Owning a Bicycle as a Student of Eastern Mediterranean University

Photographer: Jose Onwualu/EMU Gündem English Newspaper

One of the highlights of studying and living on the beautiful Island of North Cyprus is the ease with which one can navigate around the city of Famagusta where most destinations are within walking distance, and where buses and Taxis are a readily available means of transportation. Unlike most cities, traffic hold ups are almost unimaginable in Famagusta, making it easy for car owners to drive around the city.

Although quite a number of Eastern Mediterranean University Students have opted to owning and renting cars, a few like Mohammed Simo El Kadaoui have decided to stick to the good old cycling tradition by buying bicycles of their own to transport themselves around town with ease. Speaking to Gündem’s correspondent, he stated why he chose to buy a bicycle over buying or renting a car.

“I’m a Moroccan in the department of Pharmacy and this is my 6th academic year, I’ve been a student of Eastern Mediterranean University since 2012. I always took the school bus from DAU 4 to school and around town, I definitely faced some difficulties with transporting myself from place to place because then, the bus worked hourly on campus and went out of the University every two hours. I decided to get a bicycle when I could no longer cope with the bus timetable and it made transportation a lot easier for me. I’ve had my bicycle for four years now, I got it after my 1st year in the University, I didn’t get a car because it is expensive and costs a lot of petrol and parking a car is hard unlike the bicycle. The first bicycle I got was not very good and it was small so I had to change it. I always buy secondhand, and repair what I need to repair, it is less expensive”.

He explained how he has so far benefited from having a bicycle, “Owning a bicycle is full of advantages because it makes the distance short, walking takes a lot of time. Using a bicycle makes you economize because you don’t have to spend money on Taxis or Fuel and also , cycling is an energetic sport which is very good for your health”.

It is true that everything has both pros and cons and according to Mohammed, the only con of having a bicycle is the regular servicing the breaks and tires need. He said “aside from that, I can only think of the advantages”.

When asked why he didn’t opt for a car instead, he said, “I’m not thinking of owning a car right now as a student, I don’t need it, it’s not necessary. If I need to go out with a group friends, we can all use a Taxi and whoever has a bicycle can ride it. I always advice my friends to get bicycles, they hesitate at the beginning but they eventually buy it and are always, satisfied and happy with their decision. They even enjoy using it because it shortens the distance and they can always be on time. I can always ride along with them, one time we had no money to use a taxi, we rode our bicycles very for a party even though we were drunk and it was fun. I call my bicycle My Biko because it is very special to me”.

“I will miss my friends a lot when I leave Cyprus, something special about Cyprus is the fact that it is very secure, full of young people and to have a chance to be here is very nice, you have the opportunity to meet many people from different countries, learn many things about their traditions and cultures and you even have the opportunity to learn their language”.

Story by Jemimah Atii