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. “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.”
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.