We’ve been looking for the People Who Make Bradford Sparkle – those people in our communities who have gone the extra mile to make us smile. We want to shine a spotlight on the individuals that have spread a sparkle of joy throughout the district this year.
Today we’re celebrating Fozia Naseem one of the founders of Hop-On Bike a growing community of 2,500 new cyclists, nominated for their commitment to bringing people together through sport and inspiring positive changes designed to last a lifetime.
Along with Najma Khan and Shahida Kishver, Fozia established Hop-On two years ago to encourage people to be physically activity who perhaps wouldn’t normally engage in sport. Open to all, the Hop-On sessions aim to build confidence, reduce isolation and break down barriers.
Up until the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, Saturday sessions took place every week in Lister Park, with Fozia and the Hop On team of instructors and volunteers leading a mixed group of members through their paces with classes tailored to people’s needs. On average, 80 people gather together at the park with everything from adult and children learn to ride lessons, through to road safety for bike commuters and people who want to improve their sporting level. Social and group rides also take place on other days. The social rides explore different cycling routes across the district, stopping for a cuppa and a chat, making for a relaxed and fun way of enjoying exercise.
Hop On Group Images: Pre Covid-19
Fozia is passionate about the positive benefits that cycling and in particular group exercise can bring. For Fozia, it’s more than just about the bike. “The benefits are huge, of interacting with other people and making new friends. We see the power of sport. Physical activity improves our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, and connections between communities.”
Fozia’s enthusiasm for her work is based on the positive results she has seen for both herself and the people who have taken part in the Hop On sessions “We wanted to create a change in others where it mattered and where it was close to our hearts.”
Since 2018, the community of Hop On cyclists has grown and grown through word of mouth with people bringing children and then partners along to join in.
Then in March 2020, all group classes had to stop. During lockdown, Hop On has found new ways to stay connected and support its members, while still providing its get active and stay healthy message. Hop On has provided online yoga classes and breathing exercises to manage anxiety. One-to-one walking or cycling coaching sessions using the outdoors as a natural calming environment have also helped people to manage over the last few months.
Lockdown has made us all more aware of the importance of our local green spaces to exercise, get some fresh air and feel part of a community. Fozia says that since July 2020 another 500 people have signed up to take part in the classes when they were briefly able to resume. The need for family activity in a relaxed group setting has evidently been much needed and much missed.
Plans are already in place for the future once lockdown has ended – more classes will be offered in Peel and Bolling parks, Hop On are training up a new group of employees and volunteers to lead these extra sessions and the team hope to increase their online presence to meet the needs of their growing community of cycling enthusiasts and bring the benefits of their work to a wider audience.
For more information on Hop-On activities and to register visit: https://hopon.bike/
Please continue to send your nominations for the People Who Make Bradford Sparkle to: firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll be featuring nominees throughout January and February. To see some of our previous nominees and their great work across the city visit: www.sparklingbradford.info/yourbradford.aspx
Remember to follow rules and restrictions during Coronavirus. Please wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering when required, and maintain a safe distance from others.