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Turkmenistan Holds Mass Cycling Event, Bans Cars For A Day

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov

Turkmenistan has banned most residents from using their vehicles for a day as the government staged mass bike rides in the capital, Ashgabat, and other major cities.

The residents were ordered not to use their vehicles between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on July 29 as the annual bike rides took place across the tightly controlled Central Asian country.

State media reported that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov and other top officials attended the cycling event.

The roads were largely deserted in Ashgabat, where many people commuted on foot as temperatures reached 41 degrees Celsius.

State media says the event marks 50 days until Turkmenistan hosts the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

Berdymukhammedov, a former dentist who has run the gas-rich former Soviet republic with an iron fist since 2007, is often photographed taking part in sports and fitness events.

The country holds the so-called Month of Health and Happiness every April, when employees and students take part in mandatory mass exercises and sporting activities.

With reporting by AP and

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