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A Swift, Sweet Transit Solution

Always wanted to but never dared? That was the dilemma facing many young Syrians who dreamed of cutting through traffic jams on a bike but feared a negative public reaction to the untraditional ride. Now their hesitation is turning into collective glee, thanks to “It Needs A Bike”, a grassroots campaign begun on Facebook to put more bicycles on Syrian streets.

I wanted to ride a bike for a long time,” explains one new cyclist, “but I was afraid of what society and my family would think.” But when she discovered the Facebook campaign, she says, “I saw people, all also brave, and was very much encouraged and thought, ‘Why not try?’”

Many others have likewise welcomed the solidarity the campaign offers. “We went on the first ride and in general people’s reaction was great,” another participant recalls. Of course, “a new, strange idea isn’t easy [to accept], but we will continue doing this, and people will get used to it.”

As one student put it: “We saw that the only solution is a bicycle.”

For more info – It Needs A Bike Facebook page

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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