Sakarya, cycling city
Mayor of Metropolitan City of Sakarya, Ekrem Yüce speaks about the supports they have provided to 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship and the point, which they want to bring Sakarya in cycling.
Başak Koç: I will ask Marathon World Champion later but I want to ask about your childhood memories. Was your first bicycle a gift given to you, did you use to ride with your friends; do you have such memories?
Ekrem Yüce: In fact, bicycle is a desire. It is the best friend with whom you can share your happiest memories. In our times, we used to ride bicycle because we needed. I would ride every day for 7 km between my village Çengelköy and my elementary school Pamukova Elementary School. My first bike tricycle. When I grew old, I started riding a bicycle. Thus, bicycle was a love, a conversation, a need, a desire and a transportation for us.
Başak Koç: The excitement of our Mayor when he told us his memories and his bicycle makes us very happy. On one side our city, Sakarya and on the other side cycling. Because nowadays after the organizations held in the city, Sakarya is mentioned together with bicycling. What would you like to say about Sakarya’s adopting cycling?
Ekrem Yüce: Seven provinces in the world have been announced as bicycle friendly. We, as city of Sakarya, are trying to be the eighth. The topographic and the climatic conditions of the city are very appropriate for cycling. Of course, the population of the city is inclined to cycling, too. For example, you can see a 70-year-old man riding bicycle to go shopping.
Our city has approximately 67 km of official bicycle roads. We have a target of 200 km and we hope to achieve this target. There has to be special places and roads for bicycles. This is what developed countries and cities do. As Metropolitan Municipality of Sakarya, we are trying to nourish people’s love towards bicycle every day. Since license plate of the city is 54, we distributed 54 bicycles in an organization held almost a month ago. One of the decisions, which we have taken at the meeting held under the presidency of National Education Council and National Education Provincial Manager, is to provide the top students of the schools with a bike as a gift. The schools assigned the names of the top students and the bicycles will be delivered to them when the schools open for the following academic year. We decided on our present for outstanding success in art or sports in Sakarya. From now on, the irreplaceable gift of Sakarya is bicycle.
Başak Koç: We are in Bicycle Valley and you have mentioned that the bicycle roads will increase to 200 km. What can you say about Bicycle Valley that will host World Championship?
Ekrem Yüce: This facility is situated on an area of 180 acres. All the system here is suitable for any activity related with cycling or cycling races in the world in terms of technical conditions. It is a big benefaction and opportunity for Sakarya and it is only in Sakarya.
Now, by taking this facility one step forward, we are trying to take it above European standards. Then our city, Sakarya, shall be a province of distinctive features in the world. Our team, Salcano Sakarya BB, started to win trophies. Our team represents our city, municipality and country in Europe and in the world successfully. We undertake the duty of providing our athletes and trainers with all kinds of opportunities and supports.
Başak Koç: Can I ask again, what are your and Sakarya’s expectations from 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship in Sakarya?
Ekrem Yüce: In 2020, Sakarya shall locate itself in the desired position. We shall create the physical conditions and opportunities related to this. We determine the secret to success on four main basis. We call this “4D Formula”. The first D is to “dream”, think and travel into horizons. You leave the earth and travel into horizons. If you do not dream to be over clouds, you cannot walk on earth comfortably. If the second D does not exist, the first is useless. This is to “desire”. In other words, we need to put effort in making the dream come true. However, the second D is useless without the third. The third D is to “do”. An actual action, an actual act is required to realize your dreams. The third D is useless without the fourth. The fourth D is to “dare”. Daring to challenge and controlling your actions are more important than self-confidence.
Our city, Sakarya is ahead of Turkey and we believe that it shall be a centre in future. There are seven bicycle-friendly cities in the world and I believe Sakarya will be the eight. Sakarya is ready for this, we are ready, Sakarya Metropolitan Municipality is ready and our citizens- the youngsters are also ready. The trainers, athletes and the physical environment are ready for this. We are looking forward to 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship.