“We got to know our country, roam and practice cycling at the same time”. In this way the participants expressed their opinion regarding Jerusalem Bikes activity about the organized cycling tours to identify the villages and cites of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Bikes which implemented by PalVision and supported by the federation of Swiss churches aims to attract young Jerusalemites and encourage them through entertaining tours to learn about the Palestinian history and introduce the reality face of Jerusalem city through mobility, and direct interaction in the selected places. “Jerusalem Bikes” is an activity that was implemented by PalVision Organization as part of Tamkeen project, in order to increase the cultural awareness of the participating youth group in relation to the Palestinian areas and destroyed villages.
Recently, PalVision has organized more than 20 cycling tours in different villages around Jerusalem especially the villages that were displaced/damaged during the Nakbeh and the occupation of the city in 1967, such as Lifta and Qalunya. In addition, the organized tours included marginalized communities such as Prophet Samuel and Al-khalyla Neighborhood.
Through the guided tours, the activity seeks to strengthen the social foundations in the marginalized areas to activate the communication between the participants and the locals of the visited areas. Besides that, these tours benefit from the public spaces in each area aiming to carry out economic and social activities that support the locals’ resilience within their communities. Accordingly, these tours are mainly directed to preserve the Palestinian identity and heritage of the visited areas.
In order to document the selected places and provide the participants with the historical, environmental and social information about them, some researchers and tourist guides participate in the bikes tours and they significantly contribute in enriching the tours with cultural knowledge and enhancing the Palestinian national identity everywhere.
Such tours target all the Palestinians in Jerusalem who are able to drive electric bicycles through the streets and alleys, while youth aged 20-30 are the most active .The tour includes a wide range of stations where the participants can rest and get to know the place. Moreover, the tour combines between the contemporary tourist sides of the movement with the historical side of the selected places.
Jerusalem Bikes Activity also uses “Trip” application, which was produced and designed by PalVision as well, in order to help the participants have a better access to the best routes through the use of its services and programmed maps to document the natural routes in Palestine and provide the right ways to reach them. You can also download Trip application by searching on your smartphone then type “Rihleh” in English.
The coordinator of Tamkeen project in PalVision, Ahmad Hamo, says that such tours create new ways to identify the natural and historical paths in Palestine, especially in Jerusalem. These ways encourage the participants to join the tours and identify the targeted areas. He also emphasized that riding through electric bicycle is a unique idea that increases the pleasure of roaming and visiting different places in Jerusalem and beyond.