Keen to encourage her daughter to enjoy some fun and fresh air Maryam Amatullah started riding her bike regularly five years ago.
In her own words, Maryam felt ‘odd’ when she first started cycling wearing the hijab, but this was just the start of an incredible journey for her, which has led to national recognition.
“I decided to get into cycling as I thought it would be a great activity that my daughter and I could enjoy together. It’s just such an accessible activity. You don’t need any fancy equipment, all you need is two wheels and away you go. I enjoyed it so much and immediately started looking for more ways to get involved.”
When British Cycling launched its Breeze Network in 2011 Maryam was immediately keen to get involved. Now a Breeze Champion, Maryam supports and inspires many women across Leicester who might not otherwise have considered getting on a bike. She also leads local rides for British Cycling’s Sky Ride programme.
“I hope that my own story will inspire many more women to take up cycling whether it be for sport or commuting. One of my passions is to challenge the belief still held by many that cycling is not an appropriate hobby or mode of transport for women.
“I’m very passionate about voicing the need for provision for women, especially in the Asian community and offer as much support as I can to every single woman I come across who is hoping to get involved in the sport.”
In addition to all this, Maryam regularly delivers adult cycle training and supports the temporary bike parks that British Cycling manages to promote its programmes. Maryam’s fantastic work was recognised recently at the first British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards where she picked up the award in the Unsung Hero category, which was presented to her by Helen Grant, the minister for Sport, Tourism and Equalities.
“I was honoured and humbled to receive that award. There are so many great examples of
people who volunteer in sport, and particularly cycling, so to be singled out for praise is something I was extremely proud of.”
Following a fantastic Women’s Tour, British Cycling is delighted to launch #WeRide week, an initiative highlighting the vast range of opportunities available to women who wish to get involved in the sport.
British Cycling’s #WeRide strategy was launched in March 2013 with the target of getting one million more women cycling regularly by 2020. A two year update published earlier this month showed that the strategy is on track with 254,000 more women now cycling, but with work still to be done to reach the one million target.
There are a number of inspirational women already out there working and taking part in the sport and we’ll be highlighting some of those case studies throughout the week.
- Caroline Foreman – Getting more women cycling more often
- Yvonne Mills – Getting more women running the sport
- Rachel Aldred – Campaigning and commuting for safer roads
- Nicky Hawker – Creating opportunities to ride and race
- Aileen Brown – Increasing female membership
- Monica Eden – Creating a pathway that keeps women engaged
British Cycling also has a number of activities taking place during #WeRide week for any women looking to take their first steps into the sport, whether someone wants to race, coach, volunteer or get involved in race organisation - check them out here.