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70 years and rolling - Cyclo Sport
Not for the faint-hearted but something for the intrepid cyclist and traveller: a bike ride in Beirut. The best time of the week to do so, without a doubt: Sunday mornings. Though sunset rides along the Corniche are lovely too.
Cyclo Sport is at the beginning of Gemmayzeh, near the Blue Mosque and a few minutes’ walk from Paul. The shop goes back to 1932, in 1975 Cyclo Sport branched out and opened an additional shop in Naher. Whether you’re looking to merely rent a bike or to fix your bike or acquire a new one, Noubar, Salah, a technician and champion of Lebanon and Sebouh, in charge of mechanics and electronics, are the best people to be dealing with.
The first bike shop to have offered bicycle rentals, Cyclo Sport has road, vintage and mountain bikes for adults in stock as well as children’s bicycles. These can be rented by the hour or on a daily basis, 7 days a week, from 10am to 10pm. Unless you have your own with you, make sure to rent a helmet as well! Getting a copy of the Zawarib (the small volume should suffice) might help you navigate around Beirut. Just don’t use street names as reference points when asking for directions-rather go with names of churches, pharmacies, big intersections, hospitals, which are all marked in the guide. Alternatively, if you have Internet on your phone, use Google Maps and trace your ride via the Cyclemeter app.
A long Sunday morning tour:
Carry on down Gouraud Street (the street that Cyclo Sport is on), all the way through Gemmayzeh, until you pass Electricité du Liban, and shortly after that, the buzzing creative neighbourhood of Mar Mikhael. Keep on the same road. You’ll pass the old bus depot (behind is the old train station) on your left and the old railway bridge. About 400m after that, you’ll get to Corniche el Naher. Turn right and keep an eye for potholes and “regars”, the metal water drains. Ride along Corniche el Naher, until you reach two traffic circles: first Adlieh, then Mathaf (National Museum). Turn right onto Damascus Road, at Mathaf (you’ll see Roman columns on your left and behind this, the National Museum) and ride all the way down to Sodeco, then past Martyr’s Square, filing to turn left at the bottom, towards “Baladi” (Beirut Municipality). On your right, you’ll have the An Nahar newspaper building and below it the Samir Kassir Gardens. Turn the first right at the Chanel boutique into Foch Street and left at the bottom, towards the Saint George Bay. From here on, you can ride all the way up to Raouché (Pigeon Rocks), on the street if you want to be quick, on the Corniche, if you want a leisurely ride, people-watching, passing by the anglers, the AUB bath, roller bladers, sisha pipes, and children zooting past in their bicycles and tricycles. Have a look at the SoBeirut options for places to have a hearty brunch – you’ve earned it!
For quick and safe options to head straight from Cyclo Sport to the Corniche, consult with Cyclo Sport staff.