Skift Take

Tourists are making the most use of the free initiative, but the program hopes locals soon see the benefits of cycling as a sustainable and healthy transportation option.

The Muscat corniche isn’t the first place you’d expect to see a progressive cycling culture emerge, but with the introduction of a free bike-riding program called O’Bike, organizers are breaking new ground.  Between February 16th and May 16th, the city government, along with corporate partners JCDecaux and Omantel, is providing free afternoon rentals to passersby.  The program was conceptualized as an offshoot of the Tour of Oman, a professional bike race now in its 4th year.

If all goes well, Al Harthi, the Chairman of Muscat Municipality, hopes to “expand [the program] to the whole city at a rapid pace.”  And in a country where up to 75% of adult males are obese and diabetes rates are skyrocketing, a little bit of exercise might not be a bad thing.

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Tags: bikes, oman

Photo credit: The Muscat Corniche is the site of this bike trial. Arnold Fang / Flickr

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