Back during the time of the prophet, the female Sahabas, like lady Nusiba, rode horses, traveled and even went to battle. My mother’s generation enjoyed the amazing sport of bicycle riding until each of them graduated college.
However, for the millennial generation, girls were not allowed to ride a bicycle after they reached the age of 12 or 13 and, in some households, they didn’t even learn how to ride. This injustice was justified sometimes by religion (although, as I mentioned before, Islamic history contradicts it), sometimes by traditions (despite it being normal just one generation ago) and sometimes by nausea inducing medical myths.
My family never really objected, but my father never had the time, so my sisters and I never learned to bicycle. So, when we grew up, we relied upon ourselves and the growing number of businesses and initiatives dedicated to teaching people, and especially women and girls, to ride. This is how, in the last day of 2018, I took my first bicycle riding class.
She Can Ride!
‘She Can Ride‘ is a Cairo based initiative dedicated to proving that girls and women, who don’t have physical impairments, can ride, regardless of their gender, age or weight.
The young women leading this initiative care about every detail. They set the classes in relatively busy streets to teach us how deal with distractions and comments. They also rent bikes that fit the weight and height of every single one of us and encourage us every step of the way. The generosity in sharing their time and knowledge with us, is enormous.
After my first class, I felt encouraged to learn more and to finish what I started. I feel both the physical pain and the emotional joy of a new experience which is just beginning.