Riding confined to recreational areas under supervision of male relative and women must wear Islamic dress

Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to ride bicycles for the first time in the Middle Eastern state – but they will be subject to severe restrictions while doing so, reports Aljazeera, citing a report in the newspaper Al-Yawm.

An official from Saudi Arabia’s religious police quoted on Al-Yawm said that women would be able to ride bicycles or motorbikes in recreational areas, with the proviso that they are accompanied by a male relative and also wear the abaya, the Islamic garment that covers the body from head to toe.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are banned from driving, and they will only be permitted to use two-wheelers “for entertainment” and not for transportation.

They have also been told to avoid locations where groups of young men gather “to avoid harassment.''

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.