Limehouse cycle project urges isolated women to ‘get on yer bike’
- Credit: Archant
Women who never get out of the home because of cultural or religious barriers in their community are being urged to “get on yer bike”.
Campaigners want to break cultural barriers in London’s East End—especially in the Muslim community—which often stops wives going out alone and leading independent lives.
So Bangladeshi women who have already broken the mould are running a cycling training scheme to teach others how to ride a bike and use it as a means to get out of the house.
First session of a three-year cycling project took place yesterday at the John Scurr Community Centre in Limehouse, run by Groundwork regeneration charity which bought a fleet of byciles for training.
“More women turned up than we expected,” a delighted project coordinator Zakia Begum told the East London Advertiser.
“Some were isolated women who never come out of the house. They were absolute beginners who seemed afraid, but got more confident when we showed them how to understand bikes.”
The project funded by Transport for London encourages community groups like the Limehouse Project, residents’ associations, charities, youth groups and people of all ages and backgrounds to cycle safely.
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“We’re hoping for a cultural change in the Muslim community,” Zakia added.
“We want to open up the women’s minds to realise how easy it is to get around and be independent.”
The Limehouse project based at the John Scurr centre is teaching girls and women how to ride and handle bikes, to become competent riders over a period of three years—and learn how to maintain their machines.
Muslim housewives who face cultural and religious barriers to cycling are being especially urged to join the scheme, with its young Bangladeshi women instructors who are leading the training.
There is “a very low uptake” of women currently cycling in east London, campaigners found.
The project provides a safe environment for “absolute beginners” and those wanting to raise their road cycling confidence.
The aim is to show women how easy it is to incorporate cycling into everyday life with more independence.
And no-one fell off their bike at yesterday’s first training session.