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How This Woman Went From a Novice to Cycling Over 1000 Miles

Muslim woman Cyclist
Fatima Ahmed

Fatima Ahmed is about to take part in one of the UK’s most difficult cycling challenges, the Pan Celtic Ultra, which spans over 1000 miles. 

To prepare for the ultra-endurance cycle, which starts on July 6th, Fatima has gone through months of training, cycling over 2000 miles since the beginning of 2024 alone. 

She's taken part in several cycling events this year already including Cycle Sisters' winter cycling challenge, Smiles and Miles, Etape Caledonia, an 85 mile route through the mountainous Scottish Highlands, and RideLondon 100.

Muslim Pakistani female cyclist
Fatima Ahmed at Women's Time Trial in June

Her participation in the Pan Celtic Ultra is in part thanks to the Ultra Distance Scholarship, a scheme set up to help increase diversity in the sport of ultra-distance cycling.

Just a few years ago, the 52-year-old mum of three was not a confident cyclist at all, having cycled infrequently as a child.  

When her workplace, the London Borough of Hounslow,  placed her in charge of adult cycle training, she decided to take lessons herself. 

In her role, Fatima increased the number of people accessing the borough’s cycling sessions from 100 per year to over 1600, an achievement for which she was named as one of Cycling UK’s 100 women in Cycling.

Fatima became a commuter cyclist who would travel to work or do the school run by bike, but only saw cycling as a means of transport. 

In 2020 this all changed when she met Samra Said, the Chair of Cycle Sisters. The pair became friends and started cycling and taking part in long distance cycle challenges together. 

In 2021 they set up Cycle Sisters’ Hounslow group and trained as volunteer Ride Leaders to help get more women into cycling. 

“The last few years have been a rollercoaster on my bike. I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been in my whole life. Cycling has definitely changed my life for the better. The community we have at Cycle Sisters is just amazing. We’ve elevated cycling for our own communities. It’s just so wonderful to bring people into that." Fatima Ahmed

Muslim woman cyclist
Fatima before the race on the Isle of Man

Fatima's race kicked off at 7pm July 6th with a lap of the Isle of Man, before heading over to the mainland along the western coast of England and up to the end point of Inverness, Scotland.

We would like to wish you all the best, Fatima!

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