Bike-touring Bahrain with Hessa Al Rumaihi.
Tell us about your initiative.
When I graduated from university three years ago, I came back to Bahrain and just felt disconnected for a good six months. A friend and I went to Oman on a camping trip and we loved the tour guides.
So, we came up with the concept of giving people unique experiences rather than conventional tours. Being led by a local of the area offers a whole different experience. We started with Bahrain, recently expanded to Dubai and hope to spread out globally.
How did you start organizing bicycle tours?
My friends and I live in Jasra and we would often meet up on our bikes, cycling to beautiful places close by. When I told people on Instagram that all the pictures I post were in Bahrain, they’d never believe me! So, I thought, why not share these experiences with everyone and show them first-hand?
Tell us about Global Wheels.
I started off with bikes I used to borrow from my dad, neighbors and friends. The bikes weren’t the best quality and constantly needed maintenance. Eventually, I saved up and, with my dad’s financing and my first pay check, I was able to buy good quality bikes and gear.
I had three to five tours in the first year, 20 in the second year, and, since October last year, I have already led eight tours. Every year it’s been growing so much just by word of mouth.
What do your tours consist of?
In each tour, I cover nature, culture and heritage while at the same time trying to promote healthy living and eco-friendliness. I also organize a picnic, which includes fresh fruits, nuts and sandwiches from Al Osra (one of our sponsors) as well as Arabic coffee and tea from my home. Additionally, part of the tour involves picking up vegetables from an organic farm.
What is your inspiration?
My main inspiration was actually the character from the Saudi film, “Wadjda.” A 10-year-old girl that goes against all odds and discouragement to pursue her dream of owning and riding a bike.