How Pedal Power changed a life: interview with Majda
When Majda first came into contact with Pedal Power, she had only just arrived in Birmingham and didn’t know many people at all, aside from those she lived with. It was her housemate that recommended Pedal Power cycling lessons, as a means for cost-efficient travel. With government finance of only £37.75, Majda decided to try out a lesson. Little did she know how much she would fall in love with it.
Pedal Power is a female-led, women only cycling course, organised and run by The Bike Project. With qualified instructors, class members are taking through a robust cycling training course, teaching them everything from cycling itself, to safety, to confidence.
It was a long journey, from Omdurman in Sudan, to getting on her first bike in that first lesson in Digbeth, Birmingham. Majda said:
“ I was so nervous, I thought I would be judged for never having been on a bike before."
But nothing of the sort happened, and Majda quickly grew comfortable in the saddle.
Week by week, the instructors of Pedal Power took Majda through cycling, falling safely and road safety. For Majda, she achieved a sense of freedom she’d never had before:
“As a Hijabi woman, you never saw other Hijabi women cycling in Sudan. I feel so proud to be able to cycle now."
For Majda, it wasn’t just confidence in cycling that Pedal Power brought her, but much more:
“When I am cycling and I can feel the wind in my face, I feel so happy. Having my bike allowed me to feel more at home in Birmingham, as I could go out and about exploring. Without the bike, I would have been so worried about travel costs, and been stuck at home, getting more depressed.”
After graduating Pedal Power, Majda was fitted with a bike and the correct safety gear. Each Pedal Power gets this donation once their course is complete. It was then that Majda decided to continue volunteering with The Bike Project, and now volunteers at the workshop every week.
But she doesn’t want to stop there, and hopes to be an advocate for other refugee women to take up cycling. She added:
“The Bike Project has been like a family to me, so I’m really happy to continue volunteering with them. I want to help break down the stigma of cycling for women – especially Hijabi women – and get them excited about accessing the freedom of a bike. And I want them all to sign up for Pedal Power!”
Pedal Power lessons run every year from February-November in both London and Birmingham. In Birmingham, we had nine graduates in the most recent course, including Majda.
Written on: 13 Feb 2020 | Author: Muna Hussen