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Girls on bikes reclaiming the city

Updated March 28, 2016

With the aim to mobilise women and to reclaim public spaces for them, the Girls at Dhabas, a group of young women, organised a bicycle rally here on Sunday.

The rally provided a platform to the women to cycle around the city as a group and get comfortable with the idea of cycling on roads. The rally was simultaneously held in Lahore and Karachi.

“These bike rallies aim to give women a platform to reclaim the streets and cycle in public spaces without fear of harassment,” said Sanayah Malik, one of the organisers of the rally.

The rally started from the Main Market, Gulberg, and moved on the Jail Road and Canal Road.

The activity was organized through the social media which connected borrowers and lenders of bicycles and some male cyclists also lent their bikes to the female participants on the spot.

“It’s heartening to see the community response to this event where male cyclists are lending their bicycles to women to encourage them to participate in the rally,” said Sanayah.

Prior to the rally, the participants were given general instructions about cycling on the main roads. Supporters of the rally, including males, stayed behind, holding placards which were inscribed with slogans such as “Aurat Ka Pehyaa Chalnay Do, Bhai Chalnay Do”.

After the rally, the participants got together for a session to discuss their experience of cycling.

“Being able to cycle in public for the first time in 15 years was a delightful experience. I can’t wait to buy my own bicycle and take on the roads of Lahore,” said Noor Rehman, one of the girls who helped organise the rally.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2016