Women don't cycle in Kuwait.
Why not ?

Two women, one from “Kuwait” and one from “Britain.” They both have the same passion for riding a bike. We will note the different situations that they face in their own countries.

In .Kuwait, the bicycle has a big impact on the Kuwaiti society, many boys and men are performing this sport, but it is not favourable for a girl or women to participate in this sport.

Kuwaiti women find it difficult to ride a bicycle in Kuwait, even though there is no law or religion prohibiting them from cycling. But, it is all due to the closed society, traditions and community beliefs.

A Kuwaiti woman on her bicycle in Kuwait

This is "Faie Omar," a Kuwaiti woman at age 32 , working for a telecommunication company.

She is married and is the only daughter with 2 brothers, she enjoys riding the bike since her early childhood and still doing this hobby at an older age despite the rejection of most members of Kuwaiti society.

Marriage was the obstacle

Mashael who is also a Kuwaiti women, went out and practiced her hobby of cycling whilst she was single with ease and simplicity. However, after marriage, the situation changed, and her husband refused the idea of her riding so they won’t be judged by society.

Riding the bike in Kuwait

Kuwaiti women feel ashamed, afraid and hesitant to ride the bicycle because the community rejects it and does not like it. The reasons for women feeling like that are:

1. It’s a Male sport and is considered inappropriate for women.

2. The way a woman sits on the bike shows her body and is considered provocative.

3. Sportswear is mostly tight and is not suitable for an Arab girl to be dressed like that in public

4. There are no specific place to ride the bike, which makes it dangerous since riding the bike must be done on public roads.

5. Verbal harassment to the women who rides the bike because she is doing something out of the ordinary.

6. Women are only allowed to ride fixed bicycles inside closed places such as the gyms or their homes where no one can see them.

Riding the bike in Britain

In London, the capital of United Kingdom, we notice that many women ride the bicycle for various reasons either for sports, hobby transportation method, or even for just a fun ride across the city.

  "I feel safer cycling home at night in the dark then I do if I'm walking in the dark"
Naomi Goldsmith

Naomi Goldsmith, a woman who is very attached to riding the bicycle and considers it a basic means for transport, that makes her feels safe and confident when cycling. Naomi advises every woman to experience the bike ride and enjoy the satisfactions it provides.               

A means of transportation and a suitable way to save time, effort and money.

Martina, a British citizen, explained how riding the bike is an important aspect in her daily life. She cycles to work and doesn’t get stuck in traffic or have to walk to get the subways.

She also explains that being a women riding a bike maybe very different in Britain than it is in Kuwait, since both cultures differs in how they see a woman riding the bike.

Benefits of cycling

Cycling is one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your daily routine because it's also a form of transport.

Cycling also:
*saves you money

*gets you fit

*helps the environment

It's a low-impact type of exercise, so it's easier on your joints than running or other high-impact aerobic activities. But it still helps you get into shape.

The best way to build your cardiovascular fitness on the bike is to ride for at least 150 minutes every week.

For example, you could cycle to work a few days a week, or do a couple of shorter rides during the week with a longer ride at the weekend. You'll soon feel the benefits.

source: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/cycling-health-benefits

Personal Experience

Personally, I have been practicing cycling in Kuwait since my early childhood in the neighborhood. I stopped cycling when I turned 15 because I grew older and showed my femininity. My mother asked me to stop because she was afraid from the bad remarks people might give her either from our neighbors or from our family.

But, after I got my driver's license, I was able to take my bike anywhere and enjoy cycling, although I was sure to be somewhat constrained by the looks of the people around me.

"Cycling gives women a lot of freedom"

Naomi Goldsmith