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 forms of transportation. Mopeds, motorcycles, donkey carts, horse and carriages – all like to use their own rules like a constant horn blowing and hand gestures. Even pedestrians cross the streets anywhere. Besides, in Amsterdam, cars stop 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, in this chaos everyone knows their place. In Marrakech, bicycle roads are not everywhere. So, it is a good idea to recall your car driving skills (I have my driving license for 10 years, but rarely use it).
Where to buy a bicycle?
I bought my bike in the Bab El Khemis flea market. In this large 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 goods laid out on the ground.
My first bike cost 700 MAD, and it was a good catch. My current bicycle cost 1200 MAD (around 100 euros). It’s a perfect Dutch-style city bike, almost new, with gears, front basket and locks. The seller also gave me the receipt with an original bike number, so it is a very legal, registered beauty.
You can also buy bicycles on the online advertising pages like Avito.ma or Facebook marketplaces. In Marrakech, there as well are plenty of stores to buy new bicycles. However, I still prefer the flea market for its spirit and unique finds.
Where to park your bike in Marrakech? Leaving it attached to something in the street is a significant risk. You must look for a special guard that takes care of cars, bikes, scooters for a 2-3 MAD fee. How does it work? 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, the parking men will mark your seat with white chalk and will give you a paper ticket. In Medina, there are many parking garages, be careful, they get full speedy, and your bike can be hidden under a dozen of others.
Marrakech is the first city in the African continent having the functioning bike-sharing scheme. The Medina Bike Marrakech project is launched in partnership with UNIDO, GEF, the Ministry for the Environment of the Kingdom of Morocco and the town of Marrakech.
Medina Bike is an entity of the system operator Estates Vision, working in partnership with Smoove SAS, the bike-sharing specialist. This project was organised for COP22, the UN Climate Change Conference, which took place in November 2016, in Marrakech.
The project installed 320 brand new bikes and around 12 stations in locations, such as Koutoubia or Majorelle Garden. Bikes are available 24/7; you will need your credit card. A day pass cost 50 MAD and an annual one – 500 MAD. More info here.
Pikala Bikes project brings old bicycles from Holland to Marrakech and refurbishes them here to use them for social bicycle projects. Pikala bikes also offer professional bicycle tours.
Pikala Bikes office and the rental place are located in Medina, in the Riad Laarous neighbourhood, close to Lycée Mohammed V. More info you will find in Pikala Bikes website.
Another company, doing bicycle tours in Marrakech, is the Baja Bikes, organising fun bike tours in over 150 cities worldwide. You can book a bicycle tour in Marrakech here.
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