East End women get some pedal power

A GROUP of Tower Hamlets women who had never before sat on a bike are line for an award after mastering the art of cycling.

The eleven East Enders – most of them Bengali and ranging from young mums to grandmothers – are nominated for a London Transport Award.

Dubbed ‘Ocean’s 11’ because they are from the Ocean’s estate in Stepney, many of the women are now cycling regularly around the borough.

Young mum Sureya Bibi said: “People do still stare at me because I’m an Asian woman on a bike, but I’m having too much fun to care.

“I could happily just ride all day. It’s an easy form of exercise.”

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Another participant, who is a grandmother, could not lift her legs high enough even to pedal at the beginning of the course but is now confident and encouraging the rest of her family to cycle.

The project, part of Get Out, Get Active, is funded by NHS Tower Hamlets and the council.

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Carl Pittam, director of Sustrans in London, which ran the course, said: “In just three months they have gone from never having been on a bike, to tackling an 11-mile ride around London and cycling regularly.”

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