I had lived in Amsterdam before I moved to Marrakech. No wonder why, on my second day in the city, I bought a bike.
It worried me, though, how I will manage to cycle in the hectic streets of Marrakech. This city has so many more forms of transportation: mopeds, motorcycles, donkey carts, horse and carriages and all likes to use their own rules like constant horn blowing and hand gestures. Even pedestrians cross the streets anywhere. Besides, in Amsterdam cars always stops at the red light. In Marrakech – not necessary.
It took me a few days to get used to the local cycling rules. Even though the traffic in the streets looks disorganized, somehow in this chaos everyone knows its place. Because the bicycle roads are not everywhere, I had to recall my car driving skills (I have my driving license for 10 years, but rarely use it).
Where to park your bike in Marrakech? Leaving it attached to something in the street is a big risk. Therefore, you must look for a special guard that takes care of street cars, bikes, scooters for a 2-3 dh fee. How it works? First, look for a place with many bikes/scooters and next to it you will see a guard with a safety vest. Say “hi”, show your bike and he will lead you to the best parking spot. Often, they will mark your seat with a white chalk and will give you some paper. In Medina, there are many parking garages, just be careful, they get full very fast and your bike can be hidden under a dozen of others.
Where did I buy my bicycle? I bought my bike in the Bab El Khemis flea market. In this gigantic souk you can find all sorts of old things, it has workshops making furniture, bedding, pottery and metalwork alongside the market stalls and individuals with their wares laid out on the ground.
My first bike cost 700 DH and was a good catch. My current bike cost 1200 DH (around 100 euro) and I have no regrets: it is a great Dutch style city bike, almost new, with gears, front basket and locks. Even more, the seller even gave me the receipt with an original bike number, so it is a very legal, registered beauty.
Marrakech is the first city in the African continent having the fully functioning bike-sharing scheme! Medina Bike Marrakesh is launched in partnership with UNIDO, GEF, the Ministry for the Environment of the Kingdom of Morocco and the town of Marrakesh. Medina Bike is an entity of the system operator Estates Vision, working in partnership with Smoove SAS, bike-sharing specialist. This project was organised for COP22, the UN Climate Change Conference, which took place in November 2016, in Marrakesh.
320 brand new bikes and around 12 stations were installed in the most representative locations in the city, such as Koutoubia or Majorelle Garden. Bikes are available 24/7, you will need your credit card. A day pass cost 50 Dh and annual one – 500 Dh. More information here.
p.s. there are many guided bike tours offered in Marrakech, leave me a message and I will direct you to the best ones.