'Whatever happens, I'm starting the club': Iffat Tejani on realising her bucket list dream of opening up cycling to Muslim women

How a life-and-death diagnosis set free a life-long ambition to break down barriers and rally a community onto bikes

Iffat Tejani, wearing a modest cycling jersey, standing with her bike
(Image credit: Richard Butcher)

This article was originally published in Cycling Weekly's print edition as part of the long-running MY FITNESS CHALLENGE series.

Growing up in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, Iffat Tejani would notice other children riding bikes but could only dream of joining in. “None of us girls ever got on a bike,” she says, speaking to me by video call from her Hertfordshire home. “We were sporty and would play rounders, but girls were not allowed to cycle – it would have been frowned upon.” Aged 16 Tejani relocated to the UK with her family; at 20 she married and set about raising a family of her own. Only with the onset of a health crisis, 17 years later, did her long-dormant dream of cycling reassert itself in her mind. 

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David Bradford
Fitness editor

David Bradford is fitness editor of Cycling Weekly (print edition). He has been writing and editing professionally for more than 15 years, and has published work in national newspapers and magazines including the Independent, the Guardian, the Times, the Irish Times, Vice.com and Runner’s World. Alongside his love of cycling, David is a long-distance runner with a marathon PB of two hours 28 minutes. Having been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in 2006, he also writes about sight loss and hosts the podcast Ways of Not Seeing.