The Department of Youth and Sports Services of the Metropolitan Municipality of Mersin, together with the Mersin Cycling Travelers Association, launched the 7th Mersin Caretta Cycling Festival, which was held this year since Cumhuriyet Square. A total of 22 cyclists from 175 cities in Turkey participated in the festival, which will start from the city center and continue to Erdemli and Silifke.
3 kilometers will be cycled in 150 days
After the opening speeches and souvenir photos, 175 cyclists gathered in Cumhuriyet Square and started pedaling for the 150-kilometer route. The deputy general secretary of the Mersin Metropolitan Municipality, Hasan Gökbel, was also at the starting point of the festival. After the opening speech, Gökbel presented gifts to cyclists on behalf of Metropolitan Mayor Vahap Seçer.
“I hope that this festival, which will last 3 days, will end in accordance with our objective”
Emphasizing that they have brought serious bicycle-related projects to Mersin, Gökbel said: “Our guests from abroad will probably see them on the road. As the metropolitan municipality of Mersin, we definitely include a cycle path in the project in every boulevard and street that is open or will be open. Commenting on the name of the festival, Gökbel said: “Caretta is our symbol. It is important to us that the name of this festival, which will be held for the 7th time, is Caretta. I would also like to thank the President and the members of the Mersin Cycling Voyageurs Association. He brought us together around a common project. I hope that this festival, which will last 3 days, will be in line with our objective ”.
“Mersin is going through a very big transformation this year”
The President of the Mersin Cycling Travelers Association and Vice President of the Federation of All Cycling Associations, Ahmet Salih Özenir, spoke about the festival participants and said: “22 cyclists, cyclists, brothers, friends and Nature-friendly, eco-friendly and people-loving friends from 175 cities in Turkey are amazing to be with. I am happy”.
Adding to his comments that Mersin is a metropolitan mayor who values cycling, Özenir continued as follows:
“We, the people of Mersin, are really lucky that we don’t have a president to talk to about motorcycles. We already have a Metropolitan Mayor of Mersin who loves and uses the bicycle and is a bicycle in his daily life, and he is working with all his might to make Mersin a bicycle-friendly city. We as Mersin non-governmental organizations are showing our best support and efforts for this. Mersin is going through a very big transformation this year, there is a 100 kilometer cycle path, amazing things are being done. “
“We all came together in the same love, the love of cycling”
The festival kicked off at Cumhuriyet Square under the leadership of the President of the Mersin Bicycle Travelers Association, Ahmet Salih Özenir, and the Head of the Department of Youth and Sports Services of the Metropolitan Municipality, Ahmet Tarakçı; It continued in the streets and boulevards of the districts of Akdeniz, Yenişehir and Mezitli. After cycling by the sea on the Kültür Park cycle path, the cyclists took a lunch break with tantuni at the Cumhuriyet Show Center.
Fatma Demir, who came to Mersin from Malatya, said that she had already participated in a bicycle festival in Van and said: “Now we have come to Mersin. It’s going very well at the moment, it’s going very well. We cycled through the city center. We liked it, it was really nice to ride on the nice safe bike path both by the seaside and next to the palm trees. I hope there will be more cycle paths in all cities. We would like to cycle safely. We all came together in the same love, the love of cycling. It is therefore a very beautiful environment. Now we have a lunch break. We are going to eat tantuni, the famous dish from Mersin, ”he said.
“Cycling on the beach is very pleasant”
Coming from Ankara for the festival, Selim İnan, stressing that he has actively used his bicycle for commuting and long journeys for 12 years, said: “I give myself the right to 3-4 festivals per year. It is the first time that it is time. I really like it right now. The organization is good. I really liked the places we went. An excellent cycle path has been created. I don’t think it was there before, it was inside. In Ankara, we are always on asphalt or driving in dry areas. Biking on the beach is very nice, ”he said.