Local Cycling Hero: Maryam Amatullah
Winner in the Midlands region: Maryam Amatullah from Leicester
Keen to encourage her daughter to enjoy some fun and fresh air, Maryam (pictured above, in the centre) started riding her bike regularly four years ago. But she felt, in her own words, ‘odd’ when out cycling wearing the hijab (Islamic head-covering). Thus started an incredible journey promoting bike rides to women from all backgrounds and walks of life, and Maryam’s battle to challenge the belief still held in some communities that cycling isn’t an appropriate hobby or mode of transport for a woman. Now a Breeze champion for British Cycling’s pioneering women’s programme, and a qualified cycle leader, she encourages, supports and inspires many women who wouldn’t otherwise have considered getting on a bike.
‘Maryam inspires women... the effort she puts into supporting every woman she has contact with is extraordinary.’
Rebecca Pritchard, who nominated Maryam for an award, says: ‘Maryam is very modest and quiet about her work encouraging women to cycle, and rarely talks about the challenges she faces as a cyclist and a woman in the heart of Leicester’s Muslim community. She inspires women through her own personal example, by voicing the need for provision for women in the Muslim community, and of course, by leading her fantastic Breeze rides. The effort she puts into supporting every single woman she has contact with is extraordinary.’