I am one of the first ever Cycle Sisters. I’m the founder, Sarah’s, sister-in-law and we started going for rides together back in 2016 with our other sister-in-law Nosheena and one of Sarah’s friends Emma. I’ve got such fond memories of those early rides - we would just turn up, see where we fancied going and head off and explore together! Quite quickly other sisters started hearing about our rides and soon the group grew to 15-20 people each week.
When pregnant with my third child Sumayyah, I took a break from Cycle Sisters for a bit but I missed those weekly rides so much (especially the cafe stops as I am well known for loving my brunches!) and couldn’t wait to come back. I always used to borrow one of the council bikes for the rides through Cycle Sisters which was a great way to get started without having to commit to buying a bike, but I needed to buy a bike with a child seat after having Sumayyah to be able to continue with the rides. I got some great advice from some of the other Cycle Sisters about what sort of child seat to buy and finally, two years after starting cycling, I bought my first bike. I loved that first bike so much - it was beautiful...white and jade green, so light and enjoyable to ride. And best of all I could do it with my daughter along with me in her seat on the back.
One of the first journeys I did with my baby was to my Dad’s house in Hackney - I used one of the Cycle Sisters routes and got lost quite a few times on the way but finally arrived and it felt like an epic achievement. I was just worried about how I was going to get home again! I did feel nervous cycling with Sumayyah on the back at the start especially being on the roads, but I took a lesson with one of the Cycle Sisters instructors and that really helped to build my confidence.
Now I cycle everywhere with my older children on their scooters (my two other children have recently learnt to ride a bike through lessons with Cycle Sisters instructors and just need a bit more practice). It used to be really stressful doing the school run by car - we could never find parking and we were always late! We have benefitted so much as a family by being able to cycle - we’ve saved money, we’re finally on time to school but most importantly it's the time that we spend together as a family out in the fresh air. My daughter Sumayyah loves being on the bike so much - she starts crying if I put her in the car now! Cycle Sisters has helped my mental health and wellbeing hugely...cycling with my children has really changed my life for the better.
“We have benefitted so much as a family by being able to cycle - we’ve saved money, we’re finally on time to school but most importantly it's the time that we spend together as a family out in the fresh air.”