Queen's Baton Relay: Reclaiming the streets of Dhaka

Mark and members of BDcyclists
Image caption Mark and the members of BDcyclists

Arriving in Dhaka, Bangladesh earlier this week during the holiday of Eid al-Adha was like experiencing London on Christmas day, but without the ubiquitous tinsel.

Usually the streets here are rammed full of cars, trucks and buses - a familiar story in so many cities around the world.

But on that day the metropolis of over 13 million people, renowned as one of the world's busiest mega-cities, was mostly empty - for a country boy it still felt bustling. All things are relative.

I met up with a group of cyclists who are committed to changing the streets of Dhaka. BDCyclists (Bangladeshi Cyclists) have a mission to get car users out from behind the wheel and back onto their bikes. They want to ease the pollution and congestion in their city by turning drivers into riders. Over fifty cyclists took me on a fascinating tour of the city that I will forever remember for their friendliness.

Since starting in 2011 they have used word-of-mouth and social media to help this revolution spread quickly, and now the group boasts almost 25,000 members.

They are now a community who arrange meet ups and help to encourage people to get involved.

Their strength in numbers is helping make the streets of Dhaka slightly less like a car park and certainly safer for cyclists.

Personally, I was just delighted to be back on a two-wheeled adventure. Even if it was for only one day.

Coming soon: Look out for a full feature from our day on the streets in Dhaka.

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