Skip to main content

British Hajj riders complete cycle ride to Saudi Arabia

The cycling enthusiasts endured gruelling weather conditions and cycled 2,000 miles to make it to Medina
The Hajj riders cycled 2,000 miles to reach their Medina where they will prepare for the Hajj (screengrab: @SACyclists )

Eight British Muslims have reached Medina in Saudi Arabia, after cycling more than 2,000 miles to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. 

The men completed the challenge in under six weeks after riding through parts of Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Greece and Egypt.

Known as the Hajj riders, the eight cyclists come from across Britain and trained for more than three months to complete the challenge.

They rode through mountain ranges and endured gruelling weather conditions to reach their final destination of Medina. 

Some of the obstacles faced by the Hajj riders included intense desert heat in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and torrential rain as they rode through parts of Europe. 

They also faced restrictions and visa issues which forced them to fly into Jeddah, instead of taking a ferry from Hurghada in Egypt, deviating from the original plan of cycling directly into Medina from the coast. 

Throughout the European leg of their journey, they had a support vehicle and relied on the generosity of locals in every country they passed through, often Muslims, who offered them shelter and food. 

Abdul Mukith, one of the Hajj riders who rode the full journey, spoke of the team's joy after reaching the Prophet's mosque in Medina, on a live stream from the Hajj Ride's private Facebook page. 

"Just walking into the Haram (Prophet's mosque), I can't bring the emotions into words, nearly six weeks of riding, I can't believe the journey is complete, but one journey is finished and now we must complete the next part," said Mukith.

"The whole team has made it safely, and the hospitality, I honestly can't put it into words."

The men arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday evening and were given a police escort in Medina to the Prophet's mosque, which is the second holiest site for Muslims. 

Greeted by locals and cycling enthusiasts, the Hajj riders were showered with flowers and onlookers sung songs in Arabic to welcome them to Saudi Arabia. 

Upon arriving at the Prophet's mosque, images on social media showed the men breaking down in tears of joy as crowds gathered to welcome the Hajj riders. Pilgrims could be seen hugging the Hajj riders in Medina and taking selfies with them.

The Hajj riders will now rest in Medina where they will begin preparations to complete the Hajj pilgrimage which is due to begin at the end of August.

They are also raising money for medical facilities inside Syria and hoping to reach their million pound target via donations through their website. 

Thousands of Muslims have already begun to arrive in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. 

Like the millions due to arrive, the Hajj riders went through Jeddah to have their visas processed, before continuing onto Medina for the final leg of their ride. 

This ride will mark the first time a group of British Muslims has cycled from Britain to reach Saudi Arabia to complete the Hajj. 

Last year, a man had reportedly cycled from China to complete the Hajj pilgrimage, after cycling nearly than 5,000 miles. 

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.