Holding back the gears – Abdul Hassan on a cycling mission! 

The below article appeared in Vesta; the Tower Hamlets’ THH Staff Magazine (source: http://vesta.thh.org.uk/holding-back-the-gears)

“I’m quite new to cycling,” says the HSC’s Abdul Hassan. “It’s only been about a month. We were given bikes by Muslim Charity – they work all over the world. I helped the charity to raise money for the Rohingya in Myanmar and then the cycling thing came up – they asked if I’d like to be involved in a charity bike ride. I said ‘yes’ and the next thing they were at my house with a racing bike! At that point I thought ‘ok, there’s no turning back now.’

For this bike ride, we’re raising money for street children in Bangladesh. We’ll be cycling from London to Paris – about 200 miles.

The bikes were donated by Transport for London, we do 40 or 50 miles in training but I also do extra runs during the week with my mates. I really enjoy cycling now – I’d never really done it before. The view you get on a bike is amazing – we cycle to lots of different places when we’re training.

I’d definitely recommend cycling as a hobby; although I was motivated to start this for a cause, I love it so much now that I do extra training during the week and I’m starting to feel really fit overall, like a proper athlete.

Although the bike I’ve got is very expensive, you can get into cycling really cheaply – everywhere we go, people stop you to talk and everyone is interested in the cause. Everybody can cycle – young and old – it’s a great way to meet people and to save money – I never thought I could ever commute 30 miles but now I absolutely would.

For anyone who’s not done it before – you can get a Boris bike really cheap and there are loads of cycle lanes in Victoria Park or Richmond Park. Once you’ve tried it a couple of times you’ll realise that you’ve been missing out. When I get home I say ‘hello’ to my bike– in the back of my mind I think ‘this bike and me are going to Paris’ – I know it’s the reason that we’ll be able to help lots of children.

Training during Ramadan will be difficult – we’ll have to train at night time. The ride will leave from City Hall on 1 July but we’re just part of the start of the journey – there’s one guy who’s riding London to Mecca so we’ll wave him off in Paris – I don’t think I’m ready for 6000km but I’ll certainly give the Paris leg a go!”

To read more about Abdul’s amazing journey visit his fundraising page.

Quick Donate