Startup of the Week: SPiN: Cycling one’s way to better health and lifestyle
SPiN was established in early 2019 by a 25-year-old Saudi business consultant Manie Al-Khaldi
Updated 03 December 2019
SPiN is a startup company that offers public services through a rental bicycle shop. It aims to make cycling accessible and available.
SPiN was established in early 2019 by a 25-year-old Saudi business consultant Manie Al-Khaldi.
During his studies in San Francisco in 2013, he bought his first US-made hybrid bicycle, and since then his passion for cycling has only grown.
Upon his return to the Kingdom, Al-Khaldi found likeminded people up for new adventures. “I found a lot of them. However, it was an individual effort, and it needed a form of institutional work.
“The initiative of getting people engaged in such an activity for a better and healthier lifestyle came to my mind, by offering bikes at all times to the community,” he told Arab News
The Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh was chosen as SPiN’s prime location, based on two main factors: Safety and population.
“Because safety always comes first, we studied multiple locations in the city of Riyadh, such as Hanifa Valley, Riyadh Front, Ammariyah, and the Diplomatic Quarter. We found the latter to be the best in terms of the infrastructure, attractive parks and landscape, fabulous views and, most importantly, relatively low car speeds,” Al-Khaldi said.
SPiN is creating a strategic partnership, as they are still in discussions with governmental entities such as the General Sport Authority (GSA) and General Entertainment Authority.
It is a people-based initiative and has surveyed hundreds of people from different genders and backgrounds regarding bicycles.
“Our survey includes multiple-choice questions, including the subject’s desired cycling destinations. About 49 percent chose the Diplomatic Quarter as a prime location due to its high security and great safety standards,” Al-Khaldi explained.
“We believe that the area will be the gateway for living the Saudi dream. We will make it a benchmark for other cities,” he added
SPiN’s objectives are aligned with Saudi Vision 2030 and its pillars. “We are looking forward to being one of the contributors to realizing it. Our objectives at SPiN are to promote a healthier lifestyle, diversify sports, and increase social engagement.”
As well as this, SPiN also aims to build on the twin pillars of economic solvency and national prestige. “We are projected to break even in the first 6 months of our launch. An ambitious nation is the third pillar (of Saudi Vision 2030), and we will contribute to it by hiring a local talented team,” Al-Khaldi said.
Quoting the president of the GSA, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, he added: “The most practiced sports in the Kingdom are walking, jogging, and cycling. At SPiN, we hope to provide the best service for one of the most practiced sports.”
SPiN is working to launch its first location before the end of 2019, or by the start of 2020. It launched an Instagram account (@SPiN.sa) as an initial move to engage more with the Kingdom’s cycling community.
Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack
The attack, in which a Saudi gunman killed three Americans, is viewed as an act that does not represent Saudi people
The OIC has said the attacker did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people
Updated 08 December 2019
Rawan Radwan and Noor Nugali
From the king and top-level Saudi government officials to everyday Saudi citizens, all are united in condemning the attack on a US Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, calling it as “un-Islamic” and barbaric.
The shooting of three Americans by a Saudi gunman was an individual attack that does not represent the Kingdom’s people, it has been widely stressed.
For decades, many Saudis have lived in the US for work or attended universities across many states, becoming their own ambassadors.
Nedda Akhonbay, a communications professional working in Jeddah, expressed her sadness when she heard the news.
“My condolences go out to the families of the victims as I hope they find peace in their lives after facing such a tragedy. As a Saudi-American and having spent many formative years in the US and made friends who became like family, I thought this attack was very close to home and I hope both people work together to get past it.”
“As a student who lived in the States, I never faced any problems for being a Muslim,” said Alaa Sendi, an American-Saudi lecturer working in Jeddah University.
Having obtained a PhD in electrical engineering, Dr. Nazih Al-Othmani lived between the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania for ten years in the late 1990s and was in the US during the 9/11 attacks. He recalled how Americans understood that such atrocious attacks never represented a community, and this one was no exception.
“The tragic event that took place yesterday does not represent us, this attack is unacceptable regardless of any reason and no sane person can ever accept it,” he said. “I lived in the States for many years, I was also there on 9/11, and made many American friends throughout my time there. They stood by us, they helped us, protected us and our relationship was very civil and courteous. We need to stand together to combat this dangerous tendency that can be found in every community.”
Many Saudis are angered over the actions of this one individual. Dr. Al-Othmani expressed his concerns about those who would take advantage of the situation and try to point a finger at Saudis.
“Though right-wingers will take advantage of the event and attack Saudi Arabia, I don’t believe many Americans will see it that way. Americans are aware enough to differentiate between the nationality of an individual and his actions,” he said.
Al-Othmani recommends that Saudi students communicate, cooperate and extend a hand of friendship to their respective communities.
In the decades of friendship and cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia, many Americans have come to work in the Kingdom and some have made it their home.
Dr. Alia Mitchell, vice dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, is an American citizen who has been a Muslim for more than 30 years and has lived in the Kingdom for more than 20 years. She has chosen to live in the Kingdom as she sees the beauty of the religion interwoven into society, one that she believes is not represented by the shooter.
“When something tragic that happens like this, it’s on the individual,” she said. “it doesn’t go back to the community or the society.
“I’m still sickened and mostly very, very saddened with this tragedy,” said Melanie H. “I’ve a son the same age as the shooter and can’t imagine what the pain and grief his actions would do to me as a parent. To learn that your son has caused so much hell… that he has taken others’ lives.”
She said: “I lived in Saudi Arabia for over 10 years and I have experienced Saudi’s hospitality, warmth — nothing like what I imagined or expected before arriving. It isn’t perfect but then what country or nation is?”
“Now that the country has opened its doors to the world, people really shouldn’t judge the book by its cover especially when criminals like this shooter make such a false, misleading cover.”
Melanie H continued: “Do not judge a people by an individual — that’s what we Americans are all about. No judging.”
“This crime does not represent us as Saudis,” said Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, minister of Islamic Affairs, on his personal Twitter account. “We reject such criminal acts and we sympathize with the injured and the families of the victims. It is a horrible crime and a dishonest act.
“We condemn crimes anywhere and anytime, and we stress our complete rejection of such horrible criminal acts which Islam forbids.”
Saudi scholar and Imam of Quba Mosque in Madinah Saleh Al-Maghamsi shared the same notion. He said: “This incident should be stripped away from religion and from the country to which whoever committed this criminal act is affiliated. The Shariah does not approve of this act for it violates the texts of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet, which is based on the principle of no bloodshed. Logic also does not approve of this action.”
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The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the aggressor did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people and all Muslims who believe in tolerance, moderation and coexistence.
The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia also condemned the shooting incident in Florida and called it a heinous crime.
Describing it as a crime against humanity, the senior scholars stressed that such actions were against the true teachings of Islam. They said that the Saudi people will continue to uphold their noble values and contribute to the progress and prosperity of the world and humanity.