Module 1: Readings and Resources

For this assignment, I focused mainly on two of the sources provided. One was the Bicycling magazine cover article on contemporary cyclist, author, and activist Kathryn Bertine, and the other was the Daily Mail article about women cyclists in Egypt.

The first reading focused on powerhouse Kathryn Bertine, a jack of all trades. This article gives a brief summary of her life, accomplishments, and goals in her life. Truly an inspiration, she is an example of hard work that paid off in the long run. Although sh didn’t have a traditional upbringing of a career cyclist, trying many sports, giving them  her all, and succeeding at everything she did is what makes her so unique. In this article, Kathryn gives her tips to success: Give yourself permission to screw up, focus on what matters, practice suffering- and gratitude, believe in your goal, and ask for help.

The second reading I did was about women cyclists on Egypt. This was particularly interesting to me because of the initial title. My prior knowledge about egyptian culture intrigued me because of the social rules about gender roles in Egypt. As I read the article, I learned that my assumptions were correct. In the opening few sentences, female bicyclist Yasmine Mahmoud shares the struggles of being a woman cyclist. She shares that it is socially unacceptable for women to ride bicycles in Egypt. The article shares, “Women enjoy more freedom in Egypt than in deeply conservative Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, but the most populous Sunni Arab country still considers it inappropriate for them to ride bicycles.” This made me think about bicycles in American society, and how the freedoms we have to ride them are often taken for granted. The most interesting part of the reading was understanding why it was socially unacceptable. Not only because of traditional gender roles, but because the busy streets are particularly dangerous, and any woman not accompanied by a man is believed to be at risk of kidnapping, rape, or being physically assaulted. However, women in Egypt such as Yasmine are challenging these gender roles and riding as often as they can with their friends as a means of transportation.

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