Burçin Tarhan

Hi! I am Burçin Tarhan. I am working as a drama and theater instructor. I am 37 years old. I have been riding the bicycle for seven years and have been a cycling activist for five years now. I have established the organization called “Woman on bike”. Our aim is to show the benefits of riding a bike, including the feeling of freedom while riding, being a part of nature and to show women that they are also the part of the ongoing city traffic. That’s why we are teaching them how to ride a bicycle.

How would you describe your mission?

My mission is to present the bicycle as a vehicle that can help a person travel through a city without causing environmental or social damage. I also want to make people aware of the true freedom they can feel if they choose to ride a bicycle.

What are the obstacles and challenges you are facing in your city?

As a cyclist in Ankara, my main problem is that we have very few bicycle lanes. That issue is causing us to ride our bikes in real danger, in streets with high car, bus and truck traffic. We need to have safer roads for bicycle use. Many of our friends are suffering from this problem. Many people have died or have been harmed. We cannot breathe fresh air either because of traffic pollution. What’s worse is that many people are still perceiving cycling as a childish hobby.

What are the next steps now that you are the Bicycle Mayor?

As a Bicycle Mayor, my first aim is to encourage people to ride more. Women and children especially must be supported. I am planning certain festivals and events that will teach bicycle riding, while showcasing the happiness of moving by yourself while pedaling. For the time being, I am producing YouTube live videos about cycling with the Greater Municipality of Ankara, showing different types of bikes, how to take care of your bike, basic rules of riding bicycle in the traffic.

What lesson can your city teach others?

About 7 years ago, we had nearly zero commuter bicycle use. Today, more people are starting to use their bikes to get around and that fact stressed to the municipality the need for bicycle lanes. There is hope for every city.