Every Saturday morning, Gulamabbas teaches people to cycle from Balsall Heath Cycling Club’s base opposite Clifton Road Mosque. We spoke with him at the Let’s Ride Birmingham event to find out more about his own cycling journey.
My name is Gulamabbas. I’m one of the founders of Balsall Heath Cycling Club. I was thinking, can I cycle at my age? I thought ‘no’. But there were about seven of us, this was a small group that we started with.
We wondered, would the community ladies also be interested? Vanessa from Cycling UK, she gave us a boost and said not to worry, will try and provide you with some free bicycles. So, they provided us with ten bicycles. This was exactly two years back.
We started with seven members, today we are over 150 members in our cycling club. [There is] a lot of community spirit. A lot of community women have started participating in cycling rides, every Saturday, 10am-12noon, from Clifton Mosque overflow carpark where our hub is.
Every Saturday at 10am we teach everybody to learn to ride for free of charge with the help of British Cycling. One person from British Cycling comes and with me being qualified, I am also part of it. We teach ‘Learn to Ride’ 10am-11am and from 11am those people who are confident, we take them on the road for a one hour ride.
When I started, I could not even ride for one and half miles, because of my medical condition. But then from one and a half miles, I went onto three miles, from three miles I went onto seven miles and then from seven miles we did a Coventry ride, 40 miles. We said, while we are doing this, why don’t we make it a Charity ride? So, we did that, which benefitted a lot of orphans and widows. The Mosque gave us permission to use the premises, so we did something for them as well.
To find out more about Balsall Heath Cycling Club, head to https://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/balsall-heath-ccc