Archives For tamara

Turkey 2012 Cycle Open!

tamara —  July 19, 2012

Our October 2012 Turkey cycle challenge is now open for registration. Places are limited so make sure you get in touch ASAP. Visit our charity partner MAP’s website for more details, or e-mail them directly on
Deadline to register: 20th August.

In its fourth year running, Cycling4Gaza will support Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), the first charity we partnered with during our founding year in 2009. MAP is a British charity that has been working to deliver medical care to the most vulnerable Palestinian communities for over 25 years.

Today, the 5-year Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip continues to have a severe impact on Gaza’s education, reconstruction, water, electricity, and healthcare, which remains in a state of emergency (MAP UK). Continue Reading…

On Gaza, from Kashmir

tamara —  April 23, 2012

The Pen I carry to write this inaugural blog seems incredibly weighty.

The pen of course being composed of my fingers tapping away on the keyboard, the weightiness of the blog coming from my experiences of last year’s Cycling4Gaza event and the inspiring educational projects being supported through this initiative.

Continue Reading…

Motivation, inspiration and belief are powerful feelings that can instantaneously instigate a change. At some point during our cycle, every one of us experienced each, if not all of the above.. Our day started with the excitement of knowing this would be our final run to the finish, allowing us to find the motivation to gather all our remaining energy and complete the journey. But our minds were clouded by the daunting thoughts of the difficult 5km uphill stretch, followed by a number of oscillating ups and downs all the way to the end. We spend most of our lives with our sights set on the top, but when cycling the sheer anticipation of seeing a downhill turn triggered pure elation, well in my case anyway, quite ironic. Continue Reading…

26 bicycles wheeled over Jordanian asphalt for 350km for three days, some of it smooth, most of it graveled, and some cracked. but the 52 wheels made it. the pilots of those bikes found deep fulfillment not only in overcoming a physical challenge but mostly, in having done so for a cause close to one’s heart, Palestine. For urban people counting on cars and public transport, moving one’s legs in loops for 8 hours in a row is no small challenge. There’s also a great deal of freedom in doing so, especially on downhills. Joy, pure joy overshadowing physical pain. 3 days of cycling, close to 9 times the length of Gaza, or 3.4 times round the edges of Gaza (40km Mediterranean Sea, 11km Egypt, 51km Israel). To cycle 3+ times around Gaza would have meant a first round to get to see Gaza at first glance, a second round to capture what was missed the first time, and a third to come to know it, if only on an urban level. But by doing so, we would have crossed 51kms of no-go-zone where we would have been moving targets for Israel (up to 1km of land from the Israeli border inward is a no-go-zone that is deemed a security area by Israel, eating up 17% of the Gaza Strip). So our perimeter would need to move inward into Gaza, probably pushing the 3.4 times round Gaza to 4 times or so. So the fourth round would be the point of familiarity, where we would find the urge to cycle into the heart of the land, cycling from city to refugee camp and so on. But doing that would require care, as 13 cyclists from the 26 are female, and cycling for women in Gaza has its taboos. This new realization, that women riding bikes in Gaza is like women driving cars in Saudi, makes one reevaluate the choice of sport to raise awareness about Gaza. Or, it actually calls for a realization that this is both a campaign to bring people to think about Gaza but also, a campaign to raise awareness about cycling as a legitimate sport, and a mode of transportation for women as it is for men, and children. But is it a mode of transportation for anyone in Gaza? There are no real signs of that online, and the hope is, that by the time Cycling4Gaza 2012 comes, we will have gotten closer to understanding the meaning of a bike in the Gaza context, so we feel that our cycle is shared with those within that 102km boundary.

Joumana Al Jabri

My horrid blackberry alarm rings at around 4:45, and I feel that I haven’t gotten a wink of sleep. Our cycling group spent most of the previous night stretching and sharing stories by the cozy fireplace at the Feynan Ecolodge; yet still I’m incredibly sore. I pack up in the dark, put my cycling gear on and wobble downstairs for a mighty breakfast. We have around 127 km to cycle today – almost just as much as the previous day. Our final destination today is Mujib. Continue Reading…

Jordan cycle takes off.. Day One

tamara —  December 12, 2011

After coming into Amman from London, Scotland, the UAE and Lebanon, and catching up with our fellow Jordanian cyclists, the 26 of us congregated in Aqaba by the Red Sea, only 500 metres from Elat, late on Wednesday night, pumped and raring to go. It was early bedtime for us, as the morning saw us up, out of the hotel and on our bikes at 6.45am. We were on a race to arrive in Feynan, our final destination for the day, before sunset. With over 135km to cover before 4.30pm, this was no easy feat. 10 minutes into the cycle, we encountered our first fall. Thankfully no one was hurt and the cyclists got right back on their bikes straight away. Continue Reading…

On Determination

tamara —  November 16, 2011

Last May 2011, I was out with the family when my younger sister, Shaima, asked me if I’d like to take part in a cycling challenge to help raise money and awareness for the children of Gaza. My immediate answer was “Yes!” In the next few minutes, I looked at her again and asked: “Tell me more about this, how does it work?!”

Fast forward to August, I was part of a group of 10 UAE-based cyclists who were buzzing with energy. We trained together, we hosted dinners, we ran a Palestinian movie night, we sold our unwanted items at the flea markets, and we got people training for boxing- All for Gaza! We were unstoppable! We spoke relentlessly about the projects we’re supporting and we trained for our upcoming 350 Kms from Olympia to Athens in October 2011. Continue Reading…

Balance and Fear

tamara —  September 22, 2011

Cycling from Olympia to Athens is no small feat. The basic skills required to accomplish such a journey include good physical shape, strong mental willpower and the ability to ride a bicycle. Forty four of us could do just that. However, Natasha, my sister, seemed to have missed out on what was supposed to be a significant part of her childhood. She had yet to learn how to ride a bike, which subsequently became our mission. Learning how to ride a bicycle encompasses two basic concepts; balance and fear, both of which play major roles throughout our lives. Drawing these parallels between life and our daily activities signify the importance of each of our actions and their subsequent effect, intrinsically and externally. This was our hope; that the efforts of 45 people around the world could help change the lives of 1,800 children in Gaza. Continue Reading…

Beirut by bike

tamara —  September 19, 2011

Some more photos from cyclist Joumana Al Jabri, as she takes to the streets of Beirut in preparation for the cycle challenge next month..

New cycling and running track.. if you look closely enough you'll find half a dozen men stretching collectively

Ongoing construction to beautify the city

Route challenge 3

Taken from the new cycling track going towards the city and port

One of the empty lands you come across on the corniche, a discovery - view towards the city

Same empty land - view towards the construction site of the new Kempinski right before Ouzai

The Beauty Of A Challenge

tamara —  September 14, 2011

I wake up early enough to bike before the sun heats up the city. I rent a bike from Beirut by Bike, and I begin my cycle on the Corniche.

I might have cycled 15km back and forth, more, less, namely from the beginnings of Ras Beirut’s Abdel Nasser mosque, considered to be one of the hearts of the city, to as close as one can cycle without major hiccups to Ouzai, a possible beginning point of the city’s outskirts, or right before that. I’d been doing my duty cycle at the gym, reached 30km close to comfortably, but an outdoor cycle is like a fresh start. Continue Reading…

Back in full force in 2011!

tamara —  September 8, 2011


Hello friends, supporters, cyclists, donors, organisers and general browsers and welcome to Cycling4Gaza’s first blog entry of 2011!

This year’s cycle is looking to be even bigger and better, with 45 cyclists now registered – 18 more than our magic number 27 over the past two years. What’s more is our cyclist base is really growing this year, with participants based in the UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Jordan, Gaza and Egypt all coming together for the cause. C4G activities have also expanded well beyond the UK, with UAE and Saudi cyclists coming together to create Country Groups, which have since been working together to coordinate fundraising, PR and training efforts on a national basis … the road to reaching our target of £200,000 is looking promising! Continue Reading…

Picking Up Steam

tamara —  November 30, 2010

Young Jordanians team up to cycle to the Dead Sea

Amman, Jordan.

30 young Jordanians decided to host their own cycling event in support of Cycling4Gaza. They took to the streets of Jordan, cycling from Amman to the Dead Sea. The event was hosted by The Welfare Association for Youth (WAY). The event raised around 8400 USD, and brought together people who are passionate about the cause and want to show their support for our initiative. Funds raised will go towards the same projects that Cycling4Gaza is supporting.

Well done guys, we’re honoured to have your support!

All Roads Lead to Rome

tamara —  October 3, 2010

Pisa to Rome challenge – Day 4

Our final day. Up at 7am and ready for our toughest day of cycling. Quick power breakfast and a group gathering, in which dearest Helmut assured us it would be smooth sailing with just a bit of uphill for the first 30k. “As always” (as he is so fond of saying), he lied. “Just a bit of uphill” loosely translated from german into hardcore mountainous roads. With no chance of a warm up, we immediately hit the uphills out of Tarquinia. We kept at it with just a 5 min break every 20km, all too aware of the great distance we had to cover to reach Rome by dusk. While on a particularly harsh uphill, one of our cyclists’ old injury was awakened, as his back suddenly gave in. Despite many attempts to coax him into the support van, his determination (and Palestinian stubbornness!) could not be fought down as he walked his bike round the bend and attempted to get back on. Continue Reading…

Highway Hell

tamara —  October 1, 2010

Pisa to Rome challenge – Day 3

(above – pointing towards Rome)

Day 3 in the Cycling4Gaza household. An extra half hour of sleep last night allowed us to recharge our batteries properly. Off we were again and within an hour we were clawing our way up a 200m climb to make our way towards the next rest stop. After some more rolling hills and a hugely satisfying zippy downhill to lunch, Helmut informed us of a change of plan in the route as the roads ahead were too dangerous for us to cycle on. Continue Reading…