Cycling Middle East


It takes some inner strength to battle against both social pressure not to cycle due to your sex and against a cycle-unfriendly environment:

Yasmine Mahmoud cuts a defiant figure as she weaves her bicycle through the chaotic streets of Cairo, a place where few women dare to pedal.

Every day, like for the past four years, she takes her bicycle from her 10th floor apartment and rides through the Egyptian capital, to the astonishment of bystanders.

“Unfortunately, it’s socially unacceptable in Egypt for a girl to ride a bicycle in the street,” said the 31-year-old executive secretary, as she prepared to set off from the upscale Cairo neighbourhood where she lives.

Women enjoy more freedom in Egypt than in deeply conservative Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, but the most populous Sunni Arab country still considers it inappropriate for them to ride bicycles.

Unlike in many countries, the two-wheeler is considered unsafe for travelling in Cairo’s traffic-clogged roads.

For Egyptian women it is all the more challenging given the city’s notorious sexual violence, and female cyclists in particular are targeted by passers-by.

Via Pedalling ahead, Egypt’s female cyclists hope to change narrow perceptions – Malay Mail Online.