Lockdown gave us loads of time to check out new issues, or take up outdated pastimes.
From Couch to 5K, to finishing mammoth jigsaw puzzles, everybody was doing their bit to attempt to keep sane.
For Sabeha Miah from Tower Hamlets, using a bike was one thing she had not performed since her early teenagers.
‘I gave cycling a go and broke my very own taboos’
(Image: Sonny Malhotra f)
This is partly as a result of as a Muslim lady, Sabeha’s group imagine using a bike is ‘not very ladylike’.
Sabeha provides: “As a Bangladeshi lady being introduced up in our group within the UK, there’s a sense of custom and younger women are told to behave in a explicit manner.
“At one stage, my dad and mom mentioned ‘it’s not very ladylike to be on a bicycle’, I by no means questioned this, till lockdown the place I gave it a go and broke my very own taboos.”
Sabeha has been cycling throughout London with Cycle Sisters, a charity that evokes and helps Muslim women to cycle by organising routes and occasions for them to get pleasure from.
Since 2016, Cycle Sisters has established a number of teams throughout London the place Muslim women can cycle collectively weekly.
Cycle Sisters was launched by Sarah Javaid, who seen that solely a minority of Muslim women cycled.
(Image: Sonny Malhotra)
‘You can nonetheless cycle and keep your spiritual beliefs’
A TfL report launched final yr revealed that a majority of London cyclists are white, male, middle-aged and on center to high-income salaries.
Sabeha provides: “Lots of people are led to imagine that cyclists are Lycra-clad from head to toe and are sometimes white. But you’ll be able to put on no matter you need to, there’s nothing to say you’ll be able to’t put on a burqa or a headband.
“Women who be a part of Cycle Sisters have a big sense of accomplishment. With changes, you’ll be able to nonetheless keep your spiritual beliefs and nonetheless be ready to cycle.”
Cycle Sisters goals to combat stigmas and make cycling accessible for Muslim women of all skills, from absolute rookies to skilled riders.
Sabeha, who’s a undertaking supervisor for the Tower Hamlets group, believes one other barrier which stops Muslim women from taking part is the affordability of a bike.
However, Cycle Sisters present bikes freed from cost to whoever wants one and loads of London boroughs supply free cycle coaching classes too.
(Image: Jenna Selby)
It’s not simply the stigmas Cycle Sisters is tackling throughout the Muslim group, however from society as a entire.
Sabeha says: “Society likes to say Muslim lady are oppressed, however after we consider ourselves, we don’t suppose we’re submissive in any respect.
“We make our choices and we simply need to create a constructive picture of Muslim sisters on bicycles however in a supportive manner.”
There are many perks to Cycle Sisters too, each Sunday, Sabeha enjoys stopping to socialise along with her Muslim sisters, in addition to visiting cafés which serve Halal meals and stopping for prayer.
Some routes have taken Sabeha from Bow, East London all the best way to the Tower of London.
Get the newest London information straight on your telephone with out having to open your browser – and get all the newest breaking information as notifications on your display.
The MyLondon app provides you all of the tales you want to allow you to hold on high of what is occurring in the very best metropolis ever.
You can obtain it on Android right here and Apple right here.
‘We take residing in London as a right’
Sabeha says: “Living in London, we take it as a right residing right here, there’s a lot around us that we hardly ever discover. When you’re on a bicycle, you see London in a new mild.”
Cycle Sisters hopes to develop their community past London and throughout the nation.
To pay attention to Sabeha discuss Cycle Sisters, go to the Down To Earth podcast.
To be a part of a Cycle Sisters group, head on-line.
Got an necessary story to share? Contact Ruby at [email protected]