Written by Assmaah Helal
“Find your tribe and love them hard.”
The very essence of what inspired the creation of The Sydney Cycling Sisters (SCS) in 2015, was sisterhood. At the time, many Muslim women increasingly had to modify their activities considering the growing number of harassment incidents and attacks. Many were reluctant to go out beyond what was necessary, and this was having an impact on their mental health. The group was established to provide a safe and supportive community while undertaking leisure activities such as cycling.
“You can tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building one another up instead of tearing each other down.” Unknown.
Three years on and the group has expanded, comprising of women from diverse backgrounds. Diverse in culture, religion, profession, and lifestyle: some of us are mothers, some of us are students, some of us are doctors and teachers, and some are all the above! Everyone has a story, everyone has a battle they’re overcoming daily but they all have a purpose for what drives them to ride.
Over the years women have been achieving incredible personal goals, riding to raise funds for local and international charities; overcoming serious injuries and health issues; smashing personal records and discovering new adventures and pathways.
Women join for all sorts of reasons; health benefits, the social factor and the desire to try something new and exciting with other like-minded women; as well as encouragement from their family. When asking the group what inspires them to ride with SCS some of the responses included:
“A sense of belonging, safe and social: Sydney stands for belonging, Cycling is safe, and Sisters are social.”
“Sense of comradery, sense of achievement particularly with the bigger rides like the Heart Foundation Gear Up Girl. A great community and I feed off that energy.”
“Friends bonding over a shared activity and getting suitably caffeinated at the end”.
“The best part are the conversations we have during the rides, or during our coffee stop. I’ve gotten so many tips about life in general from these incredible women.”
Time and again we see women hesitate and doubt themselves, but sometimes all it takes is a friendly gesture, and a healthy tribe with a similar story to instill confidence, to show you that YOU CAN and get started.
We set limitations on ourselves on what we can accomplish because we may not be aware of what is possible, or we are uncertain about our ability. Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.