Baraah Luhaid and Spokes Hub
Saudi Arabia remains one of the world’s most repressive countries for women, where a man’s consent is obligatory for women to access human rights, and feminist activists risk arrest. There are, however, women who refuse to be still. Twenty-five-year-old Baraah Luhaid has always loved cycling. Although women’s cycling was legalised in 2013, it is only allowed in parks or on beaches, and only with a male guardian present. Luhaid is striving to get women – and the fight for women’s rights – moving. She founded Saudi Arabia’s first gender-inclusive cycling community and business, Spokes Hub, last year, and now runs the kingdom’s only cycling shop, with a cafe and workshops, for women. Spokes Hub has recently won a kingdom-wide prize for start-ups, and Princess Reema – deputy president of Saudi Arabia’s Women’s Sports Authority – has publicly endorsed the project.
“I’m standing against something bigger than I originally thought,” says Luhaid. “When I advocate for women’s cycling, I’m advocating for women’s independence. Changing core beliefs requires slow, consistent work,” she says. “It’s challenging, but someone has to start.”
Music credit: Mona Haydar - Hijabi (Wrap my Hijab)