Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Youth and Sports Services Department, together with Mersin Cycling Travelers Association, started the 7th Mersin Caretta Cycling Festival, which was held this year, from 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 in Erdemli and Silifke.
3 kilometers will be pedaled in 150 days
After the opening speeches and souvenir photos, 175 cyclists gathered in Cumhuriyet Square and started the first pedal for the 150-kilometer journey. Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Deputy Secretary General Hasan Gökbel was also at the starting point of the festival. After the opening speech, Gökbel gave gifts to the cyclists on behalf of the Metropolitan Mayor Vahap Seçer.
“I hope this festival, which will last for 3 days, will end in accordance with our purpose”
Emphasizing that they brought serious projects related to bicycles to Mersin, Gökbel said, “Our guests coming from abroad will probably see these on the route. As Mersin Metropolitan Municipality, we definitely include a bicycle path in the project in every boulevard and street that is opened or will be opened.” Commenting on the name of the festival, Gökbel said, “Caretta is our symbol. It is important for 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 members of Mersin Cycling Travelers Association. He brought us together with a joint project. I hope this festival, which will last for 3 days, will result in accordance with our purpose”.
“Mersin is going through a really big transformation this year”
Mersin Cycling Travelers Association President and Vice President of All Cycling Associations Federation Ahmet Salih Özenir talked about the festival participants and said, “22 cyclists, cyclists, nature-friendly, eco-friendly, people-loving brothers, friends, and friends from 175 cities of Turkey are incredible to be with. I am happy”.
Adding to his words that Mersin is a Metropolitan Mayor who gives importance to cycling, Özenir continued as follows:
“We, the people of Mersin, are really lucky that we don't have a President we have to tell about the bike. We already have a Mersin Metropolitan Mayor who loves and uses bicycles and is a bicycle in his daily life, and he is working with all his might to turn Mersin into a city suitable for bicycles. We, as Mersin's non-governmental organizations, show our best support and effort for this. Mersin is going through a really big transformation this year, it has a 100-kilometer bike path, incredible things are being done.”
“We all came together in the same love, the love of bicycles”
The festival started from Cumhuriyet Square under the leadership of Mersin Cycling Travelers Association President Ahmet Salih Özenir and Metropolitan Municipality Youth and Sports Services Department Head Ahmet Tarakçı; It continued on the streets and boulevards of Akdeniz, Yenişehir and Mezitli districts. After cycling by the sea on the bike path in Kültür Park, the cyclists took a lunch break with tantuni at the Cumhuriyet Show Center.
Fatma Demir, who came to Mersin from Malatya, stated that she had participated in a bicycle festival in Van before and said, “Now we have come to Mersin. It's going great right now, it's going great. We went through the city center by bike. We liked it, it was really nice to ride the beautiful, safe bike path both from the seaside and next to the palm trees. I hope there will be more bike lanes in all cities. We would love to ride a bike safely. We all came together in the same love, the love of cycling. So it's a very nice environment. Now we have a lunch break. We will eat tantuni, the famous dish of Mersin," he said.
“Cycling on the beach is very enjoyable”
Coming from Ankara for the festival, Selim İnan, emphasizing that he has been actively using his bicycle for commuting and long tours for 12 years, said, “I give myself the right to 3-4 festivals a year. This is the first time it's time. I really like it right now. Organization is fine. I really liked the places we've been to. An excellent bike path has been made. I think it wasn't there before, it was in the interior. In Ankara, we are always on asphalt or driving in dry areas. Cycling on the beach is very enjoyable,” he said.