Making memories and discovering paths uncharted through cycling

Izah Azahari

Every Friday, a group of spirited, busy women come together to unwind and work out by going on scenic bicycle rides through hidden away village and off-the-beaten tracks around Brunei. The Friday Ladies’ Ride is aimed at empowering women through cycling while promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Formed in July 2018 by Randonnée CC, the Friday Ladies’ Ride started off from a casual conversation between Datin Hajah Sarimah binti Haji Umar and fellow female cyclist Hajah Maudena binti Haji Abd Hamid. Both shared an interest in exploring places they came across through their cycling expeditions and sharing their experience with other cyclists.

The weekly rides are also a way for these women to meet and catch up said Datin Hajah Sarimah. It is an activity “for women, led by women,” she added. The cyclists who participate can just be themselves, take time-out from being mother, wife, co-worker and just go out to have fun and explore different locations.

During pit-stops during the rides, they share experiences, tips and learn from each other. It is empowering, fun and a boost to their confidence, overcoming the miles, sweat and terrains through cycling.

Every week, at least two to eight women join the Friday’s Ladies’ Ride, most working mothers. Eyeda Mohamad said, “I started cycling four years ago on my own and eventually found the other women cyclists along the way. I cycle not for fun but also for its health benefits. I have cycled for distances between 30km to 100km.”

The Friday Ladies’ Ride participants can vary in number from two to eight women in any given week, with most of the ladies in the group being working mothers. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR/@randonneecc

“We try to cycle at least three to four times a week. I work but my children are all grown-up so it’s easier for me to do this,” added Eyeda. The riders often invite their friends to join, but some worry about the longer rides, so they join mostly during riding events.

This group of cyclist is always inclusive and will never leave anyone behind. Those who are less experienced can join and they will be encouraged and taught techniques along the way. The other riders will keep to the overall pace of the group until newer participants gain more confidence and are able to go faster as the weeks go by.

“Many of our friends who just started have gradually grown to love cycling,” Eyeda shared.

Meanwhile, Hajah Maudena expressed that despite their different backgrounds, the women are united because of their passion for cycling. “Over the time they’ve been together, they have grown very close and supportive of one another through events, races, as well as other sports. We are trying to get more women from all walks of life in the country to join us,” said Maudena. “We support women in cycling and empower them,” she concluded.

The group actively updates their Friday Ladies’ Ride locations on their social media @randonneecc.