Uber Beirut keeps coming up with the coolest campaigns. Only yesterday I was telling my friends how I ordered #UberJanerik and delivered them to my wife. The driver delivered 2 nicely packed boxes of Janerik with a bag of salt for just 4$ to her office. Today, Uber launched a new campaign aiming to encourage voters in Beirut and across Lebanon to cast their vote.
#Sawwet16: Uber wants you to go vote:
Municipal elections begin this Sunday in Beirut, Bekaa, Baalbeck and Hermel and for that occasion, Uber is offering free rides to and from the polls to help everyone get out and vote.
How does it work?
– Open or download the Uber app.
– Enter promo code ‘Sawwet16’.
– On Election day, request a ride to and from your polling location.
The offer is only valid for 2 rides during polling hours (7am – 7pm). Maximum value per ride is $15.
You might have visited every city in the country, but if you have not experienced Lebanon by bike then you have definitely been missing out. Three years ago, my friends got me a bike, they were certain that it was going to end up in the garage with layers of dust covering it. To everyone’s surprise, from that day, I have been biking every single weekend.
Sunday for me, has drastically changed from a lazy day (±200 calories) to the most active day of the week (+2000 calories). On an average, we cover around 60-70 Km per ride, taking anywhere between 3-5 hours, depending on the number of stops we do. Our rides are not competitive, we are not in it to win a championship, but rather escape, be active, enjoy the outdoors and Live Love Lebanon.
When is the best time to go biking?
My journey starts every Sunday at 6am. I wake up, grab a light breakfast (usually a small sandwich), pack my bike and gear and head out for my ritual ride. The ride usually starts at 8am and ends by 1pm, just in time for Sunday lunch. Before you start, find yourself a biking partner, it’s always more fun and a lot safer when you have someone with you. Every week we set out to discover a new location in the country.
What’s beautiful about bike rides, is that you get to see the places you usually miss out on by car. You can go into the narrow streets, stop and admire anything you find interesting along the way, enjoy the scenery, discover new places and take lots of amazing pictures.
What type of biker are you?
There are plenty of locations to enjoy different types of rides. City rides, sea side rides, mountain rides, uphill rides, and my personal favorites are the offroad rides.
If you are a beginner, haven’t been on a bike for a long time or panic around cars, I would advise you to stick to relatively closed circuits, where cars aren’t swarming around you, like the Dbayeh Marina, Raouche, Beirut Waterfront or Amchit seaside boulevards.
If you are an ok biker like most people, then you can venture a bit and hit the streets, the best place to ride is the on the old sea side road Jbeil – Amchit – Batroun – Anfeh. It’s relatively a straight path with few slopes, not many cars use that road on a Sunday morning, the scenery is breathtaking, and there are many places where you can stop and relax along the way. You can stop at the beach and have a swim, fuel up with a lemonade in the old Batroun souks or even get a glass of beer and chill at Colonel Beer.
If you are an advanced biker, you can burn few more more calories by riding uphill in the Metn area, starting in Baabdat and moving up to Ain El Sefsaf or even shoot for longer rides in the Bekaa valey from Taanayel to Qaraoun.
Thrill seekers can go into remote rocky areas in Wata El Joz, Keserwan and enjoy an offroad experience. Of course you need a mountain bike and some extra protection gear to endure the ride.
How much does it cost?
If you don’t have a bike, you can always purchase one, you don’t need an expensive bike. You can get a mountain bike that works both for city rides and offroad for $500-700. If you don’t want to invest in a bike just yet, there are plenty of bike rentals in Beirut, Gemmayze, Jbeil, Amchit and Batroun. You can rent a bike for as low as 7,000 L.L.
All in All:
In Lebanon, we have the perfect landscape and weather for outdoor activities. Unfortunately, our roads are in terrible conditions, there are no bike lanes and car drivers have no respect for bikers on the streets. This is the main reason why I bike very early on Sundays, to minimize as much as possible the risks of getting hit by a car and avoid heavy traffic.
With the upcoming municipal elections, electoral programs should focus more on making the cities open and fit for healthier outdoor life, encourage people to go out, be active and use less and less their cars. Of course we can always dream of having a bicycle highway, like the one Germany just opened. It’s a 62 miles bicycle road that connects 10 western cities including Duisburg, Bochum, and Hamm, as well as four universities.
A motorist caught on his GoPro a bike running into someone crossing the Amchit highway. Luckily no one was hurt in the accident and the biker explained in a comment that he wasn’t driving at a very high speed and was surprised by the person crossing the road.
To be honest, they did look like they were going a bit fast but the blame is on the guy crossing the road and the authorities for not installing pedestrian bridges on the way. Nevertheless, even if there are no pedestrian crossings on the highway, you have to be crazy to cross that highway.
Earlier yesterday, LiveLoveBeirut shared a picture of a Red Bull F1 car spotted spinning in Beirut. The picture was actually taken from a Red Bull Showrun in Lima, Peru and it was just a teaser for the live F1 Showrun that is taking place in Beirut on Sunday May 22nd.
You heard me right! Beirut’s F1 Showrun is happening soon and it’s gonna be awesome! I’m a huge F1 fan so this is very exciting news for myself and all F1 and motorsports fanatics in Lebanon. F1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr, son of rally legend Carlos Sainz, will take Red Bull Racing’s RB12 F1 car on a “tour”, starting from the Wafiq Senno Street, through the Meer Majid Arslan Street, all the way to Ahmed Daouk Street.
If I’m not mistaken, this road was actually part of the Beirut F1 Grand Prix that was suggested back in 1999 (I’m still trying to get my hands on the Beirut F1 track design). Back then, we lost the bid mainly due to political reasons but I’m still hopeful that we will get a city track one day in Beirut.
Everyone will be invited to see the F1 car doing speed stretches, burnouts, donuts, and of course hear the awesome engine sounds (even though the old F1 engine sounds were much better) along the one-kilometer track.
Check out the [promotion] and stay tuned for further info.
For those asking me about what happened at CityMall yesterday, the parking rage video that Yasa shared is fake and did not even take place in Lebanon (probably in Brazil). The parking lot doesn’t look like CityMall, the car plates don’t look Lebanese and the video is at least 2 years old.
Yasa should remove that video or at least clarify that it’s not in Lebanon. On another note, why is the guy filming the whole thing holding his camera the wrong way? Unacceptable 😛
I spotted a highway led display board installed at the exit of Nahr el Kalb tunnel towards Beirut. The board said “Lebanese Traffic Management at your service”. There’s another LED board being installed on the Dora highway at the Forum de Beyrouth.
There’s always traffic at this point so I’m not sure they will be of any help. If anything they should get a bigger screen and show a couple of Friends or Seinfeld episodes every morning to entertain us while stuck in traffic lol!
Nevertheless, it’s still a good idea. Let’s just hope they are properly powered and installed.
PS: Nahr el Kalb – Dbayyeh road desperately needs a pedestrian bridge.
Ken Block revealed yesterday the 8th installment of Gymkhana which was shot in Dubai. I was there when Block was shooting the Gymkhana and I even got to meet him during the unveiling of Ford’s all-new GT supercar at the Dubai Motor Show.
Gymkhana 8 is amazing and has everything you want to see in Dubai. I loved the donuts around the fleet of super-police cars and underneath the plane, the drag race with a Veyron, Ferrari F12, Lexus LFA and Lamborghini Aventador and the tricks he pulled on Sheikh Zayed road with the huge Ford Raptor SVT (I love that truck!).
My favorite Gymkhana is still though the Los Angeles one where Block drove a monstrous 845 HP All-wheel drive 1965 Ford Mustang. Now what would be awesome is to have a Gymkhana Beirut edition. I know it’s a long shot but our roads are ideal for a Gymkhana, from the city to the mountains. If Block needs an extra special reason to come here, We can even ask the cops to drift along Block with their Chargers, how cool would that be? 😛
I stopped going to the Mecanique years ago after hearing the horror stories of waiting for 4+ hours in line added to the fact that there’s wasta everywhere. More importantly, cars are not inspected properly and we can clearly see that from all these half-wrecked vehicles with barely any lights and a missing door that shouldn’t be allowed on the road.
This year, my friend went to have his car checked but it failed because one of the tires, so he bribed one of the guys there and his car passed. I told him he should have filmed the whole thing. Luckily enough, MTV went there and filmed how the bribes happen.
By the way, don’t ever try to fix your car in the garages outside the Mecanique in Hadath because most of them will rip you off or ruin your car. Some might even charge u ridiculous amounts for changing ur brakes and threaten you if you don’t pay.
Update: the demo was cancelled as the cabinet has approved the construction of a U-shaped bridge on the Jal el-Dib highway.
It’s been three years now that the Jal el Dib bridge got dismantled and there are still no plans to build a new one. Jal el Dib Residents still want a new bridge and they are going back to the streets to protest tomorrow at 6PM. To be honest, I think they have every right to demand a new bridge and they’ve been suffering for 3 years now but blocking roads at 6PM on a Thursday is disastrous and people will start cursing them instead of supporting them.
I recommend you stay in Beirut and enjoy happy hour in Mar Mikhael or Uruguay street till the protest is over.