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The Globe and Mail

In pictures: Cash-strapped Greeks discover cycling

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Music saleswoman Elena Koniaraki, 39, rides her bicycle in Athens July 11. In austerity Greece, the once lowly bike is winning new fans every day.

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Briton Gareth Jones works on a bicycle wheel inside his shop in Athens Aug. 3.

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An employee works inside Mr. Jones’s shop in Athens. The number of cars on Greek roads declined by more than 40 per cent in each of the past two years.

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Bikers ride in front of the parliament during a weekly massive cycle around the suburbs of Athens July 6. More than 200,000 bikes were sold in Greece in 2011, up about a quarter from the previous year.

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In a weekly event, cyclists tour the suburbs of Athens. Bikes were formerly shunned in Greece as risky or a sign of poverty.

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Elena Koniaraki leaves her apartment with her bicycle on the way to work in Athens July 6.

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Ms. Koniaraki says a pay cut two years ago forced her to give up her car. “At first my friends would laugh at me and say, ‘Oh, poverty!’”

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Bicycles are lined up in a bicycle shop in the Marousi suburb north of Athens June 28.

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A man works on a bicycle wheel in Gareth Jones’s shop in Athens August 3, 2012. Even some middle-aged commuters who relied on their cars have taken up cycling.

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Bicycle tires are stacked on a wall in Mr. Jones’s shop. The high cost of road tax, fuel and repairs is forcing Greeks to ditch their cars in huge numbers.

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The new national fashion has even prompted the Athens mayor to start working on a public bike hire scheme similar to those in other European capitals.

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Bikers cycle alongside a seaside avenue in the Vouliagmeni suburb south of Athens July 9.

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