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Women Cyclists Key to Saudi Arabia's Biking Future
Saudi Arabia has little to no biking infrastructure. Also lacking public transportation options, its cities are heavily dependent on transport by car. The only people seen biking are migrant workers and children in parks, surmises Sana Venjara based on interviews with Westerners living in the country.
But a new unlikely demographic is about to join the biking ranks: Saudi Arabia will be allowing women -- who cannot drive -- to bike for recreational purposes as long as they wear an abaya to cover their bodies completely and have male accompaniment.
Venjara thinks this move signals an intent to expand biking infrastructure, currently limited to places like the Wadi Hanifah, a wetlands park in the middle of Riyadh that was cleaned up and restored over the last decade and received the 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.