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Hustles + Hobbies With #GirlOnAMountainBike Iman

by in Lifestyle on 29th May, 2022

At Amaliah, we’ve started a series talking to women who are championing the art of hobbies. We’ve spoken to Esra Alhamal about the art of Islamic illumination, Azeezat Adeola about mindfulness in knitting and how to get started and knitting for social issues, Neda about pole fitness, body confidence and online trolls, Chaimaa Creates about baking and cake design, Katie Haseeb about illustrating and fine arts, Brooke Benoit about jewellery design, Firdaws Clotaire about ceramics and pottery-making, and Zainab Alema about her journey to becoming a professional rugby player and encouraging more Muslim women to get involved in sports.

This time, we’re speaking to Iman about being an Enduro cyclist and Mountain Biker.

If you would like to interview a Muslim woman about her hobby/hustle, get in touch: selina@amaliah.com


How did you get into this hobby?

I probably started cycling way before I could walk as a kid but then picked it up more consistently when I joined university as it was a convenient way to get there and back. I had a lot of free time in my first years of uni and ended up loving cycling and kept at it till date 6 years later. Since then I have grown from cycling 5km to 200km a day and more! My first race saw me to be the only woman competing in an all male race which took place on the North Coastal area of Kenya. Although cycling in Kenya is struggling as a sport with limited opportunities for women, I am determined to bring the best to the game.

What is your favourite thing about cycling?

I love cycling. It takes me to the wilderness where I explore new routes with the touch of peace and fresh air. I also get to unwind and think about my goals without distractions of any sort. Cycling is my therapy.

What is the most challenging thing about cycling?

Expenses. Cycling is a very expensive hobby I won’t lie. Especially when you get to the level that I am on now. For instance, my bike spoiled from this big race I went to last June and you wouldn’t believe it if I tell you I haven’t been able to fix it yet. It’s 2 months until it’s a year since my bike spoiled. So again back to my point, it’s quite expensive as I’m running on a partially damaged bicycle for now.

How do you stay motivated?

Good friends and my mom. I have friends who constantly remind me what I want, even when they don’t know that they are. My mom also is my big motivation because I know that part of me cycles to eventually become a professional, and considering that my mom has been the only one giving me the effortless consistent support and blocking all the opinions from friends and family about my cycling, I need to show her that it’s been beneficial to me. 

Whether I become a professional cyclist or not, my mom appreciates the impacts that cycling has had in my life and this really motivates me to keep going.

What is the work that you are most proud of, and why?

During early covid era, I took my time and skill and started teaching ladies how to ride bikes from scratch at a small price. By the end of the year 2020, I had taught up to 10 ladies how to ride a bicycle and improved the skills of more than 5 other ladies who already knew how to ride a bicycle but needed the extra courage and motivation especially with mountain biking and even road biking.

I am very proud of this as I had a chance to spread the knowledge I had to others which gave me a feeling of contentment.

Between your hobby and work, family, personal errands etc. how do you organise your time and make sure that you’re staying on top of everything?

I use the prioritisation method. I prioritise what’s more important to me and just like that I organise my time to fit all my needs. For example, on a normal university going day :

I wake up at 5am and after my morning prayer, I head out for at least an hour or two for cycling.

Come back home, prepare for school and whatever errands I have that need attention. I make sure I’m back home before my Maghreb prayer and the night is for family and catching up with friends online. This changes with what is important on a specific day.

Who are your biggest inspirations/who are the people making waves in this field?

My biggest inspiration is Isla Short who is a British MTB national champion and also my very good friend. We met online and I promise you we’ve had the best two years of our lives knowing each other.

She inspires me and reminds me that my dreams are valid.

What would be your advice for someone that wants to get into cycling?

My first advise will be not to fall into the trap of listening to everyone’s opinion especially uninformed opinions about cycling. Do your research, try everything until you find what you like. 

If you need help just shoot me a message on Instagram @imanqueeen

You can find Iman on Youtube and visit her site imankagumba.com

Selina Bakkar

Selina Bakkar

I'm a simply striving to be better and improve in different areas of my life through more self awareness, experiences and learning more about the deen. You'll find me talking about community, connection, planting & growing, seeking the truth in an age of propaganda and misinformation. This year I want to document more to do with food heritage and history so watch this space or reach out. Have a listen to the Amaliah Voices podcast where I talk passionately about Islam, nature, motherhooding and back home. Link in bio peeps. To join the Amaliah Writer Community email me at selina@amaliah.com IG: SelinaBakkar