A local pop-up managed by a volunteer

Although cycling was a big part of Cinderella’s life as a young child, it took a backseat to her life during the Syrian war. It can be difficult to navigate the culture of cycling as a woman in Syria, but the continued instability also created a crumbling infrastructure that led to more difficulty safely cycling.

So when Cinderella arrived in the UK and connected with The Bike Project, she was over the moon to receive a bike in June 2019.  Not only did cycling become her main form of exercise, it was her main method of travel.

“Having a bike gave me so much more self-reliance. For the first time in a long time, I felt like a whole human being who could depend on herself!”

A bike recipient receiving their bike

Then the world changed with the outbreak of Coronavirus. At first, Cinderella found herself bored, then isolated. After the novelty of studying and working remotely wore off, she was quick to realise she was missing her freedom of movement and the sense of connection it brought her with her community.

“In Syria, freedom of movement changed with the war. I was really glad to be able to move around London so freely, but with Coronavirus it felt like my world got really small.”

Then The Bike Project started Cyber Cyclists. A program with lessons every day, centred on the bike, all hosted by The Bike Project staff or volunteers. From bike maintenance to cycle-focused fitness sessions, the Cyber Cyclist sessions are open for all beneficiaries who are keen to sign up.

 With classes on every day – and some days twice a day – Cinderella has taken part in cooking, fitness, yoga and even road safety classes.

“I love the energy of the instructors, and I can’t believe it’s all completely free. That’s not normally the norm for classes. It’s a great way to stay connected while in lockdown.”

Having taken part in the classes, Cinderella has noticed she feels more confident and optimistic. “There’s a real sense of solidarity on the platform, when we’re all taking part in Cyber Cyclists together.” She adds that it has been easier to cope with the isolation.

Cinderella’s favourite classes are those focused on road maintenance and safety, as it is so informative, although she is also fond of the fitness classes.

For anyone who wonders how to support The Bike Project during this time, Cinderella wants to stress the importance of what Cyber Cyclists classes do.

We continue these class in 2021! 


Written on: 15 Jan 2021 | Author: Muna Hussen

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