Odunayo Comfort Adeyemi
Comfort joined the Bike Project – a charity supporting refugees and asylum seekers – in 2017 having never cycled before. Her mental health and life were in crisis but cycling has helped her build her life back. Now a qualified NSI cycle trainer, Comfort delivers skills and workshops sessions to other women.
Odunayo Comfort Adeyemi said:
"My cycling experience started when I was living in a hostel where I came across a leaflet of The Bike Project's Pedal Power. The charity supports refugees and asylum seekers by providing a bike to help them get around.
"My mental health and life were in complete crisis prior to learning to ride a bike. But since learning, I have been able to gradually build back my life as it helped improve my mental wellness and gave me the will to live. I found a second chance in life through cycling.
I have been able to gradually build back my life as it helped improve my mental wellness and gave me the will to live. I found a second chance in life through cycling
Odunayo Comfort Adeyemi
"In 2017 when I first learnt to cycle, I realised how much I have missed in life but I soon was able to catch up with the lost times. I was offered the opportunity to support other asylum seekers and refugee women at the pedal power sessions and I'm really glad that I took the opportunity. I was sponsored to become a qualified cycling instructor and hone my bike mechanic skills at the charity's workshop. This empowered me to gain the adequate knowledge and skills needed to support other women and I haven't looked back ever since.
"I can't imagine what would have become of me if I had not found cycling and the ability to support others. I have realised that through supporting others, I myself have found a great support system and it gives me so much joy to see women pedal independently for the first time. The women have been a great inspiration to me and I look forward to being able to do more.
"Sharing my personal experience with the women and volunteering at The Bike Project gave me the potential to be all that I can be. I went from not being able to ride to teaching others and taking part in RideLondon."
"Comfort joined our classes in late 2017 having never cycled before. Not only did she learn to ride independently on the road, she went on to qualify as an NSI cycle trainer. For over a year now, she has been part of our team delivering training to our current students, as a volunteer.
"On top of that, she has been a regular volunteer in our workshop and learnt all the skills to help us to refurbish bikes for our beneficiaries.
"She has completely blown open our expectations of what this program can achieve and is such an inspiration for everyone involved in the project: staff, volunteers and of course our beneficiaries.
For Comfort to have achieved so much during this difficult time demonstrates what a strong and talented woman she is. To have her as part of our team is such a privilege.
"The asylum process is distressing and exhausting. For Comfort to have achieved so much during this difficult time demonstrates what a strong and talented woman she is. To have her as part of our team is such a privilege. She can truly relate to our participants with her own lived experience. Moreover, she is the proof that cycling is very much a space/sport that all women, especially migrant women, not only belong in, but can thrive in.
"From teaching, public advocacy and painting the artwork for our Christmas cards, it is hard to put into words how much we value her generous input and contribution to our charity.
"Come 2021, as a newly appointed member on the board of trustees, she will go on to have an even more influential voice at the highest level. Without women like Comfort, taking on leading roles and speaking authentically for the struggles of refugee and asylum-seeking women, our charity could never be so impactful. We can't thank her enough for the legacy she has already laid down."