After only learning to cycle in March 2020, Shazia founded a group to teach other women to cycle recognising that there was a need for an activity to improve physical and mental health and to reduce isolation especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
Shazia Chaudary said…
"I first started cycling during the lockdown in March 2020 following completion of an active citizen course in January 2020. Following the course, I decided to start a women only cycling project so that all women get an opportunity to learn to ride and improve their health. I started to practice my cycling skills during the first lockdown. I didn’t have my own bike so one of the active citizen participants lent me their bike to practice. It was used to cycle in the park with family.
"In May 2020 I managed to set up a group of women who were keen to learn. I started group rides from the local park. The aim of my project was to encourage women to take part in cycling, improving their physical and mental health and to meet new people in the community. I wanted riders to enjoy the benefits of cycling especially during the lockdown period as research showed some women felt isolated and suffered from depression. This project provided them the opportunity to come out and feel better both physically and mentally during the Covid restrictions. I set up the cycling group in line with government guidelines limited to two groups of six on each ride as well as maintaining social distance.
The aim of my project was to encourage women to take part in cycling, improving their physical and mental health and to meet new people in the community. I wanted riders to enjoy the benefits of cycling especially during the lockdown period
"The programme has grown in size over time and now I have more then 40 women participants. I have women participants from the BAME community who traditionally never had a cycling opportunity.
"My project is supported by Liverpool City Council who provided access to bikes. The Active citizen programme allowed me to network and make important contacts with people who could support my project in terms of maintenance of bikes, leading the rides and ride leaders training etc. We were meeting in the local parks, soon there was lots of interest and women from minority ethnic group.
"The project has brought people and communities together to give women a space to talk, support and learn from one another."
Shazia was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by many people.
Nehla Akram said: "Shazia has encouraged many ladies to learn to ride a bike – I learnt at the age of 50 – something I had always wanted to do. Shazia gave me the confidence to try and succeed."
Saba Ahmed said: "Shazia never saw herself as a bike leader and now she runs a group of over 30 women. I see her lead rides of newly confident women through the park and I am filled with pride for all she has achieved. Shazia has inspired a love of bike riding, the outdoors and fitness aspirations into women of all backgrounds but especially the Muslim women of Liverpool. She has led the way and proven that dreams can become reality... you just have to lead the way!"
I am filled with pride for all she has achieved. Shazia has inspired a love of bike riding, the outdoors and fitness aspirations into women of all backgrounds but especially the Muslim women of Liverpool
Mayya Alsafadi Diab said: "By starting a cycling group for Muslim women she was a huge inspiration in teaching me and my friends to learn how to cycle which resulted in us learning, teaching our kids and loving the new skills."
Reem Hakim said: "She is doing a great job. She is working very hard to improve our cycling group and get more ladies to join us. She had encouraged me to start cycling and keep it up till now."