traffic in the city.

Saleh al-Abbas, a university student in Idlib, said he finds the bicycle a fast means of transportation in the city, especially during peak hours. It also does not require special parking spaces, and it is easy to take in and out of the house, unlike the motorcycle, which he had difficulty securing after riding it due to theft fears.

The bicycle saved 40% of the salary of young man Samer al-Zein, which is $150 from his job at a shop after he started relying on the bicycle for transportation, considering it an almost free means.

Young man Maher al-Asali (19) uses the bicycle for sports and entertainment due to the lack of youth entertainment places in the city, hoping that bicycle racing will become one of the sports with organized championships.

Public transport buses “Zajil” operate in Idlib, covering some main streets. However, because they do not cover all city areas and their fare is 5 Turkish liras, many refrain from using them for transportation.

According to the fuel price bulletin issued by the Syrian Salvation Government (SSG), the price of a liter of gasoline reached $1.294 (equivalent to 42.7 Turkish liras), and a liter of imported European diesel is $1.028 (about 33.92 liras). The price of a liter of improved diesel is $0.68 (equivalent to 22.44 Turkish liras).

The daily wage for a worker at best reaches 100 Turkish liras (about three US dollars).

People’s means of transportation in northern Syria vary. The most prominent is the reliance on motorcycles, which are considered a cheap option but do not meet all needs and are dangerous in case of accidents.

The phenomenon of relying on public cars to reach the desired place is widespread, posing risks to both pedestrians and drivers on roads that witness daily traffic accidents.

 

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