Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Cycle Sisters Trustee Khadijah Zaidi is finalist for the ‘Unsung Champion of the Year’ Award at the BEDSAs
Cycle Sisters Trustee and Ride Leader Khadijah Zaidi was a finalist for the ‘Unsung Champion of the Year’ Award at this year’s British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs). Now in its sixth year, the BEDSAs are designed to recognise and celebrate the contribution made by black and minority ethnic communities in sport. The aim is to help increase sports participation by BAME communities and inspire the next generation of sporting talent.
Khadijah first joined Cycle Sisters in 2017 when she wanted to build her own on-road cycling confidence and start commuting. Very quickly it was clear that Khadijah had great potential for developing as a Ride Leader and she trained as one of the Walthamstow group’s first Ride Leaders later that year. Since then Khadijah has regularly volunteered on the rides as a Ride Leader helping to ensure that we can offer supportive and enjoyable rides in an accessible environment for Muslim women to develop their cycling skills.
In 2019, Khadijah set up a new programme of beginners rides for the Cycle Sisters Walthamstow group which means that we can offer a pathway for those who are completely new to cycling or less confident, ensuring that the opportunity to benefit from cycling reaches even more women in the community.
Khadijah has also been influential in supporting Muslim women to address a potential barrier to cycling around clothing and maintaining modesty while cycling. As a regular wearer of jilbaab (full length Islamic dress) and headscarf, Khadijah is a visible example that women do not need to compromise their beliefs or values to ride a bike. She crowd-sourced tips from our community of women which are summarised in her blog on this topic. Her blog has also helped Cycle Sisters’ riders on a variety of other cycling topics including buying a bike, commuting, bike security and road positioning.
Khadijah’s influence and commitment led to her becoming a Trustee for Cycle Sisters in 2019 where she continues to be instrumental in helping to normalise cycling within Muslim communities and inspiring many Muslim women to take up cycling.
Khadijah said, “It was an honour to be part of this year's BEDSAs and to see so many people from BAME groups in various disciplines within UK sport all in one room! It was also really inspiring to meet some of the individuals who are the role models for the next generation. These people represent just a small fraction of the people up and down the country who are dedicated to succeeding in their sport. Cycle Sisters is a brilliant example of this, as we have so many dedicated and committed volunteers, all of whom make the group what it is, helping ever increasing numbers of Muslim women to start cycling.”