Biking around Beirut, with its heavy traffic and lack of pavements, is not the first thing that springs to mind if you’re looking for a relaxing activity, but I beg to differ. You can rent bikes at Beirut by Bike in one of two spots, either just beyond Zeitunay Bay in Biel or in Ain el Mreisseh before the Riviera Hotel if you’re coming from downtown. You can cycle for up to 5km along the Corniche, or close to Beirut’s port where there are vast swathes of unused land.
I like to start in Biel and cycle along the empty pedestrianised roads – there are great views onto the sea and the port close by. It’s one of the rare stretches of car-free space in Beirut, and although it can get busy on weekends it’s still quite a solitary spot. The landscape around is changing progressively, with buildings slowly popping up, clubs opening and closing, and more recently, the Dinner in the Sky restaurant, where diners sit at a table suspended 50 metres in the air by a crane.
I often cycle past Zeitunay Bay and all the way up the Corniche, where you’re closer to the sea and have to navigate children playing football, break dancers and fishermen. For a break, you can stop for a drink at one of the many seafront cafes.