The Brothers On Bikes National Event took place in Birmingham last month. Yusuf Mouharrem joined the ride for the first time, and shares his experiences here:
I’m Yusuf, aka Press 1 (I have made rap music under this name for the past twenty years).
I discovered cycling during the early stages of lockdown, starting with a cheap single-speed bicycle from Facebook Marketplace. Ten miles quickly turned to fifty, to my first century. In May of 2022, I completed my first ultra-cycling event, covering 800km in four days.
Until recently, I had virtually no experience in group riding. At the beginning of my cycling journey, I tried a local club and did not enjoy the experience. Following wheels makes me twitchy, and I felt anxious when people followed my wheel. Questions about bike kit felt intimidating, and the ride leader seemed disinterested. It felt very middle-class and white.
I found Farooq Chaudhury on Instagram after seeing his crazy cycling exploits: covering silly distances, riding throughout the night, London to Edinburgh and back. Nutter. Farooq told me about B.O.B. (Brothers On Bikes) and invited me to their national event in Birmingham.
Chapters from Leicester, Bradford, London, and across the UK were there. Breakfast was laid out for all the riders, followed by a prayer, and off we went. I had signed up to do the longer route of 53 miles. This was different from any group ride I had been on before. No one was left behind. If anyone struggled, people would rally them on. There was no feeling of cliquiness, and the B.O.Bs were going out of their way to make me feel welcome.
On our return, the Birmingham B.O.B. hosts had made biryani for over one hundred riders, followed by cakes and karak chai (a tea with condensed milk). It was a feast for heroes – not something I would expect at a typical sportive!
Although I have a Muslim name, and my grandfather was a Muslim, I am not a practicing Muslim. It did not matter. The B.O.B.s made me feel more welcome. The atmosphere was friendly but competitive, and the hospitality was second to none. Thank you to Farooq for inviting me along, everybody I met, and the Birmingham B.O.B.’s for putting on a great event. What B.O.B is doing is an integral part of British cycling.
You can view Yusuf’s vlog here: